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A spirit that is not afraid

Tom Webb offers advice to stand out in the job applicant process

Graphic showing tips on how someone should go about getting a summer job.
Graphic showing tips on how someone should go about getting a summer job.

Around this time every year, college students usually begin looking and planning for their summer jobs. Questions like “What?” and “Where?” start swarming in the minds of students everywhere.

Many Auburn students are staying in Auburn for the summer and may not be as familiar with good summer job locations as they were with their hometowns growing up.

Tom Webb, Director of Food, Beverage and Events at Moore’s Mill Club in Auburn believes he has the perfect job for any college student looking to make some extra money over the summer.

Moore’s Mill Club has many opportunities for members including golf, a fitness center, pickleball courts, tennis courts, a dining room, childcare, sports lessons, camps as well as host a variety of events in their event pavilion like weddings, sorority formals, fundraisers and more.

During the summer, the pool and cabana areas open from May through late September. Webb shared that during this time his summer staff consists of about 100-150 people working as bartenders, servers, kitchen staff and more.

Webb said that Moore’s Mill is a great place to make friends and build relationships with coworkers as they will all go hang out after work, but also to build relationships with patrons. He knows several people that have been offered internships and other job opportunities from patrons they have met at the country club.

When asked what percentage of his summertime staff are college-age students, Webb replied with, “100%.” He receives about 20 new applications daily, and he seems to think it is the perfect job for someone staying in Auburn over the summer and wanting some work.

After all, that is how Webb got involved with Moore’s Mill Club almost 11 years ago. He joined the staff in his college years just wanting some summer work, and his experience at Moore’s Mill that summer was so positive that he never left.

Webb gave some tips, as someone who has hired around 250 employees in his last 10 years at the country club.

The first thing he mentioned was the importance of stopping by in person to drop off a job application or inquire about a job opportunity in order to effectively put a name to a face.

“Between the influx of emails, it’s just names and letters in black and white on a screen for me, so if you come up and just either print out the application or handwrite the application and bring it up and drop it off personally, you’re already lengths and leagues above every other application that sits in my inbox every day,” Webb said.

He explained that it makes it easier to remember people on a personal level this way when they look him in the eyes, smile and shake his hand.

As far as things Webb looks for in workers, he tries not to be too picky about having job-specific work experience for his Food and Beverage team. What matters to him is having any kind of customer-relation experience.

“It’s more about work experience and how long you’ve been out in the real world. It doesn’t matter what job you were doing, you had a job. You understand what it’s like to be employed and work for a paycheck,” Webb said.

Another factor that majorly increases a person’s ability to be hired is how available they make themselves. The more time someone can work over a summer, the more likely they are to get the job.

Being a joyful server is also incredibly important to Webb in the work field. He believes that these kinds of skills are developed by having general job experience in the real world.

“You may not want to be here, but don’t make that their [your customers] problem,” Webb said.

Another tip that Webb gave related to professional dress in an interview. He believes business casual is appropriate for many summer job interviews.

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“Come in dressed like you want me to take you seriously,” Webb said.

He explained that interviewers will remember what you were wearing. When spending more than 10 minutes sitting down with someone one-on-one, dress is something employers will notice. Whether they use this to their advantage or disadvantage is up to the interviewee.

“A big no-no for me in an interview is someone who just looks like they don’t even want to be here, because then why would I hire you if you don’t even want to be here? Why would I bother?” Webb said.

At one point, blue jeans were not considered appropriate for a job interview. However, times have changed. As long as the jeans are not shredded and completely ripped, Webb does not necessarily mind them because sometimes this is all that people have.

One way interviewees can stand out is to email the potential employer immediately following the interview, expressing gratitude for their time and the opportunity to interview.

“It’s not as common as it used to be, but that doesn’t mean it’s still not appreciated,” Webb said.

He explained that if he has five interviews in a day and this particular person was the first one, by the end he has forgotten a lot about them. Sending a secondary response email causes him to remember that person and all their conversations start flowing back to him.

Social skills are also vital for many jobs, specifically for Webb’s Food and Beverage team.

“If you’re going to be a server, I want you to be able to carry a conversation with someone. I’d rather just send a robot over to a table to take an order if that was the case,” Webb said.

Webb explained that he loves asking the first question, “Tell me a little bit about yourself,” because it is extremely grey and open-ended.

“I don’t really care that much about what kind of person you are; I want to know what kind of conversation you can carry,” Webb said.

He focuses more on how interested and engaged the interviewee is when responding to this question, rather than their response itself. In this case, how someone answers can say more than words themselves.

There are many different aspects of professionalism to think about when presenting yourself to a future employer, but these tips will certainly increase your chances of getting your dream summer job.

If any college students are still looking for summer jobs, study up on these interview skills and head over to Moore’s Mill Club for a summer of service, relationship-building and fun.

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