How to Find a Summer Job
All You Need to Know About Your 2010 Summer Job Search, by Kristen Bennett
How to Find a Summer Job
Spring is upon us and summer is just around the corner! As the season heats up, many jobseekers are beginning their search for a summer job during the warmer months. With short-term and seasonal employment, there are some different rules and advice to help you find the summer job that’s best for you.
There are many keys to finding a summer job, but one that will help you gain the biggest edge over the competition is timing. As high school and college students begin their summer vacations, the job market will begin to be flooded with summer job applicants beginning in mid-May and continuing through mid-June. Once the flood begins, many businesses close up shop to prospective employees, simply because the numbers are so overwhelming. Instead, head off the heard and begin applying as soon as possible. Get a foot in the door now while you are one of the first applicants, and therefore have a better chance at making a positive, pro-active impression.
Keep in mind that this position will be for the summer only. Don’t dismiss an opportunity because it isn’t what you want to do in the long run, isn’t in your field, or because you have no previous interest or experience in the industry. If you are an entry-level jobseeker, think of this as an opportunity to branch out, gain income, and improve your resume. If you have more experience in the workforce, remind yourself that in the future, when you are applying for a job you would like to hold for a much longer period of time, businesses will respect the individual who took a summer job instead of remaining idle for so many months.
One of the major concerns in finding a summer job is where to apply. The job market over the past year has had a discouraging effect on the work force, but many companies, businesses, and organizations are hiring part-time. Spend an hour or two driving around your city and considering which places you would consider working. Give special attention to jobs without a long or involved training process, as the high-turnover rate of summer work might discourage them from hiring an individual they would need to train and then only keep for a few months.
If you still feel that you’re having difficulty finding a place you would work, consider some of the following options:
- Local merchants, from chain supermarkets to fashion boutiques, are almost always in need of dependable help, and may be able to keep you on through the fall and rest of the year, depending on the quality of your service.
- Small companies often require file clerks, part-time secretaries, or workers for office odd-jobs. Many companies use the summer months for small projects from re-filing to renovations, and are often looking for more hands to improve efficiency. Corporate offices are more competitive, but many such organizations do offer office internships for students and graduates, if you were considering making this a more long-term career move.
- The majority of summer jobs will be in retail, from malls and fashion parks to outlets and shopping centers. Begin looking for job postings for these positions online, but also consider going door to door if necessary. With so many retailers in one place, your chances should be improved without much extra effort.
- As many Americans begin their summer travels, hotels, resorts, and tourist attractions will absolutely require more staff. Consider the wide array of individuals needed to keep a hotel running, from cooks, chefs, and wait staff, to life guards and massage therapists, to hospitality personal, service staff, and concierges. With so many guests pouring in, these peak months will also mean that hotels and resorts will expect new staff members to be seasonal, and will be more inclined to consider you.
- Additionally, while you might not live next to Six Flags or Disneyland, all cities have their own tourist attractions. Do a little research and find out what out-of-towners visit when coming to or passing through your city. From historical tours, colonial bed and breakfasts, battlegrounds, art museums, theatres, famous restaurants, and night life, every city sees increased visitors in the summer months.
- With the increasingly pleasant weather, jobs focused on the outdoors will become more popular. Parks, golf clubs, tennis clubs, health centers, pools, and country clubs need as diverse a staff as hotels and resorts, so consider these positions if you’re looking to enjoy the summer weather while you work.
- While the fast food industry and restaurant work may not be the most glamorous occupation, it is honest and reliable income. Additionally, the introduction to the service industry means you now have the credentials to be rehired at any similar establishment in the future, should you again find yourself in need of seasonal or part-time work.
- Investigate your local government programs and see what opportunities are available. From page services, secretarial duties, security, transportation, clerical staff, up through supervisors for larger summer projects, you may be surprised by the array of government work available. You can also frequently find available internships, which can become long-term positions.
- With so many kids out of school, working parents will be looking for a way for their children to have a fulfilling summer out of the house. If you enjoy working with kids, these might be some of the jobs for you: day care work, personal child care, babysitting, becoming a life guard at a local pool, a teacher’s aide or supervisor at a summer school, a counselor at a children’s summer camp.
- Can’t find any local job openings? Think outside the box! Contact former teachers, or coaches, and consider looking into old sports clubs and rec centers to see if they need any help. Put your entrepreneurial skills to work, and think about jobs like lawn care, gardening, dog walking, or house- or pet-sitting. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising, so it only takes a few good clients before your neighborhood is buzzing about your business!
After scoping out local jobs online and submitting your resume, drive or walk around your city to those places that looked promising. Ask if they are hiring or accepting resumes at this time, and demonstrate your interest and initiative in the business or organization. Be prepared with your resume and all relevant contact information. Don’t be caught off guard should someone give you your interview then and there. Since many summer jobs involve small businesses and organizations, you may be given the opportunity to interact with potential employers or staff members, and can make a very successful impression.
Keep an up-to-date list of all of the information about where you applied and who you spoke with. During your call back between a week and two weeks after the initial contact, mention the individual by name and remind them of the interaction. For many businesses regarding short-term employment, a single call-back is generally sufficient. Given the high turn-over rate and number of applicants, if you do not hear back after your first check-up, it may be best to pursue other jobs.
When you have heard from a potential employer, it is time to prepare for your interview. This process functions much as the same as during an interview for long-term employment, but there are some differences.
An excellent rule for interviews is to dress above the position you are working for. Don’t be tempted by more casual summer circumstances to apply for your job in a t-shirt and sandals. While wearing a three-piece suit may seem a little absurd to apply for a position as a lifeguard, instead, consider khakis, a dress shirt, a blue blazer, and nice shoes. Ladies may also consider a modest summer dress and professional, closed-toe shoes. First impressions count, and whether you’re applying for a job as a mechanic or a CEO, professionalism is always valued. Also, just as you would not discuss salary negotiations in an interview, nor should you begin asking about employee discounts during your interview.
It is very important not to be led astray by the casual or short-term nature of your summer employment. Treat the interview and all interaction with potential employers and future co-workers as though this were going to be your long-term career choice. Your professionalism, respect, and perspective will be highly appreciated by those at the organization you interact with.
Finally, enthusiasm is very important for short-term jobs. Employers want to see that you won’t be tempted away by frequent holiday plans of your own, and won’t be distracted by the nice weather, or become resentful of your position. Dependable, cheerful employees with at least some experience are in high demand. With so many options for summer employment, the job is now up to you!
Now is the hour to get ahead on the game! Begin your job hunt at Job.com today, and get in gear for your summer job!