Finding a job in the current economy can be tough. Just watch the news or read the paper online and you’re sure to see something about the unemployment rate. Last summer, high school students were competing against recent college graduates and people who had been laid off and were desperate for work, but the fifth annual SnagAJob.com Summer Job survey found that fewer experienced workers are looking for seasonal employment.
If you’re hoping for a perfect summer job, here are 8 things to remember:
If you’re planning to work during your break from school, don’t procrastinate. The Tampa Bay Times urges teenagers to begin their summer job search now. Why the rush, you wonder? Eighty percent of hiring managers surveyed told SnagAJob.com they expected to have their summer hiring complete by Memorial Day.
A part-time job that lasts for two or three months may not seem like a huge deal, but finding one without a resume can be tough. Even if your work experience is limited to baby-sitting and volunteering through your church youth group, make a resume. “It is the first introduction to the employer,” Theressa A. Green explained to The Washington Post. “This is the time to put your best foot forward … to really put yourself on paper.” Making a summer job resume now will also be good practice for your post-college career search.
Many jobs require online applications, but a lot of employers still accept the old-fashioned paper variety. Even if the process only takes a grand total of two minutes, dress appropriately when stopping by to drop off your resume or fill out an application. You don’t want to make a bad first impression if you give your resume to a manager, and there’s always a chance that you might be interviewed right then and there. You don’t have to wear a suit, but you should look neat, clean and respectable. (Translation—cutoff shorts and flip-flops aren’t a good idea.)
You probably don’t want to work in fast food or retail for the rest of your life, but most summer jobs—yes, even those that involve serving fries or bagging groceries—will help you learn things that will come in handy in any profession. You will nurture relationships with co-workers and management while learning how to improve your customer service and communication skills.
There’s a lot of truth to the phrase, “It’s not just what you know, it’s who you know.” Be sure to tell your parents, your friends’ parents and your parents’ friends that you are looking for a summer job. Use your social media accounts to network and ask if anyone is hiring or knows about any job openings. There’s no shame in landing an interview thanks to a friend-of-a-friend.
Many companies are more than happy to re-hire their previous seasonal employees. If you enjoyed your summer job last year, let your old boss know that you’re interested in coming back to work when school is out. You might even earn a higher hourly wage because you have experience and require less training.
If you’re looking for work experience in a particular field but are unable to find a paying job, an internship or volunteer opportunity can help you get your feet wet. Unpaid positions will still help boost your resume and may even lead to paying jobs.
If you’re not able to find the perfect summer job that you’ve been dreaming of, get creative. Become a tutor in a subject you know well. Help neighbors clean out their unwanted belongings and hold a garage sale with the items you receive. Baby-sit in the evenings or help a work-at-home-mom with household chores during the day. Find something that works for you and your schedule!
The StateUniversity.com Job Board specializes in internships, temporary positions, student jobs and positions for recent graduates. Search for jobs by category and location or post your resume online.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
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