It’s that time of year again—the end of the school year is rapidly approaching. Some teens and twentysomethings are arranging vacations while others are scrambling to secure summer employment. Many are even planning both.
If you haven’t yet found a job for the summer months, here are five things to consider:
1. The sooner, the better. Summer jobs for students are out there, but you’d better get looking if you’re not already. The Herald-Zeitung reports that last year, the number of 16- to 19-year-olds with jobs or job hunting increased dramatically between April and July. If you aren’t already job hunting, get started!
2. Make a resume. A good resume can catch an employer’s eye and help you get you get your foot in the door—yes, even if you don’t have any work experience. If you’re looking for a summer job to make ends meet between semesters but haven’t had a “real” job, market any skills that you’ve gained through school, extra-curricular activities, and volunteer work. On your resume, include:
3. Dress to impress. When you’re called in for an interview, make sure you dress nicely. A suit and tie may be a bit too much for a part-time summer job, but dress pants and a nice shirt or a dress will still be impressive. If you don’t have a pair of dress pants, dark jeans without rips or holes or a pair of wrinkle-free khakis and a nice shirt along with clean shoes can suffice.
4. Arrive on time. If someone is going to interview you for a job, they are most likely a supervisor of some sort. That means they are busy and have a lot going on. Don’t make a bad first impression by showing up late—you’ll alter their entire schedule and possibly cause yourself to lose the job.
5. Be honest and polite. It’s normal to feel slightly nervous during a job interview. It happens to grown adults as well as students! Practice answering basic interview questions with a friend or family member ahead of time, but once it’s time for the real deal be polite and be honest. Don’t lie about your abilities! Don’t text during the interview!
Once you’ve got a job, it’s up to you do keep that job! The first few days or even weeks may be okay or even exciting, but once the newness wears off it can become as mundane as anything else. Even so, give it your all until the end of the summer. Consider the following:
1. Remember: it’s more than “just a summer job.” There’s a lot to be said for any job, from flipping burgers at a local fast food restaurant to bagging groceries at the supermarket or interning at a prestigious law firm. According to the United States Department of Labor, summer jobs help young people learn or improve communication skills, time management, teamwork and more.
2. Take your tasks seriously. Whether your job involves something as menial as emptying trash cans or making copies or something much more serious, take your duties seriously and make an effort to go above and beyond without acting like a kiss-up. If you prove that you’re able to handle the tasks that you’ve been assigned, there’s a good chance that you will be given a “promotion” even if it doesn’t involve a raise.
3. Do your best to get along with your co-workers. We all know people that we just don’t like, especially at work. Maybe someone at work has irritating habits that drive you crazy, or maybe they’re lazy and try to pass their tasks on to other people. Most people don’t get jobs to make friends and there’s no reason you have to hang out with the person (or people) after work, but do your best to “grin and bear it” during working hours. ABC News recommends saying hello while making brief eye contact during passing, and saying good-bye at the end of the day.
4. Don’t break the rules. New hires are often given huge packets of information to absorb and sign on their first day at work. Many employees willingly put their name on the dotted line without completely understanding—or even reading—what it is that they’re signing. Make sure you know the rules and regulations at your place of employment so you can avoid accidentally breaking them. And if you do know the rules, follow them. No one wants to get fired because they did something they know they shouldn’t have.
5. Leave on a good note. Summer jobs for students are a great way to earn some money while gaining work experience. When the season draws to a close and it’s time to head back to school, wrap up your job on a good note. Even if you told your supervisor that you would no longer be working once fall classes commenced, remind him or her verbally and in writing at least two weeks fore you will be leaving. If you did a good job and you liked the experience, you may be able to work there again during winter break or even next summer. And if it wasn’t all that you had hoped, don’t tell off the boss or insult your coworkers on your way out the door—you’ll need a reference when it’s time to get your next job, and you want it to be a good one.
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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