Finding A Summer Job

Are you one of the many still hoping to find a job this summer to earn some much needed cash?  Here are some suggestions to consider:

  • Leverage your network – This is the perfect time to let everyone you know you are in need of a job.  Your parents’ friends may know of a need.  Your friends’ parents may have a connection.  Be open and willing to talk to anyone who may know of an opportunity.  A recommendation can make a significant difference in differentiating you from other candidates.  Tap all your sources to see what options may still be available.  Many summer jobs are filled by knowing someone at the company.
  • Consider seasonal options – Be creative and think about the businesses that need additional seasonal coverage.  While landscaping may be an obvious choice, sports venues, concert sites, summer theatre, parks, zoos and businesses ramping up to prepare for the holiday rush, these are all opportunities for seasonal work.  The wrapping paper, ribbon, candy and gifts you purchase at the holidays needs to be made and stored over the summer.  Companies ramping up for back to school business may also need help.  You should also consider businesses that could have trouble covering vacations due to limited staffing or round the clock coverage.  You can’t fill in for a nurse but you could cover as an aide in a nursing home, hospital or assisted living facility or maybe you could deliver the meals.  Often covering for the vacations of others can be a full-time job for the summer.  Maybe there are handicapped or elderly people in your community who need companions or someone to run errands.  Offices may need talent to cover the reception desk or administrative positions for vacations as well.  If you are thoughtful about the unique opportunities of the season you may uncover great opportunities others are overlooking.
  • Overcoming the lack of experience objection – I often hear students complain that they filled out the application but were told prior experience is required.  Don’t businesses realize that you have to get experience somewhere?  Highlight your strengths and offer to work on a trial basis for the first month to demonstrate the value you bring to their business. Often taking that extra initiative to sell yourself can make a difference.
  • Be creative –  Identify a problem and offer a solution to the problem as an opportunity to be employed for the summer.  For example, many parents face significant disruption to their routine in the summer with day care closures, camp schedules that don’t coincide with work schedules, gaps in coverage for their children.  Define a solution and offer your services.  Enlist friends and neighbors to spread the word.  You could offer a variety of services for people who are away during the summer.
  • Do what others don’t want to do – There is often more difficulty filling jobs others don’t want to do so they tend to pay well.  Consider picking up garbage on the truck route, cleaning office buildings at night, etc.  Think outside the box to identify positions which will have less competition for the available jobs.
  • If all else fails… – If you absolutely cannot find a job, consider volunteering to gain relevant experience.  It adds value to your resume, gives you valuable life experience and a good story to tell about how you spent your summer.  Make a difference for someone else.
  • Transition to part-time status when school starts – While many jobs are indeed seasonal, do a great job while you are there so that you can ask about part-time opportunities once you return to school.  Once you are a proven contributor, they may be willing to keep you on during the school year rather than having to hire from scratch.  Be sure to keep your hours manageable so you can focus on your schoolwork but the additional money can be helpful.

There is definitely more to summer employment than fast food and retail.  Think outside the box to identify opportunities for success.

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