Hope for Summer 2009!
Many students are anticipating the hunt for a summer job to be more challenging this year. While a weak economy means fewer businesses are hiring and high unemployment means there are more applicants per position, do not give up hope!
As a graduating high school student or current college student, youth is on your side. Many businesses increase staff over the summer and many prefer to hire young people for seasonal jobs. Most young people are flexible with work hours and many provide excellent skills for reasonable wages. You’re also lucky because there are more avenues than ever before for connecting with employers.
Networking Your Way to a Job
Once you’re armed with a well-developed cover letter and resume, you’ll want to get the word out to everyone you know that you are looking for a summer job. Hopefully you’ve begun working on your networking skills. Talking to family and friends is a great way to start and using the social networking sites you’re already on can help get the word out as well. Remember, opportunity is an unpredictable visitor. You never know what route she’ll take to find you or when she’ll show up! She won’t work too hard, though; you’ll have to send out the maps and invitations!
An Online Job Board Just For You!
While personal relationships are fantastic for making contacts, sometimes they just don’t come through. With the Internet on your side you have the advantage of posting your resume online. Some job boards, like College Job Bank are perfect for young, entry-level workers and allow you to search for and connect with local employers. You can post your resume, set up job alerts, and get resume and interviewing assistance all in one place.
Don’t Wait for an Invitation
What else can you do to find a summer job? Well, while people are passing the word around and your resume is posted online, you can “hit the bricks” as they say, and go from business to business introducing yourself and dropping off your resume. Certainly go to places that have the “HELP WANTED” sign, but don’t be limited to them. You never know when employers were “just talking about hiring someone” or recently had an employee leave in an untimely manner. Your resume might even spark the notion that “we could really use someone like this now.” Don’t limit your opportunities by waiting for a special invitation.
Some other ways to be sure you’ll have income this summer:
- Self Employment – mow lawns, babysit, paint, or do anything you are skilled to do. You’ll work hard at selling your services, but you’ll be your own boss.
- Go “old-style” and check your local classified ads.
- The Careers Services Office at your college can help you and may put you in touch with alumni in your area.
- Seasonal employers like theme parks, summer camps, construction, and summer restaurants/clubs are prime spots for jobs.
- Contact your state employment office. The government has seasonal jobs too.
More Than Just Cash
A summer job may be vital for serious financial needs or just for extra cash, but your summer employment experience is the real payoff. Learning to network, developing your resume, searching for a job, interviewing, and eventually the actual on-the-job experience are important first steps in learning about the world of work.
Everyone Has Their Own Story
My first job, you ask? I was 16 years old with hopes of owning a car when I’d pass my driver’s test a few months later. In a deal I made with my father we’ll call “get a job, you’ll get a car,” he drove me around business parks and I dropped off resumes door-to-door. Company X (we’ll call it) had a receptionist who wasn’t particularly pleasant and I remember thinking, “There’s no way I’ll get a job there.” The next day they called me, interviewed me, and hired me for data entry work. Receptionist X left soon after (truth be told, I didn’t miss her). It was the summer before my senior year in high school. The job lasted through the summer, through the school year (after classes), and into my college years (I commuted and arranged my schedule to accommodate work). Through the years at Company X, I worked in many different capacities. A few years later, times got tough, and sadly, I was laid off. I took another job, graduated from college, and lo and behold, one year later, Company X hired me back into a better position with better pay. The work I did and the money I made were great through those youthful years (and yes, I did get a car which I managed to total on the way home from work only a few months after I bought it), but the experience I gained and the people I met have been invaluable to me. The business was sold many years ago, but most of the best friends I have now are the people I met at that job over 20 years ago. My summer job ended up having a profound effect on the employment opportunities I’ve had and more importantly, on my life overall. Who knew a summer job could hold such significance?
We Want to Hear Your Story!
Submit a comment below and share your summer job story or the tell us about your 2009 summer job search!