March 3, 2009

Seven Tips for Landing a Summer Job

Are you a high school or college student looking for a summer job? You might be feeling overwhelmed right about now with all the news that summer jobs are hard to come by in ’09.

It’s true that tough economies equal fewer jobs and more competition for them.

But that doesn’t mean you are doomed to a summer of pathetically watching soap operas. You can still land a great summer gig if you follow these seven golden rules of job searching:

1. Work on your resume.
Even if you lack on-the-job experience, you can demonstrate leadership and community activism through school activities and volunteer projects. Even your academic record (assuming it’s a good one) can speak to your commitment and drive. If resume writing is proving to be a real challenge, get help from your campus career planning center or your high school guidance counselor.

2. Check your work.
How many times have you heard your teachers say that? Guess what? It’s as true for your mathematics exam as it is for your job search. Make sure that your resume is free from errors. If you have to fill out an application for a job, check it twice to be sure that you answered all the questions.

3. Be positive and professional.
Even if you are interviewing for a casual job, you shouldn’t be dressed like you’re about to head out to the beach afterward. Show your enthusiasm with your warm smile and positive answers.

4. Look wide… and far.
Don’t limit yourself to one narrow field. If you want to work at a summer camp, great. Look at day camps and sleep away camps. Consider getting your lifeguard certification to make yourself even more marketable.

5. Be entrepreneurial.
If you don’t find your dream job (or any job for that matter), think outside the box. Stop looking for a boss and start being your own boss. Ask yourself: What skills do I have that I could sell on the open market (no, not those kind of skills!)

Can you put your stellar academic record to work tutoring students for the SATs or ACTs? Can you clean houses? Can you help families organize their upcoming garage sales?

6. Don’t give up.
No doubt about it, it’s tough out there. You might send out ten resumes but only get one response. You might visit a dozen restaurants in your town, only to hear “We’re not hiring” every.single.time. But if you give up, you definitely won’t get a job.

7. Talk to everyone you know. In other words, network. Tell your friends, your parents, your parents’ friends and your friends’ parents. Talk to your teachers. Chat with your neighbors. Let everyone you know know that you are looking for a job. Ask them for advice. Ask them to refer you to people who can help you. Ask them to tell you when they hear about a summer job. The wider you cast your net, the more likely you are to reel something in.

What’s your strategy for managing your summer job search? Leave your suggestions in the comments section.

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