The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the promise of summer vacation lay open ahead of you. WAKE UP! Now’s the time to apply for a summer job!
Summer job. I know, I know. Nobody wants to think about working. It’s summer vacation, right? It’s the one time of the year that you can do nothing, sleep in, stay up late, hang with friends, and, oh…did I mention, do nothing? Let’s be honest, doesn’t that sound like your standard Saturday and Sunday? We all know the truth. Summer vacation is awesome for about three weeks, and then diminishing returns set in.
You start to feel like a bump on a log. Sluggish. Daytime TV is the same old junk. Your eyes glow neon from the amount of time you spent on chillin’ on the computer. You’re bored and you’re low on funds. It turns out that you can’t have a whole lot of fun without some spending money.
Movies are expensive. And grabbing lunch costs money. And the mall…you can only walk it so many times before you realize that nothing sucks more than being penniless in the middle of a consumer paradise.
Summer Job Market Improves for Students in 2012
2011 was a horrible year for teens looking for summer jobs, but 2012 is shaping up to be a much better for teens looking to find that perfect summer job. Dan Kadlec (from TIME’s Moneyland) recently reported that, “for the first time in five years, students will be competing more against other students than out-of-work adults for summer work.” He also goes on to mention that 79% of summer job vacancies will be filled by Memorial Day.
Summer Jobs Count
My first job? A Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N BAR-B-Q in Fayetteville, North Carolina. I absolutely loved my job! I worked the drive-thru, I learned how to make real southern sweetened iced tea (read: sugar), I could operate a cash register, bus a table, and provide excellent customer service. I made minimum wage and came home smelling like a deep-fat fryer, but it put gas in the car and money in my pocket.
I know. You’re thinking, so what? You worked at a fast food joint.
I got real world work experience that made me competitive when I got to college and started looking for student employment opportunities. I landed jobs as a book-buy-back clerk (cash register skills paid the bills!), resident adviser, research assistant, administrative assistant, and nanny. I beat out other students for these jobs and part of my job scoring success came from that very first job. I built something that nobody could take away: a job history.
Your job history helps you build a skill set. I learned how to interact with customers, resolve conflict, manage and handle money (huge skill), and I learned how to actually HOLD a job. Yeah, that matters. Getting a job is one thing. Keeping a job is a whole other ball of wax.
My job history, coupled with my academic record, helped me bring more than just a diploma to the hiring table when I started my post-college job hunt. I didn’t just go to school. I could manage multiple facets of the real world and function. I wasn’t a one-dimensional Plain-Jane-College-Student; I was hire-me-’cause-you-know-you-want-these-mad-skills college student. You know what that meant? A great paying job fresh out of school. Cha-ching!
Get Your Summer Job Now!
Put on some business casual and get ready to pound the pavement. Here are some tips for landing your summer job:
- Dress for success. Leave your summer gear at home!
- Smile and speak up! Positive attitudes get jobs!
- Get a professional email address. Nobody wants to hire firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Scrub your facebook page. It counts.
- Network with friends and family. You never know who has a job lead.
- Prepare your references ahead of your job search.
- Generate your own income: babysitting, pet walking, helping local businesses with social media sites like facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest…what skills do you have that you can transform in to fun money?
Are you a parent? Take an active role in helping your student look for summer employment opportunities! Job hunting is a fabulous skill that your child will need as they enter adulthood.