Make your Summer Job Work for You
So you want a summer job? Summer jobs for teens are a great opportunity to gain experience, make some extra cash and get your foot in the door for future employment. Ok so it may not be your idea of a fun filled summer but there are definitely some advantages to consider. The extra money in your pocket can go towards any number of things. From those new shoes your parents just won’t splash out on, the tires you’ve been eyeing up for your car or into savings for something special later on.
The experience you will gain through your summer working adventures will be invaluable. Remember you have options; a summer job can be a ticket into the industry you are heading towards in your career. It should be something you enjoy and learn from. Take your time thinking about a job that’s going to meet your needs. This means setting some objectives or goals for what your hoping to achieve with your summer job. Those objectives will vary for everyone.
They might include:
§ Pay – If your goal is to make money and you don’t mind what kind of work you do then you have a very board area to start with. You will have to be willing to work hard for your money, as higher paying jobs will be harder to find and come with more responsibility.
§ Hours – You may only want to work part time over the summer, this is fine and will suit the summer job market as other students will be able to fill casual and part time job roles. Its important if this is the case that you specify a certain number of hours a week. You don’t want to be working 15 hours one week and 5 the next. It is good to have a bit of stability so you know you are guaranteed a set income each week.
§ Type of work – There are all types of summer jobs available for the teen job seeker. What you choose to pursue is again dependent on what your goals are. You could go for something traditional, like retail, local stores, small business, fast food; restaurants (kitchen hand, wait staff) summer is a busy time for all of these types of businesses so they are ideal for teen summer jobs. Your choices will be influenced by your location. Resort and tourist areas will have hotel, motel and restaurant work as well as possible domestic jobs. Beach areas are ideal for somebody interested in work as a lifeguard or beach petrol. Holiday programmes and camps are always looking for teens to work as councillors or coaches. This type of work if you are really interested could see you venture overseas for the summer. You could also start your own business; the Internet is excellent for this or you could find something you can offer your local community, for a price!
§ Accessibility – Location is important, you want something you are able to access easily. You don’t want to spend half of your summer travelling to and from work. Something local is good and just makes life a little easier.
§ Learning opportunity – Summer jobs can help build work skills and ethics that are fundamental to future career opportunities. If you know what you enjoy and are good at then chances are that is something you may like to pursue in the future. In any experience in life you get out what you put in. If your summer job is in an industry that you want to work in then you are in an ideal learning situation. Take this time to refine your skills and to learn from the experts. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Even if your work is not something that you see yourself doing in the future you can still learn from the experience. Stay positive if this is the case; try to learn about the business whatever it may be. There are some key things that are fundamental to all business so your learning will be productive.
So now you know you have a bit of direction in terms of the kinds of things you should be thinking about when getting started. It is at this point you need to put some of those ideas into practise. You will want to get a head start on your competition so try to get yourself organised early. The summer market for teen job seekers is highly competitive. Anything you can do to give yourself a competitive edge will help you land the summer job of your dreams.
The Competitive edge:
§ You need to figure out what you enjoy, your possible skills and talents and what you can offer potential employers. Also what you want to get out of your summer job experience. This process will help you narrow down your options. You should be able to define what types of jobs you will be going for and in what areas.
§ Be prepared, get started early and really take the time to think about your objectives. Now think about how you are going to achieve them. Goal setting is a good way to record your ideas. Keep it simple when it comes to goal setting, set challenging but realistic goals. Anytime you challenge yourself you grow so don’t be afraid to push yourself. This way you will see what your capable of and you will properly be surprised.
§ Resume – Keep it simple, concise and to the point. Gear your resume towards the job you are going for. Give any relevant experience, this does not have to paid work, it can be volunteering work, community projects, sports achievements. Anything that shows your skills such as teamwork, commitment and versatility. Give references if you have them, these can be written or verbal. If you don’t have a professional reference you could supply a character reference from a teacher, coach, tutor or a mentor in the community. Add a cover letter, this is a brief summation of your resume. It introduces you to the potential employer. It should include who you are, a bit of background information and what your offering potential employees.
§ Networking – Make use of all your contacts, parents, friends, teachers anyone that might be able to give you a lead or help you get a foot in the door. Get your resume out there. Use the vast resources available to you. These may include websites, notice boards, newspapers, recruitment offices or school career advisors. You can also cold call or visit potential employers and ask if you can leave a resume.
§ Interview – Once you have secured an interview there are a few simple things you can do to help your chances. The three Ps are fundamental to mastering the interview process. Presentation, Punctuality and Preparation are the essential ingredients you will need to perfect your interview style. These are covered comprehensively in Mastering the Interview – Teen Jobs.
§ Follow up – Learn from your unsuccessful job applications, ask questions and always try to gain from your experiences.
Now you have some basic tools to help you get underway, the best advice anyone can give you is to make use of the resources available to you. Be persistent, learn from the process and try to make your experience count. You have options, follow these guidelines and make your summer job work for you.