It’s time to find a summer job. Whether you’re wondering how to find summer jobs for HS students, looking for companies that hire teens, or just doing research on how to find summer jobs, it’s not always easy to land a part-time or seasonal job. But we’ve got you covered.
Here are a few tips to beat the competition for the choicest summer gigs.
Put the word out to your network
What do you think of when you hear the word “networking?”
A lot of us—especially those of us who aren’t naturally outgoing and bubbly, which is most of us—see networking in a negative way. You might envision social butterflies at parties flitting from one clique to another with a drink in hand, leaving each group of people with a laugh and a smile. Or you might picture a bunch of uptight dudes dressed in suits and ties, shaking hands and exchanging business cards.
But that’s not how networking needs to be.
As the summer season approaches, you should start thinking about all the people you know. Put the word out and tell everyone that you’re looking for a summer job. Do you know a friend who’s got a job? Check in with them to see if their employer is looking for more help. You can also touch base with your former bosses. If you’ve been hired before and you left in good standing, chances are good that they’ll consider you for the next opening.
The point is that you need to let people know what you’re looking for. Nobody’s going to know that you’re trying to find a summer job unless you tell them. So put it out into the world! Ask and ye shall receive.
Look for seasonal businesses
There are certain companies that see big surges in business during the summer. Think about what kinds of activities are focused on the summer. If you’re thinking about how to find a part time job near you, think about the popular summer activities in your neighborhood. Think about what people like to do. Check out the local zoos and museums. They’ll definitely need extra help—whether it’s with helping visitors by taking tickets, selling knick knacks and souvenirs in the gift shop, or stocking shelves, there’s plenty of work for students and teens. Another idea is to look for shops that sell ice cream and frozen yogurt. If you live near a lake or a large body of water where there are seafaring attractions, think about approaching owners and managers at the dock.
Ask your local mom-and-pop stores
Wondering where to find summer jobs? Consider your local businesses that are family-owned and operated. While there are larger companies that hire teens and students, mom-and-pop businesses need help too and might be more open to hiring someone with less experience. If you can show that you’re hardworking, reliable, and willing to learn, you just might strike up a great working relationship with your local small business owners, which can lead to a great reference or even bigger opportunities in the future. Some examples of local small companies that hire teens include: sit-down restaurants, fast food restaurants, supermarkets and grocery stores, hardware stores, bakeries, landscaping companies, car washes, pet care and grooming companies. If you’re in doubt, just hit up main street or downtown!
Be authentic about your job fit
After you learn how to find a part-time job, you’re going to have to decide whether it’s worth applying to. It’s easy to feel the pressure to apply to every opening and max out your opportunities. But you need to be authentic to who you are.
This starts with being honest with yourself. If you’re a proud vegan who isn’t sure you could stand handling meat patties and prime-cut filets all day, then skip the restaurant summer job route. Being honest also includes your initial conversations with potential bosses. Don’t over-commit to the amount of hours you’ll be able to work up front and then back down.
You also shouldn’t claim that you possess certain skills and experiences when you know you don’t. Yeah, it’s exciting to be on the cusp of landing a job, but the quickest way to crash and burn in your new gig is by fibbing. When you lie about your skills, you’re going to feel like a fraud every day of work—it’s going to stress you out. Not only that, but there will also definitely be a day of reckoning where you’ll be in a position in which you’re going to be caught in an epic fail. Then you’re going to have to explain to your boss why you couldn’t perform what you claimed that you couldn’t. If you aren’t fired outright for exaggeration and dishonesty, you’ll have violated the trust of an employer, and that means you’re messing up your reputation and losing a chance at getting a good referral. And remember, a good referral is often the easiest way to get your next (and often better-paying) job.
Don’t be “that guy” or “that girl”
When dozens and dozens of your peers are vying for the same coveted job, don’t make it easy for a potential employer to take you out of the running early in the process.
Whether you’re dropping off a resume or job application or showing up for an interview, be professional and avoid being like something out of a meme. Save yourself the embarrassment and don’t show up in a tuxedo T-shirt. Please, no crazy ringtones. And use a professional email address that uses your first and last name. Save the quirky email addresses for your friends and family.
Prepare for interviews
You’ve probably heard it all. Dress for the job you want (not the one you don’t have yet). Be respectful and show up 15 minutes early to the interview. Whether it’s your parents or the guidance counselor or career center that’s telling you this, there’s a lot of truth to it.
Dressing professionally doesn’t mean that you have to spend a lot of money on a fancy suit and shirt. A neat appearance is what’s important. Whatever it is that you have, make sure it fits well. Tuck in your shirt and button up. Comb your hair. If you can, wear a pair of shoes instead of sneakers. If you’re going to wear sneakers, try to pick a plain design that’s dark in color. Your potential employer wants to know that they can trust you to represent their business, and that means putting your best foot forward.
Understand that dressing professionally doesn’t mean that you have to give up your personality. When you dress professionally, you show your potential employer that you understand what it takes to be in a working environment. You aren’t defined by the way you dress, you’re defined by your attitude and the way you express yourself.
Aside from dressing professionally, you’re also going to want to get some practice answering some common interview questions.
By Amy Culver