James Marshall Crotty wrote a funny article for Forbes (“5 Best Summer Jobs for College Students . . . Deconstructed”) this month on what it really means for a college student to work at some of the top summer jobs.
From servers, who spend their shifts increasing “memory skills and . . . knowledge of esoteric food allergies,” to interns, who devote their days to “develop[ing] new-found empathy for third world workers and learn[ing] the invaluable skill of giving away one’s labor,” Crotty maintains that summer work for college students is typically not easy. And by many accounts, he is correct.
But, according to the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, there were 160,000 teenagers hired for seasonal work last month. And, per a recent article in TIME magazine, many experts predict that the availability of summer work for students and teens will continue to improve this year versus in previous years.
That said, many young workers may still not be able to find a summer job because there are none available in their area – or because they have simply become discouraged and stopped looking for work. Here are some tips for teens and college students to find summer work:
Be proactive. When you find a company that you want to work for, think about what jobs you could do that would make that company more successful. Often, putting together a proposal and then getting it in front of senior management during an informational interview will be the chance that you need to dive right in.
Be professional. By now, you’ve likely heard all about the importance of cleaning up your Facebook page and other social networks. If you haven’t done this, you should. But more than that, you should be using your social networks to let your friends and family know that you are looking for a job – and you need their help. Removing unprofessional photos is not enough . . . make sure that you are keeping your written updates clean, as well.
Look in the right places. Let’s face it; it would be awesome to have that internship at Pixar this summer. But, if that’s not in the cards, play up your interest in movies by working at a movie theater. You’ll be able to cultivate your communication skills and learn what goes on behind the scenes from a more technical perspective – and relevant experience is great for your resume.
Use technology. As a rule of thumb, always follow a potential employer’s application directions exactly. Include all information requested in the job posting and make sure your documents are accurate. But, to stand out, consider using technology to spruce up your resume. GetHired.com allows you to add audio or video to your online profile so that you can tell employers how you would be a good fit for their open position. You can also create a graphic resume or use other technology to show your creativity and knowledge.
Above all, stay positive. From teens to older workers, it is difficult to find work nowadays. But, it is possible if you know where to look and how to present yourself.
Good luck out there.