It’s almost the end of May, which means summer is right around the corner. At least summer in all the ways that matter: the end of the school term, the start of tourist season for much of the country, and the start of family vacations.
And who is at the center of these disparate trend lines? The American teenager. When 16-19 year olds are released from school, they may be traveling with their families on these holidays, but they may just as well be working in national parks or entertainment centers visited by other holidaymakers.
As you might guess, this is one of the best years in recent memory for teenagers wanting summer jobs. Not only are there labor shortages everywhere, but wages are higher than usual and employers are more lenient with a worker’s limited experience.
If you’re a teenager reading this article (okay, if you’re a teenager whose newspaper-reading parent forwarded this article), now is the time to line up for a great summer work experience.
The following steps will give you a good start in this process. The order of the steps usually doesn’t matter, but it would be a good idea to start contacting employers (Step 5) as early as the first week of June, if not earlier. Although many jobs are already in demand, excellent opportunities are still available.
1 – Review your schedule. If you’re taking summer school or going on vacation with your family, part of your time is already obligated. Use an electronic or paper calendar to better visualize your available time, while helping you decide how many hours per week you can volunteer.
2 – Consider your goals. At this point, you may not know what types of jobs you would do best. Finding out that’s actually one of the perks of a summer job, so that’s not a problem in and of itself.
But if you have a goal, like learning or using a particular skill (carpentry? cooking? coding?), or working in a certain way (outdoors? helping the elderly? teaching kids?), now is the time. to explore summer jobs that would meet this criteria.
3 – Write your resume. You may already have a resume, or this may be the first time you need one. In either case, be aware that using a CV instead of/in addition to an online application gives you access to more opportunities. For example, if you’ve heard that the music store is hiring but can’t find a job posting, you can take your resume directly to the store and request a meeting with the manager.
The CV itself does not need to be complex. Start with your name, followed by your email address and phone number (but not your address), followed by a sentence or two that describes you and your goal: Reliable, outgoing student with good math looking for a part-time summer job in an office or store. It’s fine to omit the job type if you don’t have a specific goal.
Then you can create a short bulleted list of strengths, such as * Accurate * Eager to learn * Able to use Excel, Word, and PowerPoint * Comfortable welcoming clients.
Now write down any jobs you’ve ever had, including babysitting, side businesses, or helping out with your family’s business or farm. The next section is for any volunteer work you have done, and the last section is for school, including activities you have participated in.
4 – Decide where to apply. Do your transportation choices mean that work has to be accessible by bike? In this case, cycle that distance in all directions and write down the places that would interest you. Alternatively, you can build your list based on your interests or where your friends already work.
5 – Start contacting employers. If you see attractive jobs online, go ahead and apply that way. Alternatively, you can combine in-person and online processes to reach employers you would like to speak with. Once you have a system in place, contact at least 10 employers each week (20 is best), to secure interviews before too much of the summer is up.
As you can see, getting a summer job is not complicated, but it takes perseverance and determination. These steps should also work if you are under 16, although some employers cannot hire at this age. If this happens, you may need to check with a local youth employment program or start your own side business.
Whichever way you land your job, good luck and enjoy your summer!