What are your summer plans? Are you looking for a job or internship? Whether you want to make money for a car, spending money, or to save for college, a summer job can offer you more for your future than you may realize. You will be able to gain or assert your independence and experience for your future career with new skills and work habits.

Where to look

Most of the time, a job will not just fall in your lap. Finding a summer job takes effort.

  • Let people in your life know you’re looking for a job AND ask if they know of any opportunities.Talk to your friends, parents, teachers, neighbors, church or other organizations you belong to, and anyone else you can think of who could help you!
  • Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone! Walk into local businesses and ask if they’re hiring and if you can fill out an application.
  • Look in your local newspaper for job descriptions.
  • Consider an internship. They may offer less money but it could give you experience for your future career. You may learn that you love or hate what you thought was the perfect career.
  • Check out job websites specializing in helping teens.
  • Start your own business. Market yourself with business cards and flyers.

Types of jobs

Do you have an idea of what kind of job you want? Is there a job that will offer you the opportunity to gain experience and skills for your future career?

Do you want to work…

  • With kids? Then consider being a…
    • Babysitter/nanny
    • Camp counselor
    • Tutor for homeschool or summer school kids
  • Outside? Then maybe you could find a job…
    • Walking dog/pet sitting
    • Cleaning pools
    • As a lifeguard
    • Doing lawn care
    • Cleaning or detailing cars
    • Being a golf caddy
    • Delivering newspapers
  • Inside? Then how about…
    • Food service
    • Theater
    • Retail
    • Office administration
    • Hospitality

Creating a resume

Other than an application, your one-page resume is something that can get you an interview for the job you desire. Your resume should highlight you in a way others cannot be highlighted. It should NOT be longer than one page until you have a college degree and career experience. You may need a different resume for each job you apply to since the requested skills will be different.

  • Header: Your name, address, email and phone number
  • Work experience: List your job title, place of employment, location and dates. Some application request more information such as supervisor’s name and contact information.
  • Skills: Relate your skills learned from sports, clubs, organizations, community service, and other job experience to the job you are applying for.
  • Education: Do not list earlier than your 9th grade. Identify name of high school, location and dates attended. If you attended more than one high school, list your most recent first.
  • Activities and achievements: List all extracurricular organizations/teams, position/title, duties, accomplishments and dates–include both school and non-school memberships.
  • Awards & honors: Provide the organization, award name, date, and short description of the award/honor.
  • Volunteer & community service: Include the organization name, specific department, location (city & state), position, duties, number of hours contributed or timeline of service.

Know your references

You need to have three to five references who can give glowing recommendations so the potential employer wants to hire you. References need to be an adult who knows you well. Ask permission before you put them down on your application; they shouldn’t be surprised to get the call requesting information about you for the job.

Who should you use?

  • Teachers
  • Mentors
  • Previous co-workers (over the age of 21)
  • Community leaders
  • Adults from church
  • Neighbors

Filling out applications

Applications can be filled out with pen on paper or online. Here are some tips for filling out applications:

  • Do not fill it out at the place of employment; take it to your car, home, a coffee shop. But, do NOT sit in the place of business and fill it out.
  • Read and follow instructions.
  • Make copies in case you mess up.
  • Do not leave blanks. Use N/A (not applicable) when necessary.
  • Do not put specific hourly/salary requirements.
  • Keep your resume and application consistent.
  • Answer truthfully.
  • If filling out a paper application, use black pen and write legibly

Preparing for the interview

Practice your interview skills before the interview. Ask an adult to walk you through a mock interview asking questions you may face in the actual interview. Sample questions may include:

  • Tell me about yourself.
    • What sets your apart from other applicants? Do not recite your resume/application; they have already seen it. Be enthusiastic and tell them something that’s NOT on the application or in your resume.
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
    • Highlight your strengths and identify your weaknesses BUT turn them into strengths by identifying how you are working on them.
  • Tell me about a time you have failed.
    • Everyone has messed up or made mistakes. Don’t act like you haven’t.
    • Accept responsibility when you explain it.
    • Explain what you learned and how you plan to prevent it in the future.
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    • Describe educational and work endeavors that will lead to a successful future.
  • Why should we hire you?
    • Don’t give them a sob story. Make them believe in you and your future. What have you done and what will you do to accomplish your dreams?

More interview tips:

  • Arrive 10-15 minutes before the interview.
  • Dress to impress. Dress conservatively and professionally. No second 1st impressions are given! People judge you in the first 15 seconds they see you.
    • Grooming is essential. Haircut should be recent and neat.
    • Dress, at minimum, one step above the daily dress code for the workplace.
    • Girls should wear slacks or a skirt with a button up top and blazer. Pantyhose are not necessary. Wear 2” or less heels. Your jewelry should not be too blingy and do not wear excessive perfume or body spray.
    • Guys, you should wear slacks, button up shirt, tie and blazer. Make sure you wear a belt and nice dress shoes. Make sure you shave!
  • Be aware of your nonverbals. Remember to maintain good posture and eye contact.
  • Watch ums/uhs. Remember to breathe and be confident when you speak. Pause if necessary.
  • If you’re not sure how to respond, do not try to bluff your way through. Ask for clarity. Still not sure? It’s okay to say “I’m not sure” or “I don’t know.”
  • Ask a couple questions at the end of the interview. They’re going to ask if you have any…make sure you have researched the company and have a couple questions in mind. This will make it seem like you’re very interested and they’ll be more open to giving you the job.
  • Shake hands when you enter & leave the room.
  • Acknowledge them by name.
  • Within 24 hours, send a note thanking them for the interview & consideration and highlight yourself one more time.

Summer is around the corner! Getting a job is a process, but with the information provided you are set up for success. Don’t forget to be prepared and professional throughout the process. Also, keep an open mind. You never know what might come of your summer job experience.