By the time you’ve made it to university or college, you’ve probably been working during the summers for years. These early jobs helped you earn a paycheque, but now that you're further in your education, you’ll want to start looking at jobs that offer relevant training to the career you are looking for
Read on for how to find the best summer jobs, and tips for getting hired.
Finding the best summer jobs
What’s the best summer job for you? You might have loved your high school summer job working at an amusement park, but is that going to give you the experience you want for the job after you graduate? It might, but if not, you need to expand your search. At this stage of your life, the “best” summer job is one that is relevant to your field of study, that offers networking and mentorship opportunities, and that gives you the chance to put your career-based skills to practice. Finding these positions is going to take some work. Here are some suggestions on how to get started.
- Networking: They say it's not what you know but who you know that matters — and they may be right. The good news is, networking is easier than it's ever been. Join social media groups associated with your career path, sign up for (and participate in) relevant forums, and attend industry events in your area. The more you participate in professional circles, the more likely you'll be considered for work or mentorship.
- Co-op positions: Co-op positions are competitive, but landing one is a great way to boost your educational record with relevant training and employment. Co-op programs typically help place college or university students with relevant companies for a paid term working in their (eventual) field. They can also led to permanent jobs once you graduate.
- Temporary relocation: If you're in a college or university town, it may be near-impossible to find a suitable summer job. Consider widening your search to find the right employment opportunity.
- Entrepreneurship: If you've got the interest and drive, starting your own summer business is an excellent way to boost your credentials, whatever your field of study. Leadership, initiative, and creative thinking are all great, marketable traits that you can claim with an entrepreneurial background. To get you started, look at federal and provincial programs that offer seed money to student projects.
Getting the job
So, you found the perfect job. Now what? Getting hired is the result of many factors, both in and outside of your control. Try to focus on what you can control to put your best self forward.
- Get your resume right — and to the right person. Forget fonts and formatting. The most important things when it comes to your resume are content and keywords. When writing, pay attention not only to potential human recipients, but also to robot ones. Use likely keywords and ensure the document is easily scannable. Have a friend read it over to avoid careless typos, and make sure you include your contact information on every page. Finally, find out who the correct hiring manager is. Not everyone likes a cover letter addressed to “whomever it concerns.”
- Use your online presence (and make sure it's safe-for-work). If you have a website, make sure it's up-to-date before you send out resumes. Go over your social media profiles and add your very best bios and pictures. Follow leaders in your industry and participate in online discussions. Avoid sharing anything objectionable and get the edge by posting relevant, curious, and intelligent messages about news and ideas from your field of study.
- Do your homework. Job hunting is emotionally and physically taxing, and you might be tempted to take shortcuts. Resist the urge! Research potential employers before you even send in a resume. Tailoring your cover letter will get you noticed, and put you well ahead of the competition in the event you land an interview.
Finding the best summer job can be quite the process, but with a little research, planning, and strategy, you'll be on your way to the next step in your career.
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