How To Land The Perfect Summer Job

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Exams are winding down and while many students already have a solid plan for the summer, the procrastinators among us might be scrambling to figure out how to find a summer job. While it’s a bit tougher to line up an internship or paid gig in May than it would have been just a month ago, it’s not hopeless. If you’re late to the party, don’t fret – we have some tips to help you land a great summer job.

 

Be realistic about your options. At this point in the game, you probably won’t score a position at a big law firm or a high-end finance gig – so don’t waste too much times targeting these types of jobs. Instead, focus on smaller organizations where there might be an opportunity to gain some work experience. If possible, avoid making money your focus – beggars can’t be choosers and ruling out anything unpaid is a bad idea if you’re serious about landing a solid internship. You might land a seemingly thankless unpaid position – like an internship in a small finance department or job as a photographer’s apprentice/assistant – but chances are that you’ll get some real experience that will help you in the long run. You can always work there a few days a week and get another side job for your off-days.

 

Expand your search. If you’re restricting yourself to websites like Craigslist and CareerSearch, you might find that it’s slim pickins – and depending on what type of work you’re looking for, you’re seriously restricting your options. For example, if you’re interested in nanny or pet-sitting gigs, setting up a profile on Care.com and cruising the site for jobs is a good way to go. If you’re hoping to add some writing or graphic design pieces to your portfolio, check out freelance work websites like Elance or oDesk. There are tons of options for summer jobs – if you’re looking in the right places.

 

Ask around. Don’t be afraid to ask your circle for help! Approach academic advisors, professors, family friends … anyone who might be aware of an open position. In the business world, networking is key and jobs are often won based on who you know. Trying to land work this way is good practice for what a job hunt will look like in the real world.

 

Polish up your resume and interview skills. Searching for a job is only half the battle – getting noticed and landing an actual interview can be even tougher. As a student, chances are that you’re limited in experience, so you need to find creative ways to get your foot in the door. If possible, meet with one of your school’s career counselors or another resume drafting expert to determine how you can “plump up” your resume while still being honest about your work experience. And make sure that you have a killer cover letter. Once you land that coveted interview, keep in mind that personality is always a winner. Express your eagerness to learn and keep your ego in check – arrogance in a young person with limited experience never goes over well in the working world.

Meghan Schalk

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