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Dos and Don’ts for the Summer Job Hunt

April 28, 2010
Michael: Click on the picture to read his story!

The heat of summer is almost upon us, and if you’re hoping to find a cool summer gig, the time is now! We asked for advice from Career Development Specialist Stephanie Speece, who counsels youth ages 14-21 at our Youth Job Connection. Here are her tips for the summertime job hunt.

DO: Dress appropriately. Yes, it can get hot out there when you’re pounding the streets looking for a job—but that’s not an excuse to wear a revealing outfit to an interview.

DON’T: Forget the little things. Dressing “appropriately” doesn’t just mean clothes—it’s the whole package. That means: hair, makeup, fingernails and jewelry should all be appropriate for the workplace. And if you have a tattoo—cover it!

DO: Treat an application like an interview. If you’re filling out a job application on-site, make sure you’d be ready for an interview on the spot—you never know when you might get one!

DON’T: Wait until school’s out to look for a summer job. Most businesses start looking six weeks before the season begins. If there are any jobs left, you’ll have a harder time finding them.

DO: Secure your references now. If you plan to list a teacher as a reference for a job, make sure to ask for a recommendation letter or their summertime contact information before you need it.

DON’T: Get discouraged. It’s a tough job market; you have to be persistent. That means filling out a lot of applications.

DO: Follow up. Don’t expect the hiring manager to make it a priority to call you back right away—remember that the phone works both ways. It’s OK to follow up on your application if you haven’t heard anything after a few days.

DON’T: Think you don’t need a resume. Even if you have to fill out an application and list your work history, having a resume ready to go will make you look prepared and organized. Don’t have a resume? Stop by the Youth Job Connection to create one, or work with one of our career counselors for help.

DO: Represent yourself professionally online. Think an employer won’t Google a potential employee before offering a job? Think again. Make sure you’re not posting things on Facebook that you wouldn’t want your new boss to read. (Bonus tip: This includes your email address. CutiePatootie123@YOUREMAIL.COM doesn’t appear professional. Instead, try using your first and last names and stay away from numbers and symbols. You can even take it a step further and create an email account just for your job search!)

DON’T: Be afraid to consider volunteering. If you’re having a hard time landing a summer job, try volunteering or look for an internship. You’ll meet some great people, and gain some experience at the same time—which will probably make next year’s job search that much easier.

DO: Think creatively. If your job search isn’t going well, maybe you can create your own job—babysitting, mowing lawns, or washing cars are all ways to make some extra summertime cash. Who knows? You might like being your own boss so much that you decide to start your own business!

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