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May 6, 2013

Students-Thinking about a Summer Job? Get Busy Now!

by Diane Twait Nelsen

Many times students express to their IEP team that they are planning on working during the summer but when we come back in the fall and ask how their summer jobs went we find out that they didn’t find a job!  Here’s some helpful tips toward successful summer employment:

1)  Get busy now!  The college students are on their way back home and soon the job market will have many more people looking for summer jobs!

2) Use your network….yes you do have a network!  Check with your family friends, parents employers, your local city offices, your church family, etc.   Finding a job sometimes does take a whole village!

3) Know your summer schedule before you start job hunting….if you know that you will be joining your family on a vacation in July make sure you are up front and honest about that….if you know that you will have to leave work every day by 2:00 pm for baseball or softball practice or games….share that too!  Employers don’t want surprises after they have hired you…..actually taking a schedule with you to a job interview is a mature and appropriate thing to do!

4) Know what your job expenses are going to be before accepting a job….will you need to pay for gas? Can you share a ride to and from work? Do you need to buy a uniform or specialized clothing?  Are there any tools needed?  If you know the costs that will occur in preparing for the job it will help you better understand the amount of money you can make from any given job.

5)  Look at non-traditional summer jobs!  Do you have a busy schedule this summer….could you work an early shift at a supermarket or help unload trucks on certain days?  How about being a dog sitter or walker- you might be able to fit that into your schedule!  If you are an early morning person check local bakeries stores…..that’s a time they are really busy.  How about working at a local nursing home home?  There are many jobs there you may not have thought about in the past…..some require additional training but some do not.  Don’t forget to check out summer camps….many times the wages at stay over camps aren’t the greatest but the benefits are good….usually your food and board and a stipend if you are counselor, if you are a day worker- a meal still might be included plus the opportunity to work in a fun environment.  Camp work is also a great way to see if you are really someone cut out to spend lots of time with children!  Besides work with youth, camps also have lots of maintenance type jobs that depending on your age you might be able to do.  Additionally there is kitchen help, life guards, etc.

6) Don’t forget volunteer work…maybe you really do have a very busy schedule with sports and camps this summer but you would still like to fit in a little job exploration or work exploration.  Check out volunteer opportunities at local food pantries, churches, public libraries, community rec programs, or  ask a friend, family member, or neighbor who has a job you are interested in if there is any way you can job shadow them for a day or a week?  Put your free time to work…..it will look great on your resume and also may help you make some career decisions!

With a little pre-planning you may be able to make this summer pay off in several ways…..you may be able to earn some spending money or college savings, explore career options that you are interested in or even ones you have never thought of, and you may also have the opportunity to practice all your “soft skills” or 21st Century Skills that you have been working on at school!  So get out there and explore your options!

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