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Preparing for a summer job

Preparing for a summer job

With summer around the corner, students are gearing up to find summer jobs that can fill both their resumes and their wallets.

Whether you’re a student or a parent who has a student wanting to work, here are some bona-fide job-hunting tactics that should land them that coveted gig.

Set Yourself Up for Success

This one might seem obvious to some, it’s so important to get the basics down pat prior to your job search.

This includes: an updated, typo-free resume outlining education/awards/extra courses passed, work or volunteer experience (especially any related to what you want to do in future) and a LinkedIn profile, particularly once you’re at the college level.

Keep clean social media accounts (serious employers DO check these) and if you’re looking for a job in the arts, writing or digital work in an online portfolio goes a long way in impressing prospective bosses.

When you get a call for an interview, dress to impress, don’t be late and, whatever you do, don’t ghost on the interview, even if you’re having second thoughts. You’d be amazed at how many people know each other in various industries – and word travels fast.

The Art of the Network

You’ll hear this throughout your career: networking is invaluable. Why? Because you meet people that may be able to help you right now or down the road in landing you a job. It’s also important to stay on the radar of someone whose work, company or talents you admire.

One savvy mom stressed the importance of networking to her college-bound daughter.

Her advice: don’t be afraid to ask family, family friends, teachers, guidance counsellors, your doctor, dentist and neighbours for any opportunity in their networks. Her daughter asked their neighbour, who manages a beach resort, if they needed help. They did – and she worked for them for two consecutive summers.

The Tailored Approach

Not so keen on a service industry gig for the summer? Totally get it.

One dad we spoke to says his daughter was interested in arts and crafting. He encouraged her to think of jobs where she could put her passion to work and make herself money for university.

She became a camp counsellor at an arts camp and also found part-time work at a small craft shop during the school year in the family’s neighbourhood. This helped her on a few fronts: she created portfolio items and received paid experience that she used when applying to the Ontario College of Art and Design University after high school, and, she got in.

If you’re the outdoorsy type, why not apply to work for Parks Canada? The government is always looking for eager employees to work in national and marine parks across the country. If you’ve got your lifeguarding certification, you can do more than lifeguard duty at city-operated pools. One mom says her two eldest kids worked private pool parties and taught kids to swim in their own pools, which enabled them to charge a bit more for their specialized services.

More of an eco-warrior? There are “green jobs” available around the country too, from ecological farm apprenticeships to an indigenous school water program educator.
Speak another language? Look into jobs that require bilingual (English/French) summer staff. These usually pay more for your linguistic abilities and can range from call centre rep, office admin or tourism gigs.

Scour Social Media for Jobs

One Toronto-based mom reports that her neighbourhood has a Facebook group where students offer their services all year long. These include simple lawn maintenance/leaf clearing, snow shovelling, cutting lawns in summer, and for the handier ones, fixing things around the house and/or painting and, pre-pandemic, babysitting.

She says some kids offer dog-walking and pet and plant sitting services too. Asking elderly neighbours if they’re interested in hiring you for some support is also an entrepreneurial idea, especially if you are willing to clean and vacuum their homes. You could also offer to help with grocery shopping and prepping produce to help make a meal for them.

No matter which way you slice it, the early bird gets the worm when it comes to the best gigs.

Be prepared, don’t wait to apply for a job you’re eyeing and then get ready to wow them at your interview. Good luck students!