Is your high school or college student going to need a job this summer? If so, you may want to pass on the following tips to those students seeking summer jobs:
1. Start looking now. Employers are already thinking about their upcoming summer staffing issues. One way to beat out at least some of the competition is to start your job search early rather than waiting for the school year to end. Consider telling them, “I can work 10 hours a week now, and then I can ramp up my hours after school gets out.”
2. Get the word out about your job search. Begin actively telling people that you’re looking for a job. Think about all the adults in your life: Teachers, guidance counselors and coaches, your family doctor and veterinarian, your parents’ friends, your friends’ parents, and so on. This approach could turn you on to job prospects.
3. Plan for a repeat performance. A survey of more than 1,000 hiring managers revealed that 65 percent of their summer staffs will consist of returning workers. If you had a job last summer and you didn’t absolutely hate it, consider reapplying again this year. Your past employer will be interested in you because you’re already trained.
4. Be professional. Make sure that everything you include in your job application is spelled correctly and is free of grammatical errors. Don’t use all lowercase or all uppercase letters. Be sure the e-mail address you put down isn’t silly or distracting. The same holds true for the voice-mail prompt on your cell phone or home phone.
5. Do mock interviews in advance. A job interview can be a lot more stressful than you might think. To work out the jitters ahead of time, do a few practice interviews with someone other than a friend or parent.
6. Show some energy. Employers who bring teenagers on board say they appreciate their enthusiasm and eagerness to do whatever it takes to get a job done. Display those traits on your job interview — and on the job, as well.
7. Get appropriately gussied. Dress nicely for your job interview, as if you were about to attend a religious service. Do this even if the dress code for employees is casual. Absolutely remember to send a handwritten thank-you note after your interview — a step many adults routinely forget to take.
8. Play up your strengths. Many teens show a tendency to be hard on themselves and minimize their accomplishments. Remember that a job interview is not the place to beat yourself up. Instead, emphasize flattering details about yourself, such as being an honor-roll student, juggling extracurricular activities and volunteering in the community.
Bob McDonnell is executive director of Arizona College Planners, L.L.C., a member of the College Planning Network, the National Association of College Funding Advisors and the National Association of College Acceptance Counselors. For questions, email Info@ArizonaCollegePlanners.com.