March 3, 2015

Questions to ask yourself when looking for a summer job

So March is here and all you can think of is March Break, final exams, and warm weather, right?

Well, as I mentioned last week, now is a great time to begin looking for a summer job - even if all you do is conduct some preliminary research, you will be further ahead when opportunities really start to come online over the coming months.

To get your summer job search started, here are some questions you should ask yourself. Seriously, take a few moments to consider your answers as these answers will definitely help you refine your strategy so that you focus on the opportunities you really want and do not resort to what I call the "spaghetti on the wall" approach (a.k.a the "let me apply for everything and spam everyone with my resume in the hopes I get a job" approach).

  • What, if any, experience and skills do you currently have?
  • What experience or skills are you looking to gain or improve?
  • What kind of company/organization do you want to work for?
  • Are you available for full-time hours, every day, from the day classes end to when they resume in the fall?
  • Are you willing to work shift-work?
  • Are you willing to work one or more part-time jobs if you cannot find a full-time job?
  • Do you need to gain specific experience for academic requirements?
  • Do you have any plans for the summer that would impact your ability to work full-time hours?
  • Would you consider volunteering? 
  • If you are living in Ontario and currently in high school, have you completed you required 40 hours of community service?
  • How much time do you want to spend commuting to and from work?
  • Do you need to make a certain amount of money for school and/or student loan eligibility?

After you have spent some time thinking about your answers to these questions, you will be in a much better position to develop your summer job search plan.

Start developing your plan by researching organizations and businesses you would like to work for or volunteer with. Visit their Careers/Jobs/Opportunities page to see if they have started recruiting or if they have announcements about when you can expect additional information.

If they do not have any information available, search the organization's name on Google and add "summer jobs" to see if they have previously advertised positions. While this might seem counterproductive and perhaps a waste of time, it is important to get a sense of whether or not an organization you want to work for is even able/willing to hire students for the summer.

Note: Do not take the results from your Google search as the be all and end all. Quite often, business and organizational needs change so do not make any assumptions about summer job availability based on whether or not an organization advertised jobs in the past. Instead, use the results of these searches to determine how and when to follow up about opportunities if you are really keen to work for the organization. 

And throughout your research, be sure to track all of your research using the 2015 Summer Job Application Tracking Sheet.

Be sure to come back later this week for updates on the new resume and cover letter templates I am working on and hope to have ready by mid-March.

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