July 14, 2015

Ask Andrew ... What should I do if I don't have a summer job?

Welcome to the first article in the Ask Andrew series.

To kick off the series, I'll be answering a question that I receive every summer from anxious teenagers and students who want to know what they can do if they cannot find a summer job

Q. I'm 17 and some of my friends have summer jobs. It's almost the middle of July and I don't have a job. What can I do?

Well first things first, don't panic!

While the summer job market is notoriously competitive and even though it's the middle of July, there are still lots of summer job opportunities, especially with summer festivals and fairs that often need to hire short-term contract employees. For example, if you live in the Greater Toronto Area, you could contact organizers at festivals like the Beaches Jazz Festival or Taste of the Danforth and the restaurants and stores that operate during those events.

And don't forget about the CNE. There are always lots of summer job opportunities with the CNE and the exhibitors, retailers, fast food kiosks, and midway/game/casino companies that operate during the 17-day event.

Or consider volunteering with a local community or non-profit organization. It's a great way to gain valuable experience and even though it's not paid, you'll complete your 40 hours of community service graduation requirement.

Alternatively, you could spend some time improving your skill set with the multitude of free learning websites. For example, consider learning a new language with BBC Languages, Duolingo, or Livemocha. Or pick up some in-demand tech skills in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Ruby with CodecademyKhan Academy, or Coursera.

Bottom line ... don't despair! Even though we're approaching the middle of July, you still have time to find a summer job or volunteer position, or to learn a new skill. You just need to decide what you want to do and where you want to focus your energies.

Thanks for your question - and good luck! :-)