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Campus Life

How to find summer work

By Raven Nyman

(iStock/Getty Images Plus)

(iStock/Getty Images Plus)

It may seem as though summer should be filled with nothing but sunshine, cocktails and fun but, if you’re a university student, then there are real-life responsibilities you’ll have to consider before getting your summer jam on. These responsibilities may range from summer school to volunteer work but, for the most part, many students who have just finished up their studies for four months will be desperately seeking some form of income. Today, let’s take a look at a few different ways that students can go about finding the perfect summer job.

The first thing you should do is start searching early. We’re already into June, which means that summer work positions are quickly being filled, and you can bet that many of the better positions have already been snagged by the eager beavers of the world. That’s okay — you’ve still got time! The best summer jobs have been ones I applied and interviewed for between the months of March and May, while still completing my studies during the regular academic year. However, there are plenty of summer positions available, especially for students. So if you haven’t found the right fit yet, keep searching and don’t give up!

Before you send out resumes and head in for any interviews, be sure to clean up your social media platforms — if need be. I’m not recommending an identity transformation or an erasure of authenticity. However, deleting any posts that you might not want your grandmother to read is probably a good idea. Employers will often run your name through a quick Google search, so if there is anything there that you wouldn’t like them seeing — or that you think may affect your chances at landing the job — get rid of it!

A great way to uncover the hidden gems of the job market is by asking around. Yes, I mention this tip in many of my columns but there’s good reason for it: networking really does work! And, by networking, I don’t necessarily mean spreading the word on social media or wining and dining a potential employer. Instead, ask your family and friends if they’ve heard of any potential job openings. More often than not, you’ll be surprised to discover what a little socializing can do, especially when it comes to building connections.

If you can, try hard to snag a job that actually relates to your field of study, your personal interests, or your long-term career goals. This may not always be possible and, if it isn’t, don’t beat yourself up about it. If making money to pay for your education and survival is the real priority, then don’t be ashamed to work in a position that doesn’t directly correlate with your career path. Sometimes, you’ve just got to make end’s meet. End of story! Still, if you can land a job that benefits your education with applicable work experience, then you’re putting yourself a step ahead and paving the way for an easier transition come post-grad. Look for work opportunities that will make use of the skills you already have, while also allowing you to expand and improve upon your skill set.

Don’t be afraid to dream big, either. In my experience, applying for jobs that you may be underqualified for is not always a bad thing. In fact, with a wicked cover letter, you can often convince employers of your abilities and find yourself getting hired after all. I once applied for an administrative position that required a specific diploma that I did not possess. After composing an impressive cover letter that outlined the ways in which my specific academic, work, and volunteer experience had helped me to develop an appropriate skill set for the job in question, I was contacted the next day for an interview and hired on the spot. The lesson here: believe in yourself and shoot for the stars. It might sound cheesy, but hey, not trying never got anyone the job, did it? So go ahead and think big.

As you put your search into action, you may feel overwhelmed by the opportunities out there. If that’s the case, then go for something that you know will guarantee steady employment (aka cash flow). Think about serving or waitressing, offering petsitting or child-care services in your hometown, or even taking up a paper route. These jobs are almost always in demand, so don’t feel embarrassed to take one of them on. To start your search, I recommend employment sites, such as Indeed, WorkBC, CampPage, and CoolJobsCanada, for loads of student-friendly work opportunities.

Happy job-hunting, friends!