While for most teens, spring means exams and term papers, it also means job hunting season is open. Start your résumé/cover letter preparation and job search well before school ends. Don’t fall into these traps if you want a good summer job because the longer you wait, the less jobs that will be available.
Trap# 9: I can wait until July to get a summer job.
Good luck with that approach. Because of the struggling economy, teens are now competing with college graduates for summer employment. A lot of the best summer jobs are snatched up by grads by April and May. So by the time you clean out your locker, a lot of opportunities will be long gone. Depending on the job that you are seeking, start your search no later than May. Have all your materials ready (résumés, target list of companies, discussion points highlighting your skills, etc.) by March or early April. And start the search soon after asking if the company plans any summer openings. Don’t miss out on an opportunity just because you assume that everyone will wait for you.
Trap# 10: I should look for a summer job where I can work with my friends.
Everyone is different and what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another – even if that other person is someone with whom you have a lot in common. If someone you know has a job that interests you, look into it but be aware of the fact that it may not necessarily be a good fit for you.
Plus many people have found that hanging out with a friend is one thing, but working with them is another. On the job, many people’s demeanor and focus change and many become much more serious. And if your friend gets you the job by putting a good word in for you, you have added responsibility to do your best and not tarnish his/her reputation. Sometimes working together ends friendships.
You will need to invest time and research in your job search as well as patience and an open mind. Regardless of your expectations of the job, make the most out of it. You won’t regret it.
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