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7 Tips for Landing a Summer Job
High school and college graduates may choose to spend their summers taking courses or just relaxing, but there’s also another option: making money. Applying for a summer job is a little bit different from the rest of the time, so interested students, read on to learn the secrets.

1. Start Early

By the time school ends, even for college students, it’s way too late to apply for a job; summer positions are already filled. Instead, start looking now, even if March seems too early. It’s really only a few weeks before stores and companies begin changing over to the next season, and they need employees who’ll be there for the transition.

2. Prepare Your References

You really have your eye on a job but guess what: so do a dozen other people. How will you ensure you’re the one who gets hired? By having people vouch for you with reference letters. Generally, three is a good number of letters to have, especially for temporary jobs (if they’re going to hire you for a short, they don’t have the luxury of not having it work out).

3. Explore Leaving Town

Sure, you could stay in your city between school sessions and get to know it even better than before...or you could use a summer job as an excuse for discovering a new town. Along with experiencing new things and people, you’ll also have one of the best “What I did this summer…” stories. Plus, the freedom of not being around your usual expectations is really tempting.

4. Act the Part

As a young person, you’re dealing with a sometimes unfair reputation as not pulling your weight. It may not apply to you and it definitely is unfair, as a few bad apples have spoiled the bunch, but it does change the perception or the fact that you’ve got to work a bit harder to overcome it. And once you blow your future employer’s socks off, you’ve inched that much closer to a future reference, job or both.

5. Practice Your Interviewing Skills

It may seem silly to sit down with a friend or family member and have them ask you questions both of you already know the answers to, but the more comfortable you are with the process, the better off you’ll be. Tip: when asked what your biggest weakness is, don’t say “perfectionism”. Every employer sees right through that and will write you off as inauthentic.

6. Apply Within Your Interests and Skill Set

Summer camps are great jobs--you’re in the great outdoors all the time, the beach and water are nearby, everyday activities, someone else always does the cooking, and you get paid for it. That is, they’re great if you don’t mind kids. If you do, it’s three months of counting down the seconds until it’s over. You’re too young to be in a job you feel you’re selling your soul for, so cross off the ones that aren’t a match for you.

7. Avoid Mass Online Applications

Want to know what’s the quickest way to let employers know they’re nothing but a number on your list? Keep hitting “send” with the same cover letter template, and don’t specialize any of your applications. As much as you know you’d be great for the job, employers want the right person for the position, too. Instead, find your information online, and then deliver it in person. You’ll score major points that way. Oh, and also take the time to learn the name of the person who’ll be reading your application, and double-check you’ve got the right gender.

Now’s the time to start thinking and applying for a summer job, and with these 7 tips, you’ll be ahead of your competitors.

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