As soon as the last month of spring semester arrived, I got a call from my mother asking if I had started to apply for summer jobs. Of course I had not, and with summer right around the corner all I was thinking about was heading back home to Florida. Within a week of enjoying my Florida sunshine, my mother quickly reminded me that I still had no job and I couldn’t lie around all day for the next 3 months. She made it clear that in the next couple of weeks I was expected to find a job.
Like many of you, I’ve applied for a TON of jobs and have yet to be hired. Sometimes I think that there’s something wrong with my resume or my job experience, or is it really just me? I’ve applied and applied and the most I’ve received was a crappy interview with an employee who didn’t even want to conduct the interview. Best part of the interview was waiting for 30 minutes only to find out that they’re not hiring (just “accepting applications”). For me and a lot of you, this situation sounds oh so familiar, but disappointing and frustrating at the same time.
Many times I wanted to give up and end this crazy search that was leading me down the road of unemployment. But I continued my job hunt and continued to get my hopes up with those confirmation emails saying they will review my application and contact me if my application fits what they are looking for. It’s funny because as I continue to fill out these ridiculously long applications, I finally got emails from places I applied for weeks prior with the very repetitive yet familiar message of “Thank you for taking your time to apply to our company, but we’re sorry to let you know that we have found someone that has the qualifications that better fit what we are looking for.” Basically, they told me that my resume was not up to par. Not only did they tell me as sugar coated as possible that they did not want me, they also told me not to be discouraged, and to continue my search for a job even though they cannot give me one “at this time”.
As you can see, I’ve been through this reoccurring cycle of finding a job over and over again with no luck of actually landing one. With the economy at a decline and very few jobs, many teenagers and young adults are finding that jobs have become very slim to none because they are competing for the same job with older, more experienced adults with impressive resumes. The fierce competition has made teens give up all hopes of ever landing a half way decent summer job.
But there is still hope guys, don’t throw in the towel just yet! Here are a few tips that I learned from Shawn Boyer at SnagAJob.com, along my pursuit for a job:
- Start looking before the summer actually gets here.Shawn Boyer, chief executive officer of SnagAJob.com, said employers are already thinking about their upcoming summer staffing issues, before the month of April. With that being said, try beating the completion by applying earlier rather than waiting (like I did) until you arrive home.
- Tell people you are looking for a job.You should brainstorm and think about adults that you may know such as “teachers, guidance counselors and coaches, your family doctor and veterinarian, your parents’ friends, your friends’ parents, etc.” You never know, these adults may just have the job for you and if they don’t they might know someone who can help you. After all, it’s not what you know, but WHO you know.
- Return to last year’s summer job. “A survey of more than 1,000 hiring managers revealed that 65 percent of their summer staffs will consist of returning workers.” If you enjoyed your job last summer, you should definitely consider applying again. And if you think about it, managers would rather hire someone who is already trained and knows how to do the job well.
- Professionalism is key.Make sure your applications have correct spelling and no grammatical errors. Boyer also advises that you do not use all lowercase or all uppercase letters. Be careful of what email address you use on your application. You don’t want a potential employer to look at your resume and see that your email is dAbaddE$CH![email protected].
- Mock interviews can help.Let’s face it, interviews can be very nerve racking. And many times we are fine and very confident until we get to that interview room and are asked multiple questions. Boyer recommends that you practice a few mock interviews with someone other than a friend or a family member. He says to make the mock interview seem more realistic try practicing with someone you are not as comfortable with such as a friend’s parent.
- Be Energetic.Many employers hire teenagers because of their energetic personalities and enthusiasm on the job. It may help to present these qualities in your job interview. And hopefully once you land the job, you will exhibit these qualities on the job as well.
- Dress appropriately.Dressing for an interview should be tasteful and appropriate. No low cut shirts or short skirts. Nothing too tight or too revealing. Keep it simple. Too much make-up or jewelry could be distracting. Even if the job environment is casual, you should still dress in business attire.
- Mention your strengths rather than your weaknesses.An interview is your time to show off your accomplishments, achievements, and just brag about how wonderful of a person you are. Don’t beat yourself up and talk negatively about yourself. “List out in particular the leadership positions that you’ve held,” Boyer says. “That helps to dispel the idea that teens aren’t responsible.” After all if you don’t think highly of yourself, who will?
- Look in the right place.We all know the job market is terrible, but Boyer says there are still establishments that are hiring teens such as: fast-food restaurants, movie theaters, merchandising companies that stock shelves for retailers, and health care facilities. You would think that positions in health care would require that you have experience and many other credentials, but to my surprise it is the complete opposite. Boyer also mentions trying valet-parking people’s cars, working in a hospital gift shop, working in a cafeteria, and being a receptionist.
- You may want to consider.Many banks need help over the summer and if you are 18 years old you could possibly become a bank teller. Plus, Boyer says, a bank job can make your resume look good.