The How To's
- Do you want to work full-time or part-time this summer?
- Will you be staying in the DC area or do you plan on returning to your home town to work? Or do you want to try out a new area?
- Do you need to get paid or can you afford to volunteer if necessary?
- Are you looking for a summer job that offers career-related experience or are you simply looking to earn some cash?
These are just some of the questions you should ask yourself prior to beginning your search for summer employment. It's important to consider what you hope to gain from a summer job or internship.
The Possibilities are Endless!
- Some of you simply need and want to earn cold-hard-cash. If this is the case, you may be looking for opportunities simply based on salary.
- Some of you want to do a combination, job-internship over the summer that provides career-related experience and provides the necessary income.
- Some of you will do volunteer work a few hours each week in a career-related experience while working a full-time or part-time paid positions to earn income.
- Some of you will work two (2) part-time jobs over the summer for variety and diversity of experience.
Anything is possible. Be creative!
Once you've decided what you're looking for, what you want from the experience and where you want to be, geographically, it's time to get to work. In face, it's wise to allow plenty of time. Starting your search in the beginning of the Spring semester is not too early. There are several strategies you can implement to obtain a summer job and/or internship. The best approach is to use a combination of all of them. Develop a plan! Let the process begin!
What You'll Need
- Resume: Develop a resume highlighting your education, employment history, interests, activities and special skills. You may be required to submit a resume in order to obtain an interview.
- Cover Letters: Some of you will be conducting long distance summer job searches which require contacting potential employers by mail. Whenever you send out a resume, you should always include a cover letter.
- OF612/SF171: For opportunities with the Federal Government, you many need to submit a standardized form.
- Other Supporting Information: Depending on the nature of the position for which you are applying, you may need to provide a writing sample, portfolio, etc.
- Organization & Follow-Through: It's important to keep yourself organized and follow-up with employers in a timely fashion. Develop a method of organizing your contacts and interaction(s) with employers (phone calls, resume/cover letter sent, etc.)
- Commitment: Commitment! Commitment! Commitment! You need to commit to the job search which requires time. The time and attention given to your search for summer employment will pay off!
Locating & Creating Opportunities
Don't wait for opportunities to come to you...go find them! Below is a list of resources for locating opportunities and identifying organizations.
- Personal Contacts: Talk with friends, family, former employers, faculty, alumni, professional associations (identify and talk with professional in your field of interest)
- Advertised Jobs/Classifieds: Hire a Cardinal, local newspapers, bulletin boards at libraries, post offices, grocery stores, neighborhood restaurants
- Directories/Published Material: Employer directories, yellow pages, professional journals/publications
- Temporary Employment: Organizations such as Manpower, Kelly Services, Don Richard Associates
- Be an Entrepreneur: Creative business opportunities you can run yourself shouldn't be forgotten! Painting, landscaping and sales are a few examples.
How to Approach Employers Who Haven't Listed Jobs
Call the organization in which you are interested. Indicate that you are a college student looking for a summer job, and would like to know if they will be hiring. (Have your resume in front of you in case they start asking questions over the phone about your experiences.)
- If "yes," find out what kinds of positions, and who/how to contact? deadlines?
- If "not sure yet," find out when to call back, and who to contact?
If a formal summer job program, get name of person to contact, application deadline(s) and procedure(s). Be prepared to send cover letter and resume.
You Got an Interview...Not What?!
Take all information you will need to fill out an application: references (name, address, phone number), social security card, birth certificate, driver's license, resume. Be prepared to sell yourself. Employers are looking for individuals who are adaptable, dependable and personable. Research the organization in order to convey your level of interest and enthusiasm. You want to show that there is a "match" between your needs and the needs of the organization. Dress and act professionally. Talk about your interests for summer employment but be flexible to the organization's needs. Before leaving the interview, be sure to ask when you should expect to hear a response. Be enthusiastic!
It is important to send a thank you note to employers after the interview as well as to other referral sources you have contacted for help. "Last impressions" as well as "first impressions" are very important. The thank you letter should not only thank the interviewer for his or her time; but, it should also reaffirm your interest.
Once you have accepted an offer, it is proper etiquette and business ethics to inform other potential employers of your status, and decline all other interview offers.
Career Services Key Resources
- Alumni Career Network
- Appointments with Staff Members (resume & cover letter critiques, interviewing, specific job search needs)
- Educational Handouts (resume & cover letter writing, job searching, interviewing)
- Employment Directories (Peterson's Guide to Summer Jobs, Peterson's Vacation Work's Overseas Summer Jobs, National Trade and Professional Associations, Washington Information Directory, Job Bank Series, Chamber of Commerce Directory, etc.)
- Hire a Cardinal (24-hour Internet access to Jobs & Internships)
- Student Resource Area (access to the Internet, fax and phone services)
- Fall (October) and Spring Career Fair (March)
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