Around this time of year, you see a lot of news reports and articles about young people and summer jobs — if you’re in school and planning your summer work experience, I hope you’re well into your job search: summer is right around the corner.
When I’ve talked about summer jobs for young people, I divide the jobs into three “goal categories” — since few summer jobs will help you achieve all three goals, focusing on one or two will help you narrow your search.
1. Income Focus
You need money — whether it’s to pay for school or to pay for new wardrobe, your primary concern for the summer is income. If that’s the case, you’ll likely want to turn to typical summer-job industries, such as food service or hospitality. But consider other ways to earn money — for instance, if you have basic office skills, signing up with a temp agency might make sense. Or if you have other marketable skills (such as Web design or carpentry), you may want to hang out a shingle as an entrepreneur — which leads us to our next goal category:
2. Freedom Focus
You want free time this summer — whether you’ve got a lot of fun stuff planned or you’ve got summer classes, you need to set your own hours. If that’s the case, you’ll likely want to consider being your own boss. You may consider some typical self-employment avenues for young people, such as babysitting or lawn care. But also consider your other skills and interests (from photography to finance), especially if they relate to your longer-term career goals — which leads us to our next goal category:
3. Future Focus
If you have the luxury of not being bound by a need for cash or a need for time this summer, you’ll want to consider your career goals and how you can use your time this summer to advance toward them. For many students, this means unpaid (or low-paid) internships — work with your school’s career center to find these kinds of opportunities, and visit Monster College’s Internship page. This may also mean working on your own projects — for instance, if you’re planning to be a journalist, you can spend the summer blogging even if you don’t get an internship at a newspaper.
No matter what your goal is or what your summer job turns out to be, keep that future focus by doing a job you can be proud of (so you’ll gain not only experience but also contacts and references).
For more tips on summer jobs, check out these articles:
- Teens: Prepare for a Successful Summer with the Right Job
- Ten Job-Search Mistakes of New College Grads
- A Winning Job Search Strategy
And have a great summer!