Help In Finding That Summer Job

By Joe Stein

As we are now into May of this year, many households in Western New York enter a very nervous time. This anxiety is shared by both children seeking employment and by parents who want their kids working. 
 
Our current economy is making 2009 the most difficult year, in recent memory, to find summer employment. In past years, many WNY’ers had already found their summer job by April, and waited until school dismissed to start. This year, many are still “hitting the pavement” in hopes of finding their much needed job.
 
There are numerous reasons behind why this has been a more difficult year; most revolving around the economy. There are less businesses open and many that seem to be taking a “wait and see” approach to hiring labor this season. The competition on the supply-side is also tougher as area youth compete with adults currently out-of-work, for short-term employment.
 
With the seasonal job search being a little more challenging than in past years where filling out an application often resulted in an offer, we present a few tips that can be followed to possibly provide you (or your child) with a competitive advantage.
 
If you are seeking a job this season, then you should have already started your search, or be ready to begin it immediately. So, let’s not waste any more time and dive right into what you need to do and consider this job season.
 
There are many reasons to consider a job for the summer:
·         Spending money for the school year, either for tuition, books, or just incidentals.
·         Give yourself something to do while providing valuable work experience.
·         Supplement everyday income while the jobs are available
·         Pay down already existing bills.
·         Pick-up an associate discount at a retailer you love to shop at, either for yourself or gifts for others. This is a great way to further enhance your paycheck, by saving money on items that you would have purchased anyway.  Most retailers will provide a 10-40% discount on their merchandise.
 
Among the positions to consider for a summer seasonal job are a combination of your traditional and perhaps some that you have not considered.
·         Retail – Positions in retail may include cashiers, in-store demonstrators, assemblers, receivers, and stocking positions. Seasonal type establishments, such as an ice-cream parlor, will have a sizable need.
·         Distribution & Manufacturing – This is an area that has been particularly hard-hit with the economy, but some positions still exist. These companies may be using summer seasonal staffing to assist in backfilling the vacations of their regular personnel.
·         Restaurants/Catering – The summer can see a spike in catering with graduation parties, weddings, reunions, and company picnics. 
·         Landscaping/Lawn Care – Whether it is simple mowing and weed spraying, or more elaborate landscaping, this is a popular summer job for those who want to work in the great outdoors.
·         Construction/Home Improvement – If you have a skill in these areas, the summer is often a busy period of demand for you.    Even if you are not an expert, many times a company needs hard-working “gofers” in each work crew. For example, as we enter their busy season, roofing crews need skilled roofers, but also those who will do the prep and “fetch” work needed.
 
Basic rules of job searching apply:
·         Dress Accordingly – Not just for any interview, but also when you enter the facility to apply. In most situations, formal business attire is not necessary, just a neat and clean appearance.
·         Always Be Professional – Beyond just your dress, make sure your overall actions are professional. For example, your e-mail address and voice mail greeting should be professional.
·         Prepare – Be able to explain why you should be hired rather than someone else. Since the summer season is a finite period of time, reliability is crucial. Stress how diligent you are about coming to work and being on-time. Practice your interview with a family member to ease your nerves and steady your delivery.
·         Show Product Knowledge – If you are a shopper of that retailer, then express this to the Interviewer. You will have an advantage, since you will already know the store layout and the products carried.
·         Display Customer Service Desire – Many holiday jobs deal directly with customers.  Show your desire to work with customers in the interview.
·         Search online for posted opportunities, while also going the “old fashioned” route and applying in-person. Most companies do not advertise their summer seasonal openings in traditional Sunday print advertising due to the cost of running the ads. Use your network of family, teachers, friends and neighbors to get leads on open positions.
·         With the competition that is out there for this year’s summer seasonal jobs, do not limit yourself to just one or two companies. Make a list of all the companies you would consider working for and submit applications for them.
 
Things to consider:
·         Be Flexible – The regular staff will likely receive the best schedules and hours. Be ready to work whenever you are called to duty. Communicate that you can work weekends and other potentially undesirable shifts.
·         Be Positive – Show your Interviewer that you are eager to work for them. Don’t provide the impression that you are being “forced” to find a summer job. Finally, don’t communicate that you are willing to settle for this job because the one you are really interested in is unavailable.
·         If your summer gig is your 2nd job, make sure it does not interfere with your primary one. Most primary employers will not be flexible with someone due to their seasonal job.
·         Consider focusing on what you have experience doing. The less training you need and the quicker you will be productive will make you more valuable to an employer.
·         If this is a position that you would be able to maintain post-summer, then make sure you communicate that information. Retail establishments, in particular, may value a candidate who can sustain their employment more so than a person who can/will not.
Finding a summer seasonal job is an annual ritual for WNY’ers youth. Although the economic indicators reflect this will be a more challenging season for job hunting, a savvy Job Seeker is sure to find that summer seasonal job that they desire.
 
 
As always, best of luck in your job search.
 
 
The following has been prepared for the general information of WNY Jobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.
 
Joe Stein
WNY Human Resources Professional
Feel Free to E-Mail Any Questions or Comments