It’s nearly here!
Summer that is. Most of us grizzled Upstate New Yorkers look upon summer with relief–finally a time to thaw out and soak up some sunshine before battling winter again. However, for some students looking for jobs, this summer could be particularly trying.
As this article from the Huffington Post suggests, finding a summer job for many students will be especially hard due to the economy. Youths are competing with unemployed adults that have more work experience and more flexible schedules. However, if you find yourself one of the unlucky jobless teens, this summer doesn’t have to be a complete wash.
While that extra pocket cash and the work experience is great, if filling out application after application is getting you nowhere, don’t give up. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. So instead of wasting away the summer months, take this opportunity to turn around your chances of getting a job next summer. Turn that empty space in your work history into something positive by volunteering.
Depending on the opportunity, you’ll be building a myriad of skills that will help you become more marketable the next time you’re looking for a job. Team building, people skills, providing service, etc. are all qualities that employers value. Taking an active interest in your neighborhood and building relationships with community leaders also demonstrates your stability and sense of responsibility to prospective employers.
In addition, by taking the time to volunteer, you’re also doing yourself a favor by helping to beef up your references. Chances are your supervisor will be more than happy to write you a great recommendation for all the hard work you helped them accomplish.
Down the road, volunteer experience is also excellent to put on a college application. Outside of your GPA and school clubs, showing an active interest in your community demonstrates to the admission board that you’re a well-rounded person and someone worthy of that scholarship and seat in the lecture hall.
So yes. Of course having a summer job is the ideal situation. Putting money into your pocket and work experience onto your resume is a win-win. However, if you’re turning up empty with your job hunt, don’t just give up. By taking up a volunteer project, you might not be getting paid immediately, but the investment you’re putting into yourself in the long run will be worth it.
If you or your son/daughter is looking for a summer volunteer project, check with your school’s guidance counselor or individual organizations, such as Meals on Wheels, the Boys and Girls Club or local animal shelters and summer camps about potential opportunities.
And if you’re still stumped about finding a project, here are some online resources to help you get started:
Do you have tips for students looking for summer jobs? What do you think the summer will bring for employment opportunities?