Get an Edge on the Competition for Summer Jobs

Summer Jobs Even though the economy is improving, the job market still is going to be tight this summer for those looking for seasonal work. According to CareerBuilder's annual Summer Job Forecast, about one-in-five employers (21 percent) reported that they plan to hire seasonal workers this summer, which is about on par with last year, and you remember how tough it was then.

The good news is that more than half (57 percent) of those employers said that they will be considering some summer hires for permanent positions.

"Employers reported they treat summer jobs as extended job interviews," said Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder North America. "Summer employment is a great way for workers to network, test-drive different career paths and earn permanent placement within an organization. It's still a highly competitive hiring environment, so you want to make sure you apply early, highlight specific accomplishments in your resume and thoroughly research the company before the interview."

This is not a bad way to start at the bottom and work your way up. More than half (58 percent) of employers reported that they will pay $10 or more for their summer positions. Thirty-one percent will pay between $8 to $10, while 8 percent of employers will pay $20 or more.

What types of summer gigs are available? While retail and hospitality jobs most often come to mind, employers also plan to hire in areas such as office support, customer service, information technology, engineering, research, sales and telemarketing, construction/painting, and more traditional seasonal jobs, like camp counseling and landscape maintenance.

Tips for Landing a Summer Job

Looking at a subset of human resource managers, one-third (33 percent) reported that they typically receive more than 100 applications for each summer job opening. Nearly half (47 percent) receive more than 50 applications. Rasmussen recommends the following tips to help you stand out from the crowd, based on what hiring managers said they want to see most from candidates:

  • Get specific about your accomplishments. Provide examples of how you've contributed to previous organizations, quantifying results whenever possible. If you're in high school or college, you can reference classwork or involvement in school or community organizations.
  • Get a referral. The hiring manager is much more likely to consider your application if someone within the organization has sent it to him/her.
  • Show you're knowledgeable about the company. Talk during the interview about something interesting that you recently read about the company. It underscores your enthusiasm for the job.
  • Talk about long-term interest. If you desire a permanent position with the organization, inform the hiring manager up front. It can set you apart as a serious candidate.
  • Submit a cover letter. Often overlooked, the cover letter enables you to showcase your communication skills, grab their attention and highlight your main selling points.
  • Remember to send a thank you. It shows follow-through and enables you to further emphasize why you're the best candidate for the job.

Next:Inside Scoop: Summer Jobs and What They Pay

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