9 tips for landing a summer job

With the next loan instalment impossibly far away, the summer loses a little of its shine. Frankly, funds need refreshing and bank accounts must be dragged out of the overdraft: it’s time to score a summer job. Sorry n' all.

1. Make a start... now

summer job motivation

Just as that Pret by the Union is bombarded with applications during term time, businesses offering part time work in your home town will soon be overwhelmed with CVs from returning students. Put the feelers out now – you’ll be first in line for a role and it means you can start earning the moment you’re home, rather than wasting a precious fortnight of applications when you first hit town.

2. There’s more to life than coffee

…or bartending, or working retail. While they’re solid choices, positions are always oversubscribed. Look elsewhere - even something like office admin work will likely be less competitive (and often offers higher pay.) Try hotels, theatres, summer camps for children, travel agents… anything a little different from the most obvious summer work.

Pursue anything holiday-related. Companies who thrive during the holiday period often have short-term contracts available for the summer months. You could put in shifts at a leisure centre - but don't overlook something like working in a bureau de change. Think broadly: credit card companies know people need to pay for holidays somehow so are keen to sign customers up. Accordingly, they often need salespeople to promote the card for a few months during the holidays.

If you’ve clear idea of what you’re after, apply in that particular field. Applying randomly only makes the entire job hunting process harder as you’ll have to convince multiple industries you’ve an interest in their area - such paragraphs of nonsense get difficult to come up with after a while. If you're applying for one 'kind' of job, applications can be more similar to each other - and so require less individual tinkering.

3. Tutor

student tutor jobs

Just sayin'... it’s good money, flexible hours, and it’ll keep your brain sharp over the summer.

4. Need career experience?

Needless to say, the summer is the ideal time to rack up some relevant work experience. Summer is a quiet period for many 'traditional' businesses, including law firms and the like, so send in an email with your CV attached. The sort of position you may get – shadowing a solicitor, or doing basic paperwork– is not the sort of role typically advertised, so it’s up to you to find it.

5. Don’t mass apply

If you apply for every job advertised, you aren’t giving any of them the necessary attention. Invest a little time on your cover letter and CV and you’ll find you receive a much higher rate of reply – and if you don’t land the role, take it as good practice for next time.

6. Put in the effort with application forms

application forms
I know, I know: you’ve just spent the morning on your CV and the last thing you want to do is repeat yourself on an application form. But (!) there is a reason companies use them and in part, they're for employers to tell who wants the job enough to jump through the application hoops. Telling HR to “see CV” simply says you couldn’t be bothered with their form. Needless to say, that's hardly a winning strategy.

7. Have your references ready

job references
Because if it’s between you and another candidate, if their references come in before yours, you’ll be the one back on the job hunt.

8. Bookmark these web pages

If you’re really looking, try these places:

…and don’t forget to check your local newspaper. Some companies don't always list jobs on their website – say gardening or window washing firms – are often advertised for in print alone. Keep an eye out.

9. What's so good about you?

sstrenths and weaknesses

Why are you a worthwhile employee? What can you offer? The ‘strengths and weaknesses’ interview question is the oldest in the book but it’s still pretty likely to show up. Think about it beforehand and it’ll bolster your application – but don’t be afraid to show a little personality. The chances are, the kind of part time job you’re looking for won’t take much in the way of raw skill or experience. It’ll be as much about your team fit, your attitude, resolve, ambition and so forth. Make the most of what you’ve got - and don't let yourself down at interview with a sloppy appearance.

Don't fancy the thought of working? Nah, me neither - that's why we've got some other money making ideas for you to check out.