As classes begin to wind down in high schools across the country, students begin to turn their attention to the idea of getting a summer job. Before you head to the mall to fill out applications, here are a few tips that can help you land your first real job.

1. Build Your Resumeresume

It may seem strange to build a resume for a part-time summer job, but there are valuable benefits in adding this step to your job search.

Practice for the future

Most professional jobs require the applicant to submit a resume, which is simply a listing of education, job training and work experience. By preparing a resume now, you will be developing this skill and gaining valuable experience for the future.

Show off your skills

Despite being a teenager, you may have skills and experience that would make you a perfect candidate for jobs. Any extra-curricular training that you’ve received should be included (CPR, baby-sitting training or computer classes, for example) as well as any volunteer experience you may have. Detail any skills you have that an employer may appreciate.

Stand out from the crowd

Most employers receive dozens of applications for each job opening. When your application becomes just another one in a pile, you need to do something to make yours stand out. Attaching your resume shows that you’re taking your job search seriously and may be just what you need to edge out the competition.

2. Raid Your Closetdress

No one expects you to fill out an application wearing a business suit, but every interaction with a potential employer should be treated as an interview. Dressing for success begins at the application stage. Wear neat, clean clothes – leave the fashionably ripped jeans at home – and simple, understated jewelry.


3. Networknetworking

Don’t be afraid to start telling people that you’re looking for work. Your parents, friends and neighbors are all networking opportunities and can often point you in the direction of a great summer job. They may even be willing to put in a good word for you. Make sure you thank them for any help they offer, particularly if you get the job.


4. Hit the Streetstyrone-square-04

While online resources for job hunting are great, your best chance of finding a great summer job is by heading out to places of employment. A good way to start is by making a list of some of your favorite stores and starting with those. Even if they don’t have a ‘Help Wanted’ sign up, you can politely ask the manager if they are looking for summer help.


5. Think Outsidestaff-uniform1

Summer camps, recreation programs and other non-retail jobs may be more in tune with your personality. Check with local youth organizations, churches and recreation departments to find out about their summer programs. Often these programs hire younger workers to help run recreation programs and activities. Camp-type jobs are a win-win: you get paid to have fun with a group of kids.


Thank you
Thank you

6. Follow Up

Make a note of where you leave your resume or application. Follow up with a phone call to check on the status of your application. Be professional and polite when asking if the position has been filled. Always send a thank-you note after every interview, thanking the interviewee for their time and consideration. It may not land you the job this time, but may help you be remembered in the future.


The summer job is a great way to earn money for a car, college or simply to have some spending cash. It may seem intimidating to start, but the experience (and the cash) is worth it. Stay positive and with any luck, this summer you’ll be doing more than watching reruns.