From Issue #24
How to Land a Summer Job
It's time to make some cash.
Follow these four steps and get the summer gig you want
By Janette Ewen
Faze Intern, 18
Faze Intern, 17
Faze Intern, 18
Faze Intern, 17
Write a Resume
Before hunting for a summer or part-time job, it’s very important to put together a resume and cover letter. Even if you don’t have any previous work experience, a resume will highlight your strengths, abilities, and interests. Remember to keep it concise—two pages maximum. Here’s the essential information to include:
• Contact information
Provide your full name and address, along with your email address and home or cellphone number with area code. Make sure the message on your voicemail is professional—what may be amusing to you and your friends probably won’t impress a prospective employer.
In one sentence, write a brief description of your employment goals. Be sure to match your objective with the position you’re applying for—a high-end restaurant won’t care that you want to work with dolphins.
List your skills that relate to the job you’re applying for, or that you think a prospective employer would see as an asset, such as multilingualism or computer experience.
Include the name and city of your school, as well as your final grades or GPA. List specific courses you’ve taken that are relevant to the job you want.
• Work experience
If you have work experience, write the name of the company, its location, your position and duties, and the length of time you worked there. Remember to not exaggerate—employers will catch on!
• Personal interests
This is the fun part. Include a short list of your favourite hobbies, extracurricular activities, and volunteer work. This will help employers get a sense of who you are.
Don’t forget: Write a cover letter.
Before sending your resume, take a moment to write a cover letter. Address it to the prospective employer, introduce yourself, and explain why you are a good candidate for the job. The letter should show your professionalism and should entice the employer to read more about you in your resume.
Visit your local Service Canada Centres for Youth (SCCY). These centres, located across Canada, are open from May until August and offer a number of free resources, including information sessions on how to write a resume. Also check out www.youth.gc.ca for more ideas on writing a resume.
When looking for a job, ask yourself some important questions: Where is the job? Is it accessible by public transit? Is the pay fair? Will I learn a new skill that will contribute to my resume or my future? Is this something I can spend my summer doing?
To find job postings:
• Check the job board at your local SCCY. Because these centres are for students, the jobs posted will fit your schedule and employment period.
• Search the internet. Try www.youth.gc.ca and click on Job Bank For Students for a complete database of Canadian job postings, updated daily.
• Try something different. Visit www.jobs.gc.ca and click on the Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP) link. This program helps students find temporary employment with the federal government. Some of the posted jobs even involve travel. Just imagine how great a government job would look on your resume!
Once you’ve selected jobs to apply for, send out your resume and cover letter. Rule #1 in applying for a job is to follow the directions for application listed on the job posting. If you stray from the requirements, the employer will assume you either don’t read carefully or don’t follow directions. Either way, you’ll decrease your chances of getting hired.
Don’t forget: Respect a prospective employer’s time.
Dropping off a resume for a retail job on a busy Saturday morning is a bad idea. Try stopping by on a Monday night when business is slower and someone can take a moment to talk to you.
Nail the Interview
You’ve secured an interview – now what? Dress professionally (no jeans!), arrive 15 minutes early, bring an extra copy of your resume, and be prepared to ask and answer questions. Before the interview, do some research on the company – know what they are about and what is most important to them. During the interview, be sure to smile when answering questions, and try to be relaxed (but not cocky).
Don’t forget: Follow up.
After an interview, thank the person you met with for their time. Send a handwritten note, call, or email them a few days after your interview. This will help you stand out from other applicants.
Visit your local library and find a book on developing interview skills, or attend a workshop at your local SCCY.
The Faze Team Tells All
Some of our silliest summer job memories...
“I worked at one of the restaurants at the Toronto Zoo. It was a pretty slow day at work, and we were all bored. Mopping the floors at the end of the day turned into a full-on water fight! It was really fun, even though the cleanup took a pretty long time.”
— Melissa Fargas, intern, 17
“I was working for a construction company. While cleaning up a job site, I picked up a piece of wood and a toad jumped onto my shoe. I freaked out, dropped the wood, and refused to clean anymore. I really overreacted. I never found out what happened to the toad – I hope it didn't go deaf from my screams.”
— Melissa Loomans, intern, 18
“I’ve worked at a movie theatre for about a year. My co-workers and I are always doing crazy stuff. We had a water fight and we got totally soaked. It was amazing and I’m so surprised we didn't get in trouble!”
— Shenieka Russell-Metcalf, intern, 17
“I had to squeegee windows and wash cars for eight hours when I was working at Tim Hortons to raise money for Camp for Kids. Donations weren’t mandatory, so it was really annoying when I had to wash cars for people who wouldn’t even throw in a dollar.”
— Kristen Aran, intern, 18
“I had this lame job where I had to wear a dorky medieval peasant outfit. When we received a memo that the company was going to be doing a promo for the movie Coneheads and that they would be randomly selecting one in eight employees to wear a Conehead skullcap for the next two weeks, I couldn’t deal. I went home after my shift that night and vowed never to return. I don’t even think I called in to officially quit.”
— Amanda Greener, intern copy editor
“When I worked at an American-owned Tex-Mex restaurant in Monaco, I had to wear cowboy boots, a western shirt, and a bolo tie. Yeee-haw! Thank god there was no hat.”
— Paul Z, executive director
“I worked as a busboy on the busiest restaurant patio in Vancouver with one of my best friends. To entertain ourselves, we would play “I Spy” and make fun of the customers.”
— Denise Wild, editorial director
“I worked in a lingerie store and we got a kick out of embarrassing the guys who came in. Whenever they asked for help (and they almost always did), we'd immediately suggest our skimpiest thong set – they always turned red and lost the ability to speak properly.”
— Lorraine Zander, editor-in-chief
Enjoy your summer
Just because you have to work during the
summer doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time.
• Look for a workplace that employs people who
are in your social group or who have similar
• Try to find a job outside – then you won’t feel
like you’re missing out on the summer.
• Find a job where you can learn something
valuable (maybe a new skill) and develop
yourself as a person.
• Seek jobs that have shorter or more flexible
hours—that way you’ll still have time to meet up
with your friends and hit the beach!
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