You Want a Summer Job but Can’t Land One. What Do You Do?
Ahh, it’s summer. You’ve been out of school a few weeks enjoying the sun, maybe time at the pool, or indoors streaming your favorite TV shows or listening to music. It’s been nice, a great respite from doing the math, English, and other assignments you tackled all schoolyear. But now you’re getting restless. Now you wish you were making a little money and had a cool little job like several of your friends do.
So you bicycle to the nearest fast-food restaurant, dollar store, or grocery store to fill out job applications. You get there and they say you can fill out an app, but they’re not hiring. They hired summer help weeks if not months before.
You’ve never had a job. You didn’t know you needed to apply for one so much in advance. But you really need to make money, and you want to start building your resume so you can get a neat job next summer or during the schoolyear—and you want to explore the world of work and discover what you’re good at doing and what you like to do.
Here’s the first thing to know: Don’t fret.
Go ahead and fill out those applications anyway. You might be surprised to get hired not long afterward because an employee left their job and a slot has opened up. But don’t bank on this happening. If it does, good for you. But don’t wait to see if that will be the case. Put your Plan B into action.
What’s Plan B?
Plan B is for those of you who applied for summer jobs and didn’t land one and for those who waited too long to get hired for summer work. Plan B requires you to get creative and entrepreneurial. It involves a combination of creating your own work opportunities and pursuing opportunities in nontraditional work settings.
Ideally, you start crafting your plan by asking yourself what you like to do and write that down. For example, your list of things you most like to do might include:
c) Growing Plants
d) Playing Piano (or another instrument)
e) Playing with Pets
f) Tinkering with Cars
After you have your list, brainstorm what kind of jobs you could create from it. For example, if you like to read, you could tutor neighborhood kids in reading or read to neighborhood seniors who cannot see well if at all.
Here are other potential jobs that can be created from the list:
*If you like to draw—and you draw well—consider offering drawing lessons to neighborhood kids.
*If you like to grow plants and have a green thumb, start a plant watering and nurturing service in your neighborhood to help neighbors when they are away on trips or if they are just not good at keeping plants alive.
*If you play piano well (or another instrument) and know how to read music, offer music lessons.
*If you’re a pet lover, start a dog-walking service or watch neighbor’s pets when they are away on vacation.
*If you love cars, wash neighbor’s vehicles.
*If you love painting, pitch in on neighborhood painting projects.
*If you love to bicycle everywhere, start a mail drop-off service for neighbors who can’t drive and are immobile.
The idea with these jobs is to find out what you most like to do—and to make some money! When you’re setting your rates, keep in mind that you’re a young adult seeking work experience, so don’t overprice your services. You may want to consult with a parent, guardian, or a trusted adult with an entrepreneurial background to help you set your fees.
And you ask, how should I advertise my services? Create some flyers with your name, phone number, e-mail address, and the services you provide, and pass them out to friends and neighbors and clubs or organizations you may attend. You may also find social media sites that will allow you to post your services and rates for free. Explore other advertising avenues too.
Keep your head up, and land that job!