6 Steps to Finding a Summer Job That Pays Well

Do you want to have fun over the summer or do you want to make money?  Do both!

Alright, now time to see if your Macbook Pro can live up to its name:

1) Create Resume and a List of References

You may think at this age your resume would be a blank page but you’re wrong.  A teenager’s resume can include school clubs, chores around the house, entrepreneurial projects, grades, you name it.  Consider listing anything that shows you are responsible – even if it may not be directly applicable to the job in which you are applying.

A list of references is basically a list of names and respective contact information.  It is meant to show an employer you have people who will vouch for your work ethic and skills.  References can be teachers (including the principal if you want to really impress), pastors, club leaders, you name it.  Keep family members off though.  They will say you would be a great employee not matter what.  The more well-respected people that your reference list contains, the better you will look.  Your reference page should basically say, “Hey look at all these successful people who think I’m incredible!”

Get your resume and reference list proofread by a few people who you know already have great jobs.  They know what a resume and reference letter should look like.  This step is kind of like learning how to get ripped from someone who already has a six pack.  You’re far better off listening to that person than the guy who hasn’t seen his feet in a decade.

2) Start Your Professional Network

Tell family members, friends and neighbors about your job search.  Subtly encourage them to pass the word on around the community that you are a hard worker looking for a job.  The goal here is to create a list of people who may be able to get you a job.  If your neighbor works where you would like to, then he is your in.  He is a person you need to have in your professional network.

Join LinkedIn and create a profile (only takes about 10 minutes if you already have a resume and professional picture of yourself).  Add the people you know and build that network of people.  Remember the phrase… ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.’  In certain instances, this is definitely the case. Organize and grow your professional network today.

3) Choose Where to Work

Don’t just choose a business because there’s a giant ‘Apply Inside’ sign out front.  The best jobs are never advertised.  Make a list of businesses in your area where you would be happy to work.  Consider businesses that fit well with what you’re passionate about.  Also consider transportation, should you get the job.  If you are too young to drive, make sure they are within walking/biking distance.  Three miles from home would be about a ten minute ride on a bicycle.

4) Get an Interview

This is a direct approach and direct approaches work best.  No one cares if you apply online or subtly drop off a resume.  You need to work for the job!  If you’re not willing to work for an interview, you definitely won’t be motivated to work during the job.

Wear the appropriate clothing for your desired position.  Walk into the place of business with your resume and reference list like you own the place.  Politely ask to speak with the manager.  If one is not available, find out when to come back.  Do not leave your resume and references until you are able to see the manager in-person.  If you give someone else your documents, the manager may just assume he has enough information on you and not want to talk to you further.  You always want to have the chance to talk.  They will remember you and when they remember you, they are much more likely to hire you.

5) Ace the Interview

Your goal is to prove you are not a typical teenager.  Wear clothing appropriate for the job or even nicer.  Always carry a portfolio with your resume and references.  Include several copies.  It would be very impressive if a manager came into your interview and you be able to hand them all your information.  It shows you’re prepared.  Convince the manager that your maturity and work-ethic far exceed your age.  Since you’re young the employer may be concerned about how often you can/will work.  Tell them you are driven by your passion for the work and to make money.  Believe it or not employers like to know you’re motivated by money.  After all, they are as well.  Say what your availability will be.  Convince them you will be a reliable employee.  If you live nearby, tell them that so they know it will be easy to make it into work.

6) Always Send Thank You Letters


People want to feel appreciated!  Employers LOVE the feeling too!  Don’t you?  It is one of the greatest emotions we can experience.  The thank you letter can either be hand-written or typed.  The biggest thing to know is you should never email or text a thank you letter.  A true thank you letter written on quality paper will get attention.

In the letter, you need to thank the person for their time in meeting with you.  It is also a good time to write about anything you forgot to mention in the interview.  If your aunt is a loyal customer, maybe mention that.  Name-dropping gets a person far in this world.

One summer I had two internships.  At one internship I saw my intern profile sort of on accident.  There was a hand signed note by an executive that said, ‘Very nice thank you letter following interview!’  At my other internship, I saw my thank you letter propped up near my manager’s awards in his office.  People like being thanked and quite frankly there is no excuse for not sending one to every person you met during the interview.  Even send one to the receptionist.

Why These Strategies Work

For creating these steps, I used my personal experience plus tips gathered from college sources about job hunting plus tips gathered from my school’s career services department plus a lot of searching the internet. I’m confident that if you deploy these strategies, you’ll get an awesome summer job. None of the above steps are extremely difficult. They merely take time and dedication. To make things easier, remember to only be applying for jobs which genuinely interest you. This way, the application process will actually be enjoyable. Each step you take will get you that much closer to snagging the job. And once you do, it’s a great feeling!

After implementing these 6 steps into your job search, the only problem I can’t help you with is deciding which job you will accept!  You may want to choose two! Then the money can pour in so fast you’ll be wondering what to do with it!