Keep Your Summer Job All Year Round

Keep Your Summer Job All Year Round

By Kerry Knapp
Monster Contributing Writer

Remember that old commercial, “Orange juice isn’t just for breakfast anymore”? Well, summer jobs aren’t just for summer anymore, either!

As the economy continues to lose steam, summer jobs have become more important than ever. If you’re a high school or university student, every work experience is another step toward building your career.

That’s why it makes sense to get as much mileage out of your summer job as possible. And one great way of doing that is to make it last past Labour Day. After all, who says your job has to end when the leaves start to turn?

They did it, and so can you!

In the summer after she completed her B.A., my friend Jenny worked for a government-sponsored program teaching English to Quebec high-school students in Ontario. “It was a great summer job with lots of field trips and outdoor activities,” she told me. “But the best perk was being able to keep the same job the next year, when I started a Master’s program in Montreal. I just switched from a full-time summer position to part-time weekend work.”

Another friend, Lynn, found a summer job working at the YM/YWCA, where she helped out with aerobics classes and did odd jobs. Discovering her talent for organizing schedules and creating newsletters, her boss asked her to stay on part-time in the fall, a job she ended up keeping for the next three years.

Now it’s your turn!

Want to make your summer job last? Here are a few tips to start you out.

Hire yourself!
Create your own summer job by going into business for yourself. Paint houses, design websites or teach watercolours—it’s up to you. When you set your own hours, continuing to work during the school year becomes a cinch!

Put the odds in your corner!
If you’re not the entrepreneurial type, target jobs that are likely to last after the summer is over. Skip fairs and summer camps in favour of non-seasonal work like waiting tables, bookkeeping and selling cell phones.

Carpe those diems!
We all have the power to make things happen. Take a careful look at your summer workplace. What opportunities are waiting to be seized?

• Are any staff members planning to take parental leave, a sabbatical or an extended vacation?
• Do any upcoming absences coincide with your Christmas holidays or reading week?
• Is there a need for extra weekend or peak-period help?
• Does your employer need someone to teach Excel, provide tech support or manage the supply room, even if it’s only a few hours a week?
• Better yet, are there any exciting new projects you can convince your employer to take on which just happen to be ideally suited to your talents?

Once you’ve spotted the opportunities, figure out how long it would take to get the job done and how many hours you want to put in. Come up with a win-win solution that combines the two and present it to your employer!

Remember, it takes two to tango

Your employer will be more likely to keep you on if you keep these tips in mind:

• Work hard during the summer. Go the extra mile, stay late or come in early to finish a project, and take on tasks no one else wants to do.
• Get noticed. Have lunch or take breaks with regular workers, especially those with hiring authority. Introduce yourself to everyone.
• Try to get involved in a long-term project that will outlast the summer.
• Before the summer ends, speak up and ask if there are any part-time or occasional needs to be filled come September, or suggest a project of your own design.
• Stay in touch with former coworkers after the summer’s over. Stop by to see how things are doing, or do lunch. Alternatively, help out occasionally with small tasks free of charge. You never know when an opportunity is going to pop up, and maintaining a presence could pay big dividends.

So this year, make the most of what you’ve got, and don’t let your summer job fade faster than your summer tan. With Canadian summers as short as they are, that’s just too sad a prospect to consider!