Finding a Summer Job

Finding a Summer Job

Finding a summer job is a 'right of passage' for most young people across the country. We've compiled an easy to use QuickLearn Guide - 10 Steps to Finding a Summer Job to help you in your search!



Step 1: Think About Your Summer Job Options

Step 2: Identify Your Skills & Accomplishments

Step 3: Create a Winning Résumé

Step 4: Write Dynamic Cover Letters

Step 5: Prepare Your References

Step 6: Be Ready to Complete a Job Application

Step 7: Get Ready For the Interview

Step 8: Send a Polite Thank You Note

Step 9: Network Using Social Media

Step 10: Start Looking for Work!












9781896324449QuickLearn Guide - Finding a Summer Job

This QuickLearn Guide is also available in an 8.5 x 11, 4-page, laminated document that can be used in classrooms, worshops and independent study. They are also great to display on the wall. They contain all the information in a simple, easy-to-use resource. To order a hard copy of this QuickLearn Guide click here.






10 Steps to Finding a Summer Job

So it’s time to find a summer job? Well you’ve come to the right place! Getting a summer job is a rite of passage in Canada for most youth as early work experience can prepare you for future employment.

Great reasons to get a summer job!

• to earn spending money;
• to assist in financing your education;
• to gain valuable workplace skills and attitudes
• to get hands-on experience in different work settings;
• to build a network of contacts for future employment; and
• to add an impressive résumé for future job searches

Start your summer job search now!


Step 1: Think About Your Summer Job Options

For many students, their first experience working will be at a summer job. Unfortunately, having little or no formal work experience under your belt can result in a very challenging search. How do you land a job if your work history is limited? Luckily for you there are many other skills you can offer a potential employer. You are hard-working, eager to learn, and have lots of enthusiasm! That has to account for something, right? Well it does. Many employers look for these traits when hiring summer students.

Types of Jobs Available

There are several main industries where young people with little or no formal work experience can find summer employment:

• Attractions – amusement parks, water slides, outdoor music and performance venues, local tourist attractions
• Business – sales rep, marketing rep, telemarketing
• Entertainment – disc jockey, dancer, actor or actress, announcer
• General Labour – construction worker, warehouse worker, gardener/landscaper, pool maintenance, cleaner, painter
• Hospitality – hotel worker, restaurant worker, tour guide, casino worker, valet parking, ice cream and summer food vendor, reservations clerk
• Office – administrative assistant, receptionist, clerk
• Other – tutoring, volunteering
• Helping – childcare, babysitter, dog walker, elderly assistant and home visitor, hospital and nursing home helper, veterinary assistant, charity fund canvasser
• Retail – grocery clerk, sales associate, cashier, movie theatre usher, secret shopper
• Recreation – camp counsellor, special event worker, pool attendant, swimming instructor, lifeguard, gymnastics teacher, golf course and driving range helper


Step 2: Identify Your Skills & Accomplishments

The second step is to assess the skills you have and identify what you can offer in today’s job market. Take the time to answer the following questions. Write down your replies to help you express your thoughts. Be honest and keep focused on what you want.

• What things am I most interested in?
• What do I like to spend my time doing?
• What topics would I be the most interested in learning more about?
• What are some of my weaknesses?
• What types of jobs could I see myself doing and enjoying?
• What are the specific duties related to those jobs that I would enjoy?
• What abilities do I have that would make me good at those jobs?
• What strengths or knowledge do I need to work on to succeed at those jobs?
• How can I go about developing the required skill sets?
• Are the types of work that interest me in demand now, or will they be soon?

If you answer these questions truthfully and accurately, you are on your way to finding that right summer job! Now you can spend a little bit of time to do some research on occupations that relate to your strengths, and let your interests guide you. You’ll be happier if you find a job you’ll enjoy doing.


Step 3: Create a Winning Résumé

A résumé is a necessary part of applying for a summer job. Along with an accompanying cover letter it will provide an employer with a concise glimpse of who you are and what you can bring to their organization. Every résumé is a marketing piece that should be tailored to each specific job and do exactly what you want it to do – which is to get you a job interview!

Potential employers will quickly skim your résumé for about 20 seconds. Electronic scanning equipment, if used, will do it in a fraction of that time. Only if your résumé makes a strong first impression will the reader decide to go through it entirely. It is extremely important for you to clearly indicate what you are looking for and what you have to offer. The objective is to convince the employer that they should contact you for an interview, which is where you get to shine.

What to Include in Your Résumé

Every résumé should include the following:

Heading – written out at the top of the page, it should include your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address. This is how the employer will contact you for an interview, so it is important that this information be up-to-date.

Job Objective – best used at the beginning of your résumé if you know what position you are interested in. The goal of a job objective is to tell the employer what you want to do and what you are looking for within their organization. Make sure that you keep it clear and precise (ideally should be no more than a dozen words). Remember that if you do decide to use a job objective, tailor it specifically for each job you are applying for.

Summary of Qualifications – may be used instead of a job objective if you are interested in applying for a range of positions. If you choose to go this route, it should appear at the beginning of your résumé after the Header. Your summary of qualifications should generally be two or three sentences in length, and used to highlight your skills or achievements that are relevant to the potential job.

Related Work Experience – ultimately the most important part of your résumé, it shows the employer that you have the skills and experience they need. If you have little or no formal work experience, then include volunteer work, co-op placements or school projects and activities.

Education – list all secondary and post-secondary schools you have attended, in reverse chronological order. Make sure you list the dates when you finished attending each school. State your major and list any courses that might be particularly relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Résumé Accessories – can add to, and make your résumé stand out by adding a few extras such as awards and honours, or hobbies, memberships in relevant clubs or groups, and other interests. It shows the employer a little bit about your personality. However try not to go overboard. You don’t want this section to take away from your work experience and education.


Step 4: Write Dynamic Cover Letters

Every time you submit your résumé to a potential employer you should try to send a cover letter with it. The cover letter introduces you to the employer. It also allows you to emphasize the relevant skills and qualifications that you possess, to show that you would make an excellent candidate for the position.

A cover letter has two important purposes; to get the potential employer to read your résumé, and, in combination with your résumé, get them interested enough to schedule an interview with you. It is very important to indicate, through your cover letter, why this company should hire you over the other potential candidates.

It is not the place to reiterate every point already stated on your résumé. You have to entice the employer to want to read your résumé. Your cover letter should not be longer than four paragraphs, and the letter itself should be no longer than one page.

What to Include in Your Cover Letter

Heading – should include your contact information, the employer’s name and address, and the date.

Introduction – always begin your letter with a greeting (e.g. Dear Mr./Ms. Smith). Do your best to find out the person’s name and correct title. In the first paragraph, indicate the specific position you are applying for. If you are responding to a job ad let them know how you heard about the opening (e.g. career board, newspaper, etc.). Be sure to tell the employer why you are interested in working for their organization and what you can bring to the position/industry.

Body – should generally be one or two paragraphs in length. This section is where you are given the opportunity to sell yourself to the employer. Explain why you are the best candidate for the job. It is wise to emphasize your assets according to the key qualifications that the employer has listed in the job description. This is a great place to show how your skills from previous experiences are relevant to this position. Also, you can use this section to demonstrate your knowledge of the industry and of their organization. Do not give too much of your résumé away.

Closing – this is the best place for you to clearly state what happens next (when you will contact the employer to set up an interview, or that you look forward to hearing from them on the status of your application). It is also very important to thank the employer for taking the time to review your application. Lastly, it is professional to end the letter using the phrase “Sincerely” and printing your name beneath your signature.

Step 5: Prepare Your References

Most employers will require at least two to three references – people who can vouch for you. If possible, at least one of them should be a previous work supervisor. Others may be a teacher, colleague or personal reference. It is not generally recommended to list family members unless you really need to, or if they have experience (or clout) in the field you are applying to.

In any case, make sure you get permission from each of your references to use their names - well before a potential employer may be contacting them. It is wise to remind previous supervisors about the length of time you worked with them and a bit about your job responsibilities so they are able to give you an accurate reference. For other references, quickly review what they might say about you and make a few suggestions about skills or achievements you’d like to have mentioned, if they’re willing to.

Hold on to your reference page until asked for it by a potential employer. When writing down each reference, remember to include their full name, title, company name, address, and phone number. Make sure your references are listed on a page separate from your résumé.

When leaving an employer, it is advisable to ask them for a reference letter, as there is no guarantee that your previous supervisor will still be there when you need a reference. It is also a good idea to keep in touch with previous supervisors and colleagues for networking purposes throughout your career. Remember to thank your references for their assistance and keep them updated on how your job search is going.

Step 6: Be Ready to Complete a Job Application

When applying for certain jobs, such as summer camps, an application form is required instead of (or accompanied by) a résumé. Larger organizations will often ask you to complete a standard form, either online and/or in hardcopy format. The form itself is usually very straightforward, but here are a few tips to help you complete it properly:

• Follow directions carefully. If it says "PRINT" then print.

• Take your time and think about what you want to write.

• Ensure that you are answering the specific question asked of you.

• Complete each section in full sentences unless you are asked to do otherwise.

• Never leave a section blank unless it does not apply to you. If a question or section doesn't apply to you put "N/A" in the space. (N/A means "Not Applicable").

• Carry a copy of your résumé with you when completing the form so you can pull information right from the source.

• You might be required to provide the company’s name(s), supervisor’s name(s), phone number(s), and address(es) of previous employers, so have that information handy.

• Consider asking for two copies. Fill one out in pencil first and then submit your final copy in ink. Keep the first copy for your own records.

Step 7: Get Ready for the Interview

The job interview is usually the deciding factor in whether or not you are hired. It is essential to be well prepared, to ask relevant questions, and be confident in yourself. Since you already feel you’re the best person for the job it’s your turn to prove it to the employer!

Always be on time. Plan to arrive at least 5-10 minutes prior to the interview. This will tell the employer you are professional and reliable. It will also give you a few extra minutes to finalize your preparations and calm down before the interview. If you know you are going to be late for any reason, it is imperative that you call the employer and let them know; otherwise you will look irresponsible.

Know where you are going. If you are not familiar with the area that your interview will take place, it is usually a good idea to take a trip there the day before so you will be able to plan your route accordingly. This will help you to judge how long the travel time is, and if you are driving, locate available parking. Using tools such as MapQuest at ( or Google Maps ( is a great way to get directions by inputting the exact address.

Eat and be well-rested. These two things are very important in helping you look and feel your best for the big day.

Dress appropriately. Most employers will take note of your appearance at the interview, so it is vital that you dress professionally (no jeans or running shoes unless specified, and limit your makeup and use of perfume/cologne unless needed for the position).

Bring a spare copy of your résumé, cover letter and references page. The employer may not have these with them and may want to make notes right on the pages.

You don’t just want to show up and do okay at the interview – you want to blow their socks off so they’ll hire you! Being prepared will show them that you are not only are you well qualified and credible, but also that you are the best person for the job.

Remember your objective is to be able to describe your skills and achievements in relation to the position you are applying for. In order to accomplish this, you must know as much as you can about the position, the company, and yourself.

Step 8: Send a Polite Thank You Note

A thank you letter or e-mail lets the interviewer know you appreciated them taking the time to meet with you. It also gives you an opportunity to remind them of points you made (or add the ones you forgot to make) during your interview. As well it reinforces your written communication skills.

Here are some important things to remember when preparing your thank you letter:

• Thank the person for the opportunity to interview with the company.

• Recap some of the conversational highlights.

• Plug your skills. Use the last paragraph as a chance to state, "I believe I would be an asset to your company because of XYZ."

Interviewers in most cases have met with a number of other job applicants. A thank you e-mail is your final chance to stand apart from others who are seeking the same position. It is always a good idea to send a thank you note within two business days of your interview. A lot of people don’t bother with this step so who knows – this could just land you the job!

Step 9: Network Using Social Media

Social media comprises networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+. The simple fact is that more than 50% of companies now have an online presence on social media. If companies are there – so should you!

There are good and bad aspects to this! You probably already have a Facebook page, and possibly if a search of your name is entered on Google you will find other websites that may reference you (e.g. a blog where you may have posted). It is important to ensure any pictures or information referencing you online presents you in the best possible light. Many employers will search candidates on LinkedIn or Facebook. If there is something that you don’t want your mother to see, chances are you don’t want an employer to see it either!

Make sure that your online presence is positive. Delete any negative rants or raves on your pages and ensure to remove any tags on pictures, not just on your page, but through friends that may have tagged you as well. Ensure that there are no typos in the content on your social media sites as well. Employers love attention to detail!

While using social media presents some added ‘work’ on your part to ensure  appropriate content is visible to employers, it also provides huge advantages for you to ‘brand yourself’ in the most favorable light. Use social media to back up claims made on your resume with links to volunteer, activities and hobbies you’re involved in. Your personality will shine through to employers!

Step 10: Start Looking for Work!

You’ve come a long way! Your resume and cover letter are prepared, you have insight into job interviewing and networking with social media. Now you need to learn where to find work! Jobs can be found from two main sources – advertised jobs and non-advertised jobs. More than  80% of work is found in the hidden job market, which is comprised of non-advertised jobs.

Social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ provide a great starting point for non-advertised jobs. Why not look at a company’s Facebook page? Some companies post videos on YouTube. Search for employer information through Google, or check out an industry blog. Make sure to look at The Directory of Careers & Employment in Canada. You can find it at most employment centres and libraries. If they don’t have it, ask for them to get it! You will find a wealth of hidden job market information in this resource.

Remember that searching for a summer job takes time and effort. Start your job search early and don’t be shy about letting everyone you know that you are looking. Be specific about the kinds of jobs you’d like to do. It may get discouraging at times, but eventually your hard work will pay off!

Good Luck!

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