Get to work

Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 1, 2007 at 12:46 a.m.

In the upcoming summer months, don't be surprised if monotonous days of sunbathing cause your enthusiasm to fade well before your tan does.

But don't worry. This summer, you can fight ennui, while making some money and gaining invaluable experience at the same time.

What better time to enter the “real world” of work than summer vacation?

We’ve asked some experts and drawn from our own experience to put together a package of tips and hints for summer job-seekers, from acing the interview to searching the Web for jobs. Now, get to work!

First, do your homework

1. What are your interests?

All your friends may be lifeguarding this summer, but if the thought of working outside in the heat and sun for three months makes your skin burn on the spot, don’t apply there. Try to consider your interests and environment when taking a job. If you think you want to work in business when you grow up, for example, try to get a job in an office building where you can talk to the employees in elevators and in the hallways.

"Teens need to clarify what they hope to achieve from a summer job," said Nadene Francis, with the University of Florida Career Resources Center. "Do they want to pass time? Financial compensation? Career advancement?"

Francis recommends considering curriculum from school that interests you, then expanding on that with real world application. The phone book and internet provide phenomenal opportunities to find jobs relevant to your interests.

"When teens pursue summer jobs like that, the benefits are twofold," Francis said. "It's helpful to the community and it's helpful to the teen."

2. When can you work?

"Realize that work is not a game," Francis said.

So if you have school or extracurricular commitments over the summer, really consider how much time you’d be able to work. Will you be going to cheerleading camp for a week in July, with practices every morning leading up to it? Then a job with flexible scheduling, like some retail ones, might be for you. Do you need to baby-sit your siblings five days a week until your parents come home from work? Then a night job like delivering pizza might be best.

Write down a sample budget of your time — hour by hour every day, if need be — before you start your job search.

For more on this story, see tomorrow's Daybreak section

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