Ok, so you’ve finished one whole year of college. Now you’re probably wondering: what’s next? You have four months of summer to kill and I'm sure you don’t want to spend it lying on your parent’s couch staring at the ceiling. That being said, with only one year of college under your belt, you likely don’t have the most extensive resume in existence. Fear not! Here are some great tips on how to find a killer summer job out of your freshman year.
1. Check your university classifieds (repeatedly)
Employers posting on your university classifieds page are specifically looking for students to fill open positions. Thus, they will not only understand, but expect that you don’t have a super extensive resume. Your first step should be to apply to jobs on these classifieds pages. And in my experience, you will have much more luck getting an interview when you apply to a job from a university classifieds page as opposed to a public page such as Craigslist.
2. Expand your network on LinkedIn
Networking is key. You will be told this throughout your life, but it’s especially helpful to make these connections early. And with LinkedIn, it’s incredibly easy. For example, if you know you’re interested in a particular industry or company, you can generate a search that narrows down your results and only shows you people that currently work in that industry/for that company. From there, simply check out a few profiles and start “connecting.” You’d be surprised how many people will accept your request to “connect” - it doesn’t matter if you know them personally or not. From there, send out a few messages to your new contacts asking them for advice. For example, you could ask how they got to where they are today, or what sort of college program and work experience they recommend. It’s a great start and it develops a relationship that could come in handy when applying for a job later on.
3. Find a typical “student job”
There are tons of jobs out there that don’t require any work experience - think camp counselor, painter, or cashier. Sure, the money isn’t going to be the best, but it will allow you to earn an income and do something productive with your summer.
4. Brush up on your interview skills
As a freshman, I imagine you haven’t been subject to very many interviews in your life. Interviews can be quite nerve-wracking, so it’s always a good idea to brush up on your interview skills beforehand. Think up some possible interview questions and practice your answers out loud. At the very least, you should be prepared to answer the following classics: “Why do you want to work for x company?” And “Why should we hire you?”. In addition, remember to look the part. If you don’t have any interview-appropriate clothing, I would suggest borrowing some from a friend or buying some black dress pants and a dress shirt or blouse.
5. Know how to sell your existing skills
This relates to confidence! Just because you’re a freshman, does not mean you are not qualified. In fact, a lot of the experiences you’ve had including completing one year of university, joining a university club or sports team, or any prior work or volunteer experience are all valuable assets. For example, you can easily state that you’ve learned time management, organization, research, writing, and teamwork skills just from being in a university course. In terms of joining a sports team or club, you can spin that to say you’ve acquired teamwork and responsibility skills, and perhaps even leadership skills if you were a captain or executive member of the team or club. Finally, you can easily relate volunteer or work experience, as in either of these positions, you will have likely learned the skills mentioned above, in addition to getting a feel for a real day-to-day work environment. In essence, market yourself!