Q&A: How to land a summer job

May 25. Finding part-time, seasonal or temporary work can be challenging for students—even in a tight labor market. That said, people can find summer jobs in industries that are returning to full capacity, like dining, entertainment and tourism.

Some employers are also desperate to hire, which gives applicants leverage to get better compensation.

By the way, a new WalletHub survey says Charlotte ranks 111 out of 182 in terms of Best Places for Summer Jobs. To read the full report, click here.

—Here’s a WalletHub Q&A with Maura J. Mills, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Management at The University of Alabama, on how to land a summer job.

Maura Mills

What tips do you have for a young person searching for a summer job/internship during the pandemic?

Mills: Applicants shouldn’t be afraid to ask companies how they handled the pandemic. The answer to that question has the potential to offer important insight into the corporate culture, leaders’ principles, and who and what they value most.

What types of summer jobs/internships will best equip young people with the skills and experience they need to secure a full-time career after graduation?

Mills: Ultimately, even if a particular role is slightly outside of the applicant’s ideal niche, I recommend that applicants target jobs and internships that offer generalizable skills and takeaways that are easily transferable into whatever role or job they undertake next.

What are the most common mistakes young people make when taking a summer job/internship?

Mills: A common mistake is to treat the internship as a short-term role with fleeting impact, rather than as an important networking opportunity and a valuable in-road to their intended industry.

In evaluating the best cities for summer jobs, what are the top five indicators?

Mills: Networking opportunities, availability of entry-level jobs in one’s industry, affordability, public transportation (availability, access, cost, reliability), and personal location preference (e.g., close to family) are all critical in evaluating the best cities for summer jobs. Remember that it’s a possibility that you’ll be offered a permanent role in the same city as your internship, so be sure you like the area. Keep an open mind, of course, and try new things – but don’t go somewhere you know you don’t want to be.

Will a faster rollout of the vaccine help the rebound of the labor market, thus the summer employment?

Mills: There are several ways in which a faster roll-out of the vaccine to currently ineligible populations (under 5s) could help rebound the labor market. This includes getting more mothers – many of whom were forced out of the workforce during the pandemic – back to work. That, in turn, creates more job opportunities for younger employees, including childcare roles and nanny position openings while parents work.


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