During College: Now’s the Time for College Students to Search for Summer Jobs

Seventy percent of student summer jobs are filled before June. So prompt your student to start searching now!

The payoff can be substantial — work experience, a chance to apply classroom learning, a stronger resume, funds for college. At average summer wages, a student working June 1 through mid-August can bank over $3,300 by saving two-thirds of his gross earnings, and many summer positions pays above that average.

If your student doesn’t have a summer job, here are five steps for effectively seeking one. You can help with all of them.

  • Define Himself and His Best Fits: Start with a self-analysis. What can he bring an employer in terms of knowledge, skills, and volunteer or work experience? Then identify the characteristics of jobs in which he’s interested — type of work, location, hours, pay scale, etc. He may not get everything he wants, but this’ll help him get as close as he can.
  • Make Himself Presentable: Now’s the time for him to write his resume and IMG_0968cover letter, leaving them on his word processor for easy updating and tweaking if needed. And since most summer employers audit applicants’ social media, have him review his and delete anything that might be inappropriate.
  • Search . . . and Search More: You and your student should network by sharing his resume with adults you know. Ask about their employers — lines of business, work environments, whether they use students in summer? If a workplace sounds promising, request contact names and ask the adult to be a reference. And until he lands a position, your student should continue searching for job opportunities on internet job boards, search engines, and websites; in newspaper ads, etc.
  • Get Out There: Urge your student to apply online or send send his cover letter and resume to employers of interest before spring break if possible, then visit IMG_0969those employers in-person over spring break. Remind him to dress conservatively and review of notes on each employer for each visit. Whenever the opportunity arises, he should complete applications and participate in interviews. Help him prepare for interviews by developing answers to common questions and formulating his own inquiries.
  • Keep After It: Advise him to follow up on opportunities he likes with notes of thanks and, later, with calls expressing continued interest in those positions.

Whatever your student’s summer employment needs, the keys are to start early, be thorough, and remain persistent!

College Affordability Solutions offers practical advice on strategies for keeping college affordable. Call (512) 366-5354 or email collegeafford@gmail.com for no-cost consultations.

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During College: Spring Break, Not Spring Bankruptcy

Soon it’ll be spring break, an opportunity for fun, travel, and memories. Many college students consider it a right of passage, and many families want them to enjoy it.

But spring break can be expensive. College students spend well over $1 billion on it every year. But using government loans to pay for it will, even at today’s record low interest rates, cost at least $19.78 in interest for every $100 spent.

There’s still a lot of school left after spring break. So help your spring breaker be tough-minded and disciplined about spending decisions. For example:

  • Travel: The farther away the destination, the costlier the travel — especially img_5569if it involves high March air fares. For example, one major airline’s coach fares show a mid-March round trip Denver to Cancun (2,693 miles) costing $2,333 while its airfare from Denver to San Diego (1,078 miles) is $859.
  • Lodging: The more friends your student bunks with, the lower the cost for shelter, especially if they’re splitting the cost of a short-term rental house instead of hotel rooms.
  • Food and Beverages: Renters can prepare some of their own meals instead of eating out. And caution your student not leave an open tab anywhere. It’s also important to scrutinize meal and bar bills to avoid accidental or “moocher” charges.
  • Purchases: Clothing, swimsuits, footwear, etc. — urge your student to pack it, not buy it there at inflated prices. He or she should also take that student ID because it may generate some discounts.

More and more students are also saving by skipping those stereotypical beech and ski trips. Satisfying but much less expensive activities are out there. For example:

  • Your student can get some friends together for camping or an amusement park visit.
  • img_5570Volunteering can create lifelong memories while helping make the world a better place.
  • Spoil your student with his or her own comfortable bed and favorite meals while he or she comes home to enhance career prospects through job shadowing, searching out summer internships, or applying for post-graduation employment.

Spring break can be a great time — if your student can avoid overspending that generates a self-inflicted wound leading to a ramen noodle diet until finals end.

You can contact College Affordability Solutions at (512) 366-5354 or collegeafford@gmail.com.