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The Breeze – Cool Summer Job Tips For Students

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jun 22, 2010 in Career Path, Self Improvement

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No one wants their kids to grow up too quickly. We can never have time back from when we were younger, but let’s face it; our kids ARE growing up more quickly. They are more technologically savvy, they have larger vocabularies and many have traveled the world before they even leave high school breezing through a more connected world.

The generations that have wanted to make their kids lives easier have succeeded. But this is actually making job searches tougher for these young people as competition for entry level jobs has dramatically increased.

Consider these tips for high school and college students-

High school summer jobs introduce us to a hard day’s work. That’s how you make money- you go to work, do a good job, and they pay you. High school is a great time for fun summer jobs where extra help is needed like camp counselors, lifeguarding, babysitting, caddying, amusement park work, landscaping, pet sitting, waiting tables, or catering.

As the college students arrive home this summer, our inclination is to let them cool off and have a break from their studies and enjoy their “free” summers (before they have to work full time.) Unfortunately, they will be at a huge disadvantage if they haven’t had a college sponsored internship or some other position giving them the chance to try out professional work before they have to work full time.

It’s easy for college students to revisit their old high school summer jobs for some extra cash, but 3 or 4 summers later, those skills aren’t going to be the ones employers are seeking. Sure, they will have shown dependability by being on time and they’ll have learned to be individually accountable for their actions, but unless they have assumed responsibility for managing, scheduling, preparing correspondence for the company, and doing some basic bookkeeping or payroll using Microsoft office including word and excel, it’s possible the skills they’re building won’t be suitable for a professional entry level job after graduation. College students should have one or two internships under their belt or in the bag by their sophomore and junior years.

Many colleges have companies that solicit interns for formalized programs. Motorola, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Ebay, Microsoft and many other large corporations have formalized internship programs. If your student is interested in pursuing that type of work you can research the company websites and call human resources for information on the educational requirements for admission. These programs are very competitive but often yield job offers for participants.

Remember, over 80% of employers are small businesses. Ask the merchants you patronize as well as people you know personally if your student could interview for a 6 or 8 week assignment while they are home from college. Your local business journal or chamber of commerce are great resources to use when researching small businesses in your area.

Support your students by planning your summer vacations so they can work a meaningful 6 or 8 week program. Help them prepare their resume but show them how to research information to follow up on themselves and set up their own interviews. If they are juniors or seniors you could enlist a few sessions with an executive coach to help them hone their interview skills before sending them out to apply.

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The Canopy – Protecting the Saplings

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on May 12, 2009 in Career Path, Job Search, Lessons Learned, Thinking Positive

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Four Gifts For Grads:

1.    Even though you are smart and have accomplished completing your degree, you’re likely going to have to start at the bottom and work your way up just like any tree in a thick forest environment. All seeds start growing from within the earth and the more experience they have, the larger they grow until they are high above the rest getting the most light!  If you set your expectations that you will learn the business from the ground up, you’ll get where you want to go eventually, right above the canopy!

2.    If you’re thinking more education is the answer, think again!  Yes, there probably will be more jobs in a couple of years when you get your additional degree, but you still need some practical work experience to combine with your education in order to get ahead.  Starting at an entry level spot somewhere that has a tuition reimbursement program is often a better bet than pursuing another degree full time.  Learn while you grow in your experience. A tree needs to grow upwards before it can really spread its branches. You will never make it through the thick rooftop of the jungle if your “branches” are too wide to penetrate the leafy ceiling. Ultimately, you don’t want to have more education combined with a lack of practical work experience, now or later! 

3.    NETWORK!  80% of all jobs are obtained through networking.  Even in my office we are looking for an entry level/intern type person and only had 2 qualified responses!  The tallest trees that form the canopy of the forest help the smaller trees and shade them from rough winds and other inhospitable elements while they are still young and new. Ask your parents, their friends, and your friends parents for help.  Be patient, and keep your Facebook page looking professional, too!

4.    Fail to plan, plan to fail!  Create a plan based on solid market research and go after jobs at the companies where you want to work. Seek to meet people who already work there by volunteering at charity events their companies sponsor.  Those people can refer you internally as jobs open up.  Create some good solid roots that will support you and hold you steady as you grow. The better your foundation, and the more you network, the higher you will be able to grow in the job search jungle!

For more information on this topic visit:

Carolyn Thompson

Author of TEN EASY STEPS TO A PERFECT RESUME…available on!

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