Students seeking summer employment should prepare to send out at least 50 resumes.
And, they should look for a summer job close to a future career choice, said Michael C. Brown, owner of BanyanBrown Solutions Inc., a Naples full-service staffing firm.
“Summer work, internships and entry-level positions typically pay significantly less than more senior or permanent positions, but young professionals should understand these types of jobs are an investment in their future,” he said.
“A summer job is a foot in the door, a way to explore a potential career, a networking opportunity and the means to gain familiarity with a specific profession.”
The summer job outlook appears better than last year, some analysts say. Twenty-seven percent of teens nationwide are expected to have a job in June, July and August, according to a recent report from the Northeastern University Center for Labor Market Studies in Boston.
It’s better — not by much — than the 25.6 percent teen employment rate last summer, the lowest on record since World War II. Compare that to 45 percent of U.S. teens with jobs in the summer of 2000.
Competition should be fierce especially for high school students. They’ll have to pit experience and maturity with recent college graduates and adults willing to take on work usually reserved for younger job seekers either due to personal job loss or to supplement their family incomes, said Joseph G. Hohmann, owner of Express Employment Professionals, in Naples, an international full service staffing and professional recruiting firm.
He said apply early and often and that increasing the number of jobs applied for will increase the odds of landing a summer job.
“Be prepared to explain why you should be hired,” Hohmann said. “There’s a lot of competition so be prepared to differentiate yourself. Also, consider other avenues such as volunteering with local nonprofits as a way to gain experience and to build a base of personal references.”
That’s exactly what Barron Collier High School student Sydney Samuelson, 17, did in landing her first job — an internship in the Naples office of the law firm Cummings & Lockwood.
“My job is giving me time to think about what I really want to do in my future. Right now, some friends of mine are still looking for jobs,” Samuelson said earlier this month.
Samuelson’s mother submitted her resume to BanyanBrown Solutions. Almost simultaneously, Brown received a call from the law firm, seeking a summer intern. The teen interviewed with the law firm’s office administrator, Olyvia Eldridge.
“Sydney’s resume stood out and earned her the position; it was precise and concise,” Eldridge said.
“Even though she had no practical work experience, she listed her charitable and volunteer work.”
Eldridge stressed that a resume should be polished and have no errors or misspellings because it’s the most important document for landing a job. If she sees mistakes, she said, it tells her that the applicant won’t be able to make the cut in the position.
Brown said that in addition to a clean resume, job seekers should dress sharp, be neatly groomed and should ask to speak to the manager personally rather than just filling out a faceless application.
He noted that, besides positions in hospitality, health care, financial services, insurance and legal fields, young job seekers should identify and capitalize on local markets.
“For example, manufacturers need qualified engineers, so a summer position may lead to a summer job that could possibly lead to a high-wage career as a skilled manufacturing engineer that will be in high demand for the foreseeable future,” Brown explained.
Brown said don’t let the market determine your fate. Even in declining employment fields, career decisions should be left intact. If you are willing to start at a lower pay rate to show your abilities, you will open doors to future, higher-paying positions.
He further explained that applying to 50 potential jobs is normal and that all leads should be pursued without waiting for the first to reply.
Applicants should talk with professionals who are involved in their ideal career choice — such as career counselors and education professionals — to gain industry contacts and direction.
Resumes, he said, should be specific and detailed. Highlight relevant information to the position and omit irrelevant information. Cover letters must be tailored to the specific requirements of the company.
Brown also said to follow up submissions with a phone call to ensure receipt, to answer questions and to indicate availability to the hiring party and make sure they know you are interested.