Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Marketing Your Summer Job

Hi everyone! I hope you all liked the College Road Trip Series from last week. I would appreciate any feedback about it or about future blog posts that you would like to see, so please contact me through the options on my Contact Page or comment below!

Because we are ripe in the middle of Summer and you are most likely counting down the days that you have left in your summer job at the office, factory, or at that sleep-away camp, I wanted to talk with you all about how you can market your summer job for jobs on campus or even for applying to your first 'adult job.'

In 2014, Forbes released a list of ten attributes/skills that employers believe make a college graduate a successful job candidate. Here is the synopsis
  1. Team Work
  2. Decision-making and problem solving
  3. Ability to communicate with people in and out of the organization
  4. Information processing and synthesizing
  5. Ability to analyze data (quantitative and qualitative) 
  6. Specific knowledge related to the position
  7. Understanding of computer software programs
  8. Written communication skills for writing reports
  9. Ability to sell and influence others (Customer Service)
  10. Organization and planning 
You may have read that list and thought to yourself ... 'ummm no, I did not analyze data nor did I use any software this summer.' Which could be true, but you can try really hard to make the valuable experiences you did get from your job this summer fit into those criteria. Let's try!

1. Any job nowadays requires you to work cooperatively with other employees. You can highlight this in a number of ways on your resume! Did you have to work on the same project as someone and divide the responsibilities. While you were life-guarding, was there another lifeguard too who you depending on to watch the shallow end? There are so may examples of team work in your summer job, so make sure you highlight that when you talk about your experience!

2. and 9. These too are pretty similar in that they both deal with customer service and how you are interacting with your constituents (swimmers, shoppers, followers ... etc.) At any point if you had to track someone or something down to make someone's experience better, that is quick decision making and problem solving. Your experience should be written within your resume so that future employers can see how you handle issues that can arise while on the job. If there was an especially defining moment within your summer job where you pulled more than your fair-share, I would highlight that as a great growing opportunity in your Cover Letter!

3. Employers want to know that you are able to talk with your colleagues and talk with customers or other people outside of your job efficiently.  This goes along well with Number 1, but it also works if you've ever done fundraising, had to contact fellow employees in another office, or worked with visitors. If you've ever needed to act professionally among other people, this is where you apply that knowledge. **Also, if you've ever had to present a research poster, this could be applied to this attribute as well!

4. and 5. Processing data isn't always being an accountant or working with a budget. It could be deciding how many tour groups need to go out or even managing the time of the kids in your cabin at Summer Camp. All they want for your experience is that you've looked at data, read it, understood, and then used that to come to a specific conclusion that helps the group you are working for.

6. and 7. So these two may be a little bit more difficult to apply if you were a Camp Counselor and you are applying for a research position, but see if you can find someway to apply it. Did you have to survey all of your campers about the food, activities, or their overall experience and then report it back to your director? That's a great way to show knowledge related to the position. If you are applying to a position in business or education, you can usually use your customer service experience as that specific knowledge. **If you aren't getting anything remotely close to specific knowledge, you may want to ask your director for an extra project or something to better help you grow your experience and resume! Something to also remember, as long as you show that you are flexible and willing to learn, that can replace the knowledge of a specific software system since most companies use different systems!

8. Written communication can be applied from almost any position. Did you write e-mails? Did you write reports? Did you write notes to your students or their parents? Did you proofread manuals for your boss? You would be surprised how much written communication is used consistently throughout any job, just think back on your days at work and locate that experience!

10. Finally, organization is something you need in every job, whether you are hauling lumber into the back of a truck or teaching small children the ABC's. You need to be able to coordinate and keep your thoughts and actions together.  How this could work in your summer job is as simple as organizing the tasks that you needed to do during the day, scheduling appointments, categorizing moving materials, or scheduling when you are going to clean or see different customers. There is organization in everything you do, so think real hard and add that to your resume!!!

So, it may take some highly intense thinking on what you've accomplished so far, but you should be able to find specific experiences throughout your summer job that can apply directly to those ten items Forbes lists in their article. Make sure though that you are making your summer job exactly what it needs to be for you so that you can grow from it in the future!!

enjoy the chase,

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