Money Talks, So Should You

How to get that summer job and make it count

If you’re looking for summer work, pay is up and jobs are plentiful. Here are some details on where to find and how to land a good one.

Kathryn Tuggle
by Kathryn Tuggle, Contributor (@KathrynLizbeth)

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Warmer weather and beach vacations aren’t the only reasons to get excited about summer this year.

If you’re seeking part-time employment, 19 percent of hiring managers plan to hire more summer workers this year than they did last year, and average hourly wages are up by 5 percent, to $11.50 from $10.90, according to online job marketplace Snagajob.

If you’re ready to jump into a summer job, some industries are hotter than others.

READ: What's more important - career opportunities or financial security?

We checked in with experts for some tips on landing your perfect position and how to determine where your summertime will be the best spent.

Where to find the job:

Some of the best industries to look for a job this summer include leisure, hospitality and retail, says Snagajob vice president of marketing Jason Hamilton.

“Job-seekers should concentrate their efforts on jobs related to summer tourism and family activities — amusement parks, ballparks, beaches, quick-service restaurants, ice cream stores, camps, malls, retail outlet centers and casual dining,” Hamilton says.

For the most part, jobs in the summer tourism industry tend to be “economy proof,” says Joe Weinlick, vice president of marketing for online career network Beyond.com. With that said, health care jobs also have an uptick in the summer months, including home health aides, pharmacy techs and personal trainers.

"People tend to take stock of their health more when the weather gets nicer, especially after a long winter,” Weinlick says.

For younger job-seekers who may be college students or college-bound, Nathan Parcells, co-founder of online job platform InternMatch, recommends looking in the industry in which you’re getting a degree.  

READ: 5 things grads can do to stand out and get a job

“Since more paid internships are being offered each year, students across all education levels and industries can now gain valuable hands-on experience while also being able to make money,” Parcells says.

Specifically for internships, there are always a number of communication, marketing, business and hospitality internships available during the summer semester, he adds.

For people seeking a job that could lead to more serious professional opportunities, Weinlick recommends checking with companies you admire to see if they’re in need of temporary hires.

“Even if they are in a slowdown from a hiring perspective, they might need to fill in for workers taking vacations,” Weinlick says. “That way you can get your foot in the door and prove your skills.”

Don't forget about sectors in need of employees during the summer months due to kids being out of school, says Chris Mader, director of corporate accounts for staffing and recruiting firm Randstad.

“Jobs that pay well include service industry jobs, such as retail and food. Child care also offers promising salaries. The good news is there is a wide range of jobs available depending on a candidate’s background and skill set.”

Other industries to check out include financial services, banking, IT and human resources, Mader says.

INFOGRAPHIC: Does money = happiness?

How to land the job:

“According to the feedback Snagajob received from hiring managers, there are three top traits they desire from summer hires: a positive attitude, the ability to work the schedule they need and previous experience,” Hamilton says. “If you’re friendly and upbeat, willing to work nights or weekends and show initiative, you’ll increase your odds of being hired over another candidate.”

Applicants should plan to be available as soon as possible. With hiring confidence high, employers are looking to staff their teams early, Hamilton says. According to Snagajob data, almost half of all summer hiring will be complete by the end of May, and 77 percent will be complete by Memorial Day.

No matter where you find a job, it’s important that you don’t treat it “like just another summer job,” says Tom Gimbel, president and CEO of LaSalle Network, a Chicago-based staffing firm.

 “Yes, your summer job may not be directly congruent with your long-term career goals; however, the contacts you meet now will prove valuable partners in the future. Treat every interview, every interaction with employers and every hour of your workday as you would a ‘real’ job,” Gimbel says.

If job-seekers are serious about gaining professional experience, they should plan to make themselves available as much as possible, even though summer jobs might not have the most desirable schedules, Mader says.

READ: Three financial habits to develop in your 20s

“This is particularly true for working in hospitals, where health care professionals are in higher demand due to the Affordable Care Act. Illnesses and ailments demand 24-hour attention and health care employers may request summer employees to work odd hours,” he explains.

If the position you’re applying for is without scheduling guidelines, it’s best to make yourself as flexible as possible, Parcells says.

“During the hiring process, ask your interviewer for more information regarding the schedule and make sure to adapt yours to meet the needs of the positions you’re interested in,” he says.

 

Kathryn Elizabeth Tuggle is a seasoned New York-based personal finance editor and writer who adores saving, investing and thrift store shopping. After getting her start writing about small businesses for the Inc. 500 at Inc. Magazine, Kathryn learned her way around the NYSE and NASDAQ while working at the The Financial Times. In 2007, Kathryn joined the Fox Business Network before its inception and was instrumental in launching the company's small business and personal finance sites. Obsessed with all things spending, saving and social media, you can find Kathryn tweeting her latest adventures with Dimespring at @KathrynLizbeth.