Many students use their summer breaks to gain work experience. Whether you’re 16 and old enough to get a “regular” job or if you’re under 16 and just looking for experience to put on your resume and applications when it comes time to try to find a job, summer offers you the flexibility in your schedule to get that work experience, and make a few bucks while you’re at it.
If you would like to gain work experience over the summer, here are some options:
If you watch or listen to The QC STEP Podcast, you know that I always encourage students to do volunteer work. Volunteer work can help you in many ways.
- Volunteer work gives you something productive to do with your free time.
- Volunteer work gives you the opportunity to build your work skills and learn tasks that will make you more employable.
- Volunteer work gives you the opportunity to network and make connections with people that might be able to help you find a job when you’re ready.
- Volunteer work gives you the opportunity to make a positive difference in your community.
- Potential future employers will see this volunteer experience and be impressed that you were willing to work for free to give back to your community.
If you are in our STEP Program, I’d suggest checking with the Davenport Volunteer Connection for volunteering opportunities.
If you’re under 16 years old, you’re probably thinking you need to wait to find your first “real” job. Well, you can earn a paycheck if you’re as young as 14 by detasseling. Here are some ways that detasseling can be beneficial for your short-term and long-term employment.
- Detasseling corn is HARD work. If you really want to impress potential future employers, detassel for a summer.
- Detasseling corn pays well. You will have a hard time finding a part-time summer job that pays better than detasseling. There’s usually bonuses for not missing days and finishing the season, too.
- Like all employment, this is a great way to network. Detasseling supervisors typically have other employment and if you can impress them, they may be able to help you find a job.
- Did I mention? The pay is GREAT!
Detasseling is a great summer job. It’s typically a pretty short “season”, maybe about four weeks long. I mentioned there’s usually bonuses for finishing the season. There’s also typically bonuses returning the next summer. After a few summers, you can also move into positions of leadership, which is also great for your resume.
If you’re not sure what detasseling is, watch this video.
Lawn care is a job that a teenager can do if you’re too young for a “regular” job or if even if you are working. If you have neighbors, you probably have someone near you that would be willing to pay you to mow and trim their lawn. Elderly people and working people with busy schedules would be the place to start if you plan to sell your lawn care services.
- Lawn care allows you to set your own hours. If you have other commitments, lawn care is a great summer job because you can work it into your schedule.
- By doing lawn care, you can be your own boss. Lawn care will help you develop your time management and task management skills. It will also help you develop customer service skills. I’m guessing there are lots of successful entrepreneurs that started their career paths by being their own bosses through things like lawn care.
Lawn care isn’t just limited to mowing lawns, though. It could mean cleaning gutters, organizing garages and yard construction projects.
If lawn care and outside work aren’t your thing, there’s another kind of beginner entrepreneurship – babysitting. Babysitting can offer the same things as lawn care, but also:
- Through babysitting, you can develop some great employment skills such as: responsibility, working under pressure, time management, etc.
- If you choose to babysit, you can start small and grow your business by doing a good job and having people refer you to their friends.
- Babysitting can be fun. Sure, there are responsibilities and work to be done, but you can get paid to read to kids, play outside with kids and maybe even play video games with kids.
These are just four opportunities to gain work experience (and money) over the summer. It’s tempting to sit around in the air-conditioning and play video games all day, but you can help shape your career path in a positive way by gaining work experience over the summer.