Stop the Christmas Movie Marathon: Why You Should Start Hunting for that Summer Job Now

Ah, Christmas Break—time to sit back, relax and… start job-hunting for the summer.

While it might feel excessive to start searching, applying, and fixing up your resume (ideally not in that order) four months early, it’s really not. Before we know it, winter semester becomes a whirlwind of assignments and papers, and job-hunting gets put on the back burner. According to the Canadian Education Project, 57.2% of people start looking for summer work in April or later, while only 6.8% started looking in January or before. Ergo, early applications mean less competition and more job options. No brainer.

Last year, I got on the ball early and spent an hour or two each day of Christmas break browsing job sites. By the end of March, I had my pick between two very appealing job offers—which was a lot more preferable than the mid-April scramble I’ve been subject to in years prior.

Why now?

Many summer student positions, especially government jobs and those killer internships we’re all looking to get our hands on close between January and the end of March. Jobs with full time hours and higher pay often hire early, leaving the high-turnover, part-time jobs for those who wait. Over 30% of students worked fewer than 20 hours a week in 2009, with only 34% scoring 40 hours or more. Spending a few days scouring the job sites over Christmas break (the one time of year that you actually have a second to spare) will ensure that you don’t miss the boat on some of the best student jobs out there. Write down application deadlines on your phone’s calendar so that you won’t forget to get your resume in before the application closing date.

Where to Look

Seriously, there’s some mindbendingly awesome student jobs out there; it’s just a matter of knowing where to hunt for them. Try looking at job search sites that are geared towards students, such as: JobPostings, which have listings in pretty much every industry imaginable. Employers that are looking to hire students are often looking for us in the places we already are. Liking companies that you’re interesting in working for on Facebook can give great insight into the qualifications they are looking for and is often the first place jobs get posted, before the job boards. Plus, you get a look into the culture of the company by what they post and share.

I’ve scored more than one gig from postings on Twitter and Facebook.

If you haven’t made a LinkedIn account, or you made it a few years ago and log in every six months, it’s time to spruce that baby up and get connected. Joining groups on LinkedIn are a good place to start making connections. Start with adding your university or college and any extracurricular groups you’re involved in (oh, and don’t forget to follow SLN while you’re at it!). LinkedIn is a good place to find jobs that will transition you from that retail work experience to a career in your field.

Since your internet-scouring skills are in tip-top shape from spending the last month procrastinating studying for finals, try redirecting your newly sharpened skills toward your job hunt. Some awesome job sites for students looking to gain experience in specific fields include:

Another option that is often under-utilized is the career services at your school. Universities and colleges offer help with your resume, host career fairs, and can give you the inside scoop on how to make the most of that programs we’re all pouring our blood and tears into. Most of the time these services are available to recent grads as well, so while we you might feel ready to kiss your school goodbye forever when you graduate, stay connected after they hand you that sweet, sweet piece of paper in your cap and gown.

ED. Note: Did you land a summer job another way that wasn’t at mom or dad’s workplace? Let fellow SLNers know down below.

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.
Hilary Hoogsteen

Hilary Hoogsteen

Hilary Hoogsteen is a third year environmental studies student at Simon Fraser University. She takes full advantage of BC's natural playground, spending those dreaded winter months on her snowboard and the summer on the beach.