Find Your Summer Job

With summer just around the corner, students are beginning to prepare for their long-awaited break. A common issue for teens, though, is finding ways to occupy their time outside of school that don’t involve Netflix. Although it’s tempting to just sleep in and waste away the day, it’s a good idea to forgo the temptation.

It is also a smart idea for students to find a summer job, so they can reap the many benefits that come with being employed. Not only will summer employment look good on college and job applications, but teens will also learn how to problem-solve, work together, and manage their time, all of which will prove to be beneficial in the future. And, of course, there’s the bonus of getting a regular paycheck.

Many FCHS students have already taken this step, and are employed at various locations throughout the county including Dunkin Donuts, Dogwood Restaurant, El Vaquero, Blue 53, and even Mailbox Express. Sophomore Caroline Haislip worked at James River Reeling and Rafting last summer, where she confirmed dates for groups who wanted to float the river.

“By having this job, I learned important things, like how to get to work on time and how to manage my money. Not to mention, working on the James River all summer was a huge plus,” she said.

When looking for a job, it is of vital importance to keep an open mind since you can never be sure of who will be hiring. Plenty of FCHS students have found themselves employed at unexpected jobs, including myself. I was hired by Cunningham Creek Winery about eight months ago. I work within the winery maintaining the “wine club.” This involves managing hundreds of people, and their quarterly wine orders.

I’m also a cashier, and help in other areas when I’m needed. This job sparked my interest because of its close proximity to my house, and my previous relationship with the owners. Luckily, they chose me.

Sophomore McKenzie Wills is seeking a job this summer at Middlefork Farm, where she plans to offer a hand in the fields, facilitate with events, and occasionally help within the winery. “I like to work at the farm so I can meet the people of our community and get the experience I need for my future plans,” she said.

With the massive expansion at Zions Crossroads, many students have been able to find work in the new Taco Bell, Popeye’s, Wendy’s, and Lelo’s Pizza. Junior Mariah Tawney, who works at Taco Bell, said “I love my work because it is very convenient. It is so close to my house.”

So, if you are wondering how to spend your days this summer, consider joining the workforce. If you’d like the rewarding feeling of a hard day’s work, get out there and find your calling.

Before you begin this process, it is important to know what you will encounter. From creating a resume and filling out applications, to getting the initial interview and recommendations, getting a job isn’t always a walk in the park.

First, it is a smart idea to get recommendations from others, such as previous bosses and teachers. Your new employer may not know you, so this will give them more information about you, your work ethic, and your character. If you have positive recommendations, it will benefit you tremendously (something to keep in mind when you feel like slacking off in class).

When asking for a recommendation, always do it face-to-face, if at all possible, or at the very least, through a polite email or phone call. When you get the recommendation, it’s ideal to write the recommender a brief thank you note, especially if you get the job. They’ll be more likely to give you a stellar recommendation, as well as more likely to give you more recommendations in the future.

Next, carefully fill out the job application. Nothing is more likely to ensure you don’t even get a call back if your application is incomplete, messy, or has misspellings. It is also smart to attach an updated resume, which should highlight your skills, education, and any past volunteer or job experiences. If you’ve never written a resume and aren’t sure where to start, click here for some helpful tips and tricks.

Applications will often ask for your strengths and weaknesses. Honesty is of vital importance in this process, and not all applications are the same, but a great idea is to list a weakness that you can spin as a strength. For example, you might say a weakness is that you need to work harder at delegating, while noting that you want things to be done well and know that they will be if you do them yourself.

At the interview itself, it is important to make eye contact, answer questions asked of you fully, and ask questions of your own. You should have research about your potential employer’s business under your belt before applying, so you are appear knowledgeable an interested.

Last, be appreciative for the opportunity to interview for a job, no matter the outcome. Whether or not you end up with the job, it is a good idea to send a thank you letter or email to the person who interviewed you. “I once had a student who applied for a job, and out of the many people applying, he was the only one who wrote a thank you letter to the employer. Because of this, the employer told me, he got the job,” said Journalism teacher Elizabeth Pellicane.

Something as simple as a short thank you note could pay dividends for your future career.