Evidence of an improving economy and job market is helping college students land productive summer jobs just as it is helping full-time workers get back on their feet. However, there are some college students who came home for the summer expecting that summer job to land in their lap, and they have been disappointed. With most students returning to college in just a couple of months, who wants to hire a kid for 8 to 10 weeks? What’s the desperate college student to do?
As a college admissions coach, I heartily agree that college students need to show some initiative, direction and purpose to their summers off. As a parent, I think it is equally important that young adults are earning part of their keep, even if it is just spending money for the coming school year.
Here are 5 last-minute ways to get up off the couch and away from the computer to find a constructive summer occupation:
1. Work for your parents/friends
If your parents or friends own a business, you’re probably already working for them. It’s the smartest source of employment for you and your entrepreneurial parent and/or friends. Or, work for them around the house and yard in whatever creative ways you can gather. It is better to negotiate a low wage with your folks than not working at all! If they don’t own a business, then get out to where they do work and find out if you can be hired short term.
2. Be a 2-Month Entrepreneur
It’s summer, and everyone can use the help of a hearty, enthusiastic, healthy young adult in some way. Weeding gardens, cleaning pools, washing cars, making minor home repairs, painting, running errands, caring for children, transporting elders to doctor appointments, pet sitting or house sitting for vacationers, pressure-washing decks, are all small but necessary activities that eventually become demands, particularly to the suburban homeowner. Just get out there and knock on your neighbors’ doors to see where they need help. If you can cobble together a bunch of services where you can rightfully claim some ability, and you’ve got a small service business! You may have to do a few volunteer jobs, but with a bit of quality work and ingenuity, you can start to charge flat fees, hourly fees, or just ask for donations. Most people can appreciate helping out an ambitious college student.
3. Social Media Expert
Lots of small businesses and many middle-aged citizens want to be more social-media literate. If you know Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, or even Facebook, you have a skills that can benefit someone. Start with small businesses; they may not have much of a budget, but even if you don’t earn much in wages, they may be willing to barter your skills for their goods.
4. Make it an Internship
Nearly any job, if it shows skills exchange and learning, can qualify as a internship. Offer to work for internship credit instead of cash, and you’ll get hired! The DoSomething.org website has some good advice.
5. Volunteer for a Cause
OK, so volunteering doesn’t pay well, but reality is, if you can’t actually find a paying occupation, then you really need to express your purpose by giving of your time and talent. You can start anywhere: your city/village summer festival, your church, your local park district, your library, your forest preserve, your city or village. Or, head to the local nursing home and talk to the activities director. Believe me, there is work to be done!
The point of all this is that despite a tough economy or maybe a bit of procrastination on your part, there is still time to save the summer. Show your ambition. Get out there and do it!