The Summer Job Hiring Process
Because summer positions are temporary, the hiring process is often a bit different from what you'd find with most jobs. Understanding how this kind of hiring works can help you land the job you want, even though the summer job market is extremely competitive.
Quick Fact: Between 20% and 25% of companies hire additional workers for the summer, with the top industry for these temporary jobs being hospitality.
The key is this: don't get discouraged. Even if you're a great candidate, you might have to apply to several jobs before you get hired. Apply early and often, and do the best job possible so you're hired again next year.
Summer Hiring Timeline
If school has already ended and you're just now looking for a summer job, you are likely too late for the vast majority of season positions that are open. Employers hoping to hire additional workers for the summer months typically start the recruiting process and look at applications well before the summer begins. Some even begin looking in November or December of the year before! Almost all companies hiring for the for the summer post their openings by April or early May, and some even finish hiring by this point.
Summer positions typically begin in May or June, when the school year ends for students, though some start earlier. You can expect to work in this kind of seasonal position until late August, when school starts again. Workers in the agricultural industry may have a slightly different timeline, since your position's schedule will depend on the crops' needs.
Don't delay if you want a top position in whatever industry interests you. The best positions are extremely competitive and fill early!
Seasonal Application and Interview Tips
Since working in a summer position is only temporary, the hiring process is something that most employers handle a bit differently. While your experience is somewhat important, for most seasonal positions, it is much more important that you're a reliable, hard worker, since if you don't work out as an employee, the company might not be able to hire someone new for the rest of the summer.
Beyond that, hiring for summer jobs typically depends on the industry. Here are a few tips by field:
- Alaska Fishing Jobs: Alaskan boats employ anywhere from two to over 100 workers. If you're interesting in this type of career, consider first working as part of a larger ship, or even and onshore location, to learn the ropes. Typically, boats hire anywhere from three months to a week before they leave the docks.
- Summer Camp Jobs: Summer camps hiring workers usually post their positions one to three months before camp is set to start. Some hire late into the summer, however, since camps may only last a few weeks at the end of the season. This is an extremely temporary job, of course, but it could lead to a longer job next summer.
- Tutoring Jobs: Companies that offer tutoring services hire on a rolling basis, though they begin hiring additional summer workers around the time your local school districts begin offering summer school (one to two weeks after the typical school year ends).
- Lifeguard Jobs: Lifeguards need special training, which you should pursue well before the season begins. Most pools and beaches open (or at least open longer hours) when the school year ends, around the first of June, but you should begin applying for these opportunities in April or May.
- Hospitality/Tourism Jobs: Companies hiring in the tourism industry typically look for outgoing, "people person" workers who are good with families. They start hiring in the spring every year, in most cases.
- Retail and Food Service: These jobs are available on a rolling basis. Some hire additional summer workers, but many don't hire any more than they hire throughout the year. If you want a retail or food service position, apply early!
In addition, many companies offer internships during the summer months. For these positions, you'll typically apply around the same time your school has you sign up for summer classes, which is usually in March or April. The best summer internships open even earlier.
Transitioning to a Year-Round Job
What starts as a temporary position has the chance to turn into a full-time job if you play your cards right. Some employers don't have the work available to hire summer employees year-round, but others consider summer workers the top candidates for full-time positions they have available.
Quick Fact: Over half of all employers report that they would consider summer employees to fill permanent positions with their companies.
If a full-time position is your ultimate goal, simply be a good employee! No matter what kind of job you take, here are some general tips to impress your managers and co-workers:
- Show up to work on time every day. Not pulling into the parking lot as the clock strikers 9 AM, but actually being parked, punched in, and at your desk (or wherever you're supposed to be) by that time.
- Be a fast learner. The more people have to repeat themselves, the more frustrating you will be for them. Don't be afraid to write things down or ask others to write down the steps. They'll appreciate that you're trying to get things right without having to be shown a million times.
- Stay out of the office drama. No matter where you work, co-workers will speak badly of one another behind their backs. Just keep to yourself, rather than being vocally negative.
- Companies hire for the summer well before the summer begins.
- Most summer jobs last from late May/early June to late August/early September.
- Applying for a seasonal job is slightly different from applying for a permanent job. Specific differences depend on the industry.
- You can use your temporary position to get a year-round job with the company.