Hartley Brody

3 Tips to Snag a Last Minute Summer Job

Hartley BrodyAs the snow melts and the grass start to show again on college campuses across the country, a lot of students are sent scrambling to find plans for the fast-approaching summer break period. Suddenly coming to terms with the potential of yet another summer sitting at home can be both both terrifying and motivating.

But by now, it seems like most of the best opportunities have already been snatched up. It might seem like you have no options. How are you ever going to get your parents off your back or earn some spending money?

Fortunately, there are plenty of great opportunities to land an awesome summer gig, no matter how last minute it is – if you know where to look.

1. Use Your School’s Career Planning Center

This one might seem too obvious, but I have a lot of friends who genuinely believe that their school’s career planning center only helps those who want to become a banker, teacher, lawyer or doctor. That is simply not true!

These people’s jobs are to help students match their interests with potential opportunities. They’re probably sitting on a huge database of employers that are still looking to hire, and this can be a great first step to see what’s still available. Plus, they can help you build a great resume and get you in touch with the right people to fast-track your application.

2. Tap Your Network

You probably know a few people that have graduated recently. Maybe they were a teammate or classmate or RA. It never hurts to reach out to these folks and see what they’re up to. Poke around on Facebook to see where everyone is now-a-days. If they seem like they’re having a great time wherever they are, reach out!

Networking isn’t just limited to older friends. Ask your parents if they know anyone in a certain city or industry. Some people might not like to have their parents involved in the process, but they probably know more people than you and will (hopefully) put in a good word that helps you get a reference.

These types of personal connections are invaluable. Many highly sought-after companies don’t even post job opportunities publicly aymore, they hire straight from personal referrals. If you know someone at a place like this, leverage them as much as you can. Be polite, but persistent.

Reach out to as many people as you can. It’s far better to be in a situation where you’re turning down opportunities, than one where you’re worrying about the summer creeping up as you run out of options. If you really get stuck, your career planning center probably has a searchable alumni database you could tap into as well.

3. Look for Awesome Startups

While it’s great to have a personal connection at the organizations you’re applying to, there’s no reason why you can’t land an exciting job on your own. If you spend any time reading magazines or blogs, you’re bound to know a few hub cities for the areas that excite you. Interested in fashion? Check out NYC. Tech stuff? San Francisco.

Once you find the right location, poke around a little and you’re bound to find at least a few start-up companies looking for an extra helping hand. These companies will probably need help right away and don’t have large HR departments that slow down the hiring process.

Start-ups move fast and rely on very dynamic and smart people in order to function. Working at a start-up will probably be the most exciting and rewarding summer work experience you can find, and I’d highly recommended it (maybe even apply to work at HubSpot ;-) ).

I wrote a pretty passionate piece on the allure of start-ups here.

Once you’ve found a great opportunity, make sure you follow up. Sell yourself well. By polite, but persistent. Eventually, something will pay off. You’ll get your parent off your back, build your resume, and avoid the nightmare of sitting at home for 4 months.

What are your plans for this summer?