First Summer Job at 16: How to’s Guide

It’s almost the holidays. But this year, you have decided you’re going to look for your first summer job. It’s an idea that’s exciting… and agonizing at the same time. To make your project a success, here are some practical tips.

Start your search as soon as possible
Don’t wait until May to start looking. Finding a first summer job takes time. Begin by completing the basic formalities such as applying for a social insurance number, which is compulsory to work and be paid a salary in Canada.

Identify the types of job you are interested in
Do you like being outdoors and interacting with younger people? You might enjoy being a day camp monitor. Do you prefer physical work? Look out for warehouse or day labourer jobs. You could also choose a summer job related to your field of study. This will give you a better idea of your future work environment. For example, if you are studying law, you could consider being a receptionist in a law firm.

Talk to people around you
The best way to get a first summer job is to talk to those around you. Word-of-mouth can sometimes work miracles. Talk about your search with your parents, family, friends, neighbours, storekeepers in your neighbourhood… Remember to use your Facebook profile or your Twitter account. Also look at job offers on the internet, local newspapers and social media. Several government job search sites offer employment programs for students. Don’t hesitate to consult them. Also, think about how you will get to work: by car, by bicycle, on foot, by public transport? This will let you define the area to search.

Prepare your CV
Have you never had a job and are wondering what to put on your CV? Even if you have little or no experience, remember that you have skills and abilities to highlight: knowledge of computers, foreign languages, energy, team spirit, people skills… Highlight any experience that demonstrates your interpersonal and organizational skills such as volunteering for an organization or for a sports or cultural activity, an internship, a language trip, babysitting, etc.  Your school awards (scholarships, awards, etc.) can also contribute to demonstrating your seriousness and qualities. Finally, adapt your CV for each application.

Write a brief cover letter

The cover letter should demonstrate to your future employer that you are the candidate he is seeking. You therefore must highlight the qualities and abilities that correspond to the job you applied for. Adapt each letter according to the job targeted.

If you are interested in a business, whether the neighbourhood grocery store or a multinational, take your courage in both hands and after sending your CV contact the person directly who hires students in order to get a brief meeting.

Show yourself to be flexible and available

Did you think you would be working as a waiter but you have been offered a job as a dishwasher?  Be open. In any case, whatever the type of work, it will get you great experience. Be flexible about working hours, as well. You will have much better chances of getting a job.

Be determined and confident
It might take several weeks before your approaches succeed. Along the way, some people will reject your application. Others will not even answer you. This is a normal part of a job search. Stay motivated and energetic! In the end, your attitude will pay off. Follow up with the companies you have contacted. Even if the job has been taken, they may think of you next year.


Good luck!


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