Four Things to Consider for Your Summer Job

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When I was in university, I was so wrapped up in my school life that I often left my summer plans to the very last minute.

The result was that I had some very diverse summer experiences, including working in retail, interning at a bank, helping out at a family office and being a hostess at a popular Toronto restaurant and bar.

Each time I went out on the job hunt, I had slightly different motives and of course, varying degrees of success in finding ‘the perfect summer job.’

Here are four factors you should take into account when deciding on the type of summer job you’d like to pursue.

Salary Structure and Level

If you like to have some control over your hours with ‘skies the limit’ earning potential, then look for something that pays by the hour. Better yet, if you work best when there’s a strong incentive to sell, then working at a restaurant or even a retail store with incentive schemes is a great way to build your sales and interpersonal skills with the opportunity to earn a lot of money. On the other hand, if you’d prefer a set salary, office and managerial jobs are great and are more likely to be relevant to your career path.

Relevance to Career Path

This one will depend on a) how far along your university career you are, and b) the importance you place on having relevant work experience on your resume. If this is important to you, using sites like TalentEgg is a great starting point to not only find current job opportunities but also to get information on the companies that regularly hire students for summer positions.

Summer Work Life Balance

This will depend entirely on the industry you choose to work in. If you work at a restaurant, be prepared for late nights and inconsistent shifts- sometimes relying on completely uncontrollable factors, such as weather. When I worked at a restaurant, we’d be scheduled to work and then sent home if it was raining. If you work in a fast-paced office, be prepared to stay late some nights and be there early.

Cottage Weekends

This follows from summer lifestyle and is fairly intuitive. If you work in the restaurant/bar industry, as a party planner, in retail, or any other organization that is open on the weekends, be prepared to work on the weekends. When I worked at a restaurant, I spent every weekend in Toronto. However, I’ll point out that when it came time to work in retail, I carefully chose the location of the stores I applied to. By only applying to stores in the financial district of Toronto, I avoided working weekends altogether!

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About the author

Lauren Friese is the founder of TalentEgg.ca. She graduated from Queen's University in 2005 with a degree in economics and had no idea how to make a successful transition into the workforce. She ended up at the LSE in London, England, and after earning an MSc in economic history, used Milkround.com – a British graduate recruitment website – to find a great entry-level role in consulting in London. She thought Milkround was fantastic, and that it was a service sorely lacking in Canada. And so the idea for TalentEgg was hatched!