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Looking for a summer job? Follow these tips and tricks to stand out and nail the interview process!

Looking for a summer job? Follow these tips and tricks to stand out and nail the interview process!

We’re back with another blog post in our Summer Job Series to help you secure an awesome summer job or internship. In this post, we’re wrapping up our job series with some key takeaways regarding your resume, interviewing strategy, and presentation. Follow these tips and you’ll find a position to make the most of your summer, gain professional skills, and start your next semester on the right foot. 

To successfully land your dream summer job, you need to do a few simple, but important, things.

First, you need to put together a resume.

Yes, even if your dream summer job entails sitting in a lifeguard chair and staring at the waves all day, you still need a resume. No matter what job you’re applying to, make sure you have a resume. This will 1) impress your future employer and 2) help you prepare for future interviews by giving you a template to work from moving forward.

Pro Tip: If you haven’t worked before, don’t worry. A resume in this case can be a description of your education, club memberships you hold, any awards (academic or otherwise) you’ve won, and your future plans (eg. matriculating at State University in September, 20XX).
For ideas on how to format your resume, check out the links below:

Whenever possible, be sure to make your resume specific to the job you’re applying to. For example, if you’re applying to a job at Forever 21 and you’ve worked in both retail and food service, put your retail experience at the top of your resume. If you’re applying to a position as a camp counselor and you’ve never worked before, include any background you may have in sports or leadership on your resume. Tailoring your resume to the position shows forethought, an understanding of the job you’re applying to, and organizational skills. Wow your interviewer before you even meet them by making sure your resume stands out. You can dive deeper into our resume tips by reading our Summer Job Series: Resume Tips article.

Second, find your winning strategy for interviewing.

After you’ve impressed your future employer with a world-class resume, you may be asked to interview, either over video conference, the phone, or in person.
Pro Tip: If you’re asked to interview over the phone first, keep the following things in mind:

  1. A phone interview is a “pre-screen” interview. This interview is used to gauge your ability to think on your feet and to determine whether or not you speak intelligently and maturely.
  2. You should treat a phone interview like an audition. Speak clearly, enunciate, and avoid words like “um”, “whatever”, and “uh”. Take your time in answering questions and speak with confidence.
  3. Speak with enthusiasm. If you smile while you answer questions, your interviewer will hear this and appreciate your audible positivity.
  4. Speak while standing up during a phone interview. You’ll feel more energized, more confident, and more self-assured! Trust me.
When interviewing, three things are incredibly important:
  1. Practice
  2. Preparation
  3. Presentation

Practice answering and thinking through common interview questions. These can include anything from “why do you want to work for this company?” to “where do you see yourself in five years?”. Also prepare some questions of your own to ask the interviewer. Your own questions show the interviewer that you’re engaged and interested in working for them.

For a list of common interview questions, visit these sites:

Preparation is absolutely key. You’re almost guaranteed to be asked questions regarding your understanding of the company’s history, culture, and preferred work style. Google as much as you can about the company, its leadership, and its mission. You can also find valuable information on LinkedIn and sometimes Yelp. Prepare yourself for the interview by becoming an expert on your desired employer. Even if you aren’t asked anything about your knowledge of the company, you’ll get a pretty good idea of whether or not you’ll even want to work for them. If you’re applying to a competitive position, reach out to any connections at the company. These could be alumni of your school, friends of family members, or even someone you briefly met who currently or formerly worked at the company. Find their email, let them know that you have applied to the position, and ask for their advice or guidance in a scheduled phone call. Connections are typically more than willing to help you out, but be sure to thank them for their time and treat the phone call with respect, similar to an interview. Learn more about networking in our Tips for Networking piece here.

Lastly, the way you present yourself during the interview is important. 

Clothing: If you’re looking to land a retail job, try to emulate the style of the boutique or shop you’re interviewing for. The clothing you wear doesn’t have to be from there, but try your best to resemble the looks featured by the shop. This will help the interviewer picture you working there. If you’re interviewing for an internship at a white collar firm, wear a suit or slacks and a nice blouse or button down. Even if you’re interviewing to be a dishwasher or janitor, dress up. It’s always better to be overdressed and impressive than underdressed and average.

Hygiene: Remember to exhibit your best possible hygiene at an interview. I know, I know. “Who wouldn’t shower before an interview?” You’d be surprised. So, just so it’s said: Brush your hair, use deodorant, don’t wear too much perfume/cologne, and cut your nails. Look clean and well dressed, and you’ll already be halfway there to landing your job. Even if you’re interviewing over the phone or video, these tips still apply. If you look and feel your best, you will perform well.

Pro Tip: After your interview, make sure to follow up. Give your interviewer a day or two to collect their thoughts and then, follow up! This can be in the form of a thank you email, phone call, or a handwritten letter. You could use the follow-up as a chance to ask any further questions that you’ve thought of. Even if you don’t get the job, they will remember your gratitude and will appreciate the gesture.
So there you have it! Arm yourself with this information and boldly enter the workforce! Using these tools and tricks, you’ll be sure to stand out and, ultimately, you’ll be sure to land your ideal summer job and many more jobs down the line.

What interviewing tips do you have to share? Fill in the comments section below with your favorite Pro Tip!