Summer jobs can lead to permanent positions, employers say

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When you think “summer job,” you might think of high school students clamoring to apply for work at the local amusement park. But if you’re currently looking for full-time employment, a summer job may actually be your best chance to land a permanent position at a company you’re interested in, regardless of age — or industry.

A new CareerBuilder survey on summer hiring trends found that one-in-five companies plan to hire seasonal workers this summer, and — of those who do plan to hire – 57 percent will consider seasonal workers for full-time positions at the end of the summer.

“More than half of employers reported they treat summer jobs as extended job interviews,” says Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder North America.  “Summer employment is a great way for workers to network, test-drive different career paths and earn permanent placement within an organization.”

Though retail and hospitality are the two industries most commonly associated with summer hiring, employers reported job openings in a variety of fields, including the following:

Employers in all industries say the interest in summer positions is high among job seekers, with 47 percent saying they receive more than 50 application per job opening, and 33 percent reporting that they get more than 100 applications per position.

“It’s still a highly competitive hiring environment, so you want to make sure you apply early, highlight specific accomplishments in your résumé and thoroughly research the company before the interview,” Rasmussen says.   

Want to increase your chances of landing a job this summer? Follow these tips, based on what hiring managers said they most want to see from seasonal job candidates:

Get specific about your accomplishments: Fifty-five percent of survey respondents said that — when it comes to résumés — they prefer to see accomplishments listed instead of duties, so focus on quantifying achievements and highlighting results from your previous jobs.  If you’re still in school, list accomplishments from the classroom, extracurricular activities or volunteer work.

Be professional: Companies expect the same amount of professionalism from seasonal job applicants that they do from full-time ones, so don’t cut any corners in your summer job search.  According to the survey, 26 percent of hiring managers expect candidates to submit a cover letter with their applications, and 33 percent expect candidates to be knowledgeable about the company when they come in for an interview.  

Get a referral: Thirty-seven percent of hiring managers said they were more likely to look at an application from a referred candidate. Networking — both online and off — will help you find connections to local businesses that are hiring summer help.

Talk about long-term interest: If you’d like your summer job to lead to a permanent position, say so. Informing the hiring manager that you have long-term interest in the company can set you apart as a serious candidate.

Did you land a summer job? Still looking? Tell us about your search in the comments section, below.

15 Comments
  1. I recently began volunteering with a local company once a week (so I can keep up with my jobsearch activities the other weekdays). A couple of people had suggested this, because sometimes this company hires volunteers as employees later on. I figure that, if it doesn’t lead to a job at this company, at least I will have some good work experience and another reference to take to another employer. Maybe this tip can help someone else.

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  8. I enjoyed reading your article. But as a Human Resources professional I have to say it inappropriate for you to use the term “permanent”. A job is never permanent. The individuals may go from temp to hire but just wanted to set the record straight.

  9. I have worked the past 4 summers as a park ranger for the Corps of Engineers. A position was recently filled with a person with only 1 summer of experience, no position announcement, and no interviews conducted. Is this legal? What are my rights?

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