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Supplementing School with Seasonal Service

Sep 21, 2018 by

By the end of the school year, most college students are completely broke. They go back to their hometowns and seek out summer jobs, many of which make them want to bang their heads against the wall. If they’re lucky, they’ll get an internship, which may be a little more cool but often pays very little. Every now and then, though, the poor student back in their hometown will come across a picture posted from downeast Maine or Aspen, Colorado. It seems like a charmed life, and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t be up for a college adventure by the ocean or the mountain? Should you seek out a seasonal job? How does a student find one?

To answer the first question, it depends on what your needs are. If you are gunning for that specific job right out of college— investment banker, medical school, publishing— it doesn’t necessarily suit you to to spend your undergrad summers doing seasonal work. However seasonal jobs are great ways to get experience, fill out your resume, earn money, and have a little bit of an adventure while you’re at it. They include jobs in restaurants during the summer season, work at ski resorts and lodges when the snow gets deep, catering gigs at big event spaces, and retail posts during the holidays.

If you’re willing to endure the logistical challenges of picking up your life and moving across the country, a job at a ski resort or restaurant will stand out on your resume as you seizing an opportunity. A site like Cool Works specifically caters to job-seekers interested in unforgettable adventures. When you have finished for the season, be sure to highlight your skills on your resume, so that you are ready for whatever sweet gig comes next.

The key to remember is that the skills you get from working a seasonal job are transferable. Any business your work with will have other business to support them, and once you have your foot in the door, a single job can lead to work across an entire region. A season in an Aspen hotel could lead you to becoming a ski instructor on Snowmass, or a summer along Maine’s coast could lead to a later gig packing flatware in Nova Scotia for a company like Vega Direct.

How do you get the job, then? Seasonal jobs can be found online, but the Google search for “Seasonal jobs” is only the first, and lowest, hurdle. The true challenge is applying for and winning a job when you live far away. To do this, you need to hone your resume and cover letter. As a young job seeker, you won’t have the resume of a multi-year professional, but with a college student resume you can highlight relevant coursework and on-campus job experience to make the case that you are the right candidate.

Another key to getting seasonal work is knowing what you are going in for. A big part of that is knowing what industry you most want to go in to. Be sure to understand the difference between different types of seasonal employment. If a restaurant asks you why you are there, and your answer is “I’m here for the money,” do you think they will proceed with the interview? Probably not. Employers, especially seasonal employers, are all too familiar with the employee who flakes after two weeks because the work is a little harder than they expected. In order to show your commitment to living the seasonal lifestyle, identify things that you want to learn while working for the company prior to submitting your application. A paycheck is great, but personal growth is priceless.

If you’re a college student looking to make some cash while experiencing something new, a seasonal job can offer the best of both worlds. Moreso, it can open up doors and opportunities you never thought you’d ever pursue.

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