Dear Career Doctor:
I’m a high school student and I need a summer job. I’m 16 and have my work papers. I thought I could get a job anywhere as a camp counselor. I didn’t realize I had to apply for those jobs long ago. All my friends have jobs, usually because they had the same job before, or their parents knew somebody. Where should I look?
Waited too long
Because camp counselor and other summer jobs are often filled months ahead of time, there are often no-shows and drop-outs. So I suggest you contact all the local day camps and some sleep-away camps, asking if there are any unexpected openings. If the answer is no, ask to be put on a waiting list and say that you will call back to check each Friday for the next few weeks. (I chose Friday because people often quit after they get their paychecks.)
Follow up, and pleasantly make those calls each Friday, saying that you are still interested. Sure you may annoy a few people, but the rest of them will be impressed by your perseverance and interest in their program. If someone drops out, even if there is a waiting list, you will be right there and remembered. That often helps a person jump to the top of the list — because the employer doesn’t want to be bothered calling the list. They also assume that someone so interested that they would call repeatedly about a job will not be another person who might drop out.
Meanwhile, you can canvas your neighbors to see if anyone who lives nearby knows of any jobs. And, of course, canvas local businesses, too.