Landing that perfect summer – or permanent – job

By Julie Davis

School is out, and students are looking for summer jobs and graduates are seeking permanent jobs. A job search can be confusing and difficult to execute properly if you’re new to the game. I want to offer you the best tips for landing a job, in or out of school.

Job Search

1. Think about where you want to work. What type of work would you enjoy? Seek a job that you can visualize yourself in for one or more years. Make a list and go to such companies, if public establishments, and ask employees how they like working there. For example, ask the McDonalds cashier while he takes your order. Ask questions like, “Do you like your job?” or “What are the good and bad points of working here?”

2. Make a list of your scheduled activities (months/days/hours). This will include vacation, sports practice, band concerts, church attendance, etc. In order to make a win-win situation, you will want to share this schedule with potential employers to ensure you have time off to participate in those activities and they get the benefit of anticipating your time off to cover your shift with another worker. This is the most considerate, courteous and professional thing to do in your situation and doing so will make your supervisor and co-workers comfortable working with you. Failing to do so will make for awkward and unpleasant situations at work.

3. Ask your family and friends about openings where they work. They can give you valuable insider information about the company and positions that may not be posted which will give you an advantage over the competition.

4. Meet with your school guidance/career counselor. This resource is grossly under used by students. Counselors have built relationships with companies seeking to hire employees like you and can assist you with the next steps. If you’re not sure what type of job you’re seeking, the counselor can help with that decision, too.

5. Prepare a resume. Search for resume templates online and have a professional edit/review your resume before sending it to potential employers. If you have little or no job history, highlight personal traits, awards, accomplishments, clubs and volunteer service.

6. Seek letters of recommendation and personal references. Employers may be required to call these people to ask about your character and work ethic. Make sure you choose the most professional people in your life to add to this list.

7. Search for job posts. Good online resources to search include,,, and If you’re unsure about the legitimacy of a job post, or are concerned for your personal safety, always ask someone you trust. Other resources to check are local newspapers and county Job and Family Services agencies (these are for anyone seeking a job, not just those receiving unemployment benefits).


1. Employers may check on you in surprising ways to see if you are the type of person they want to hire. They may do an online search to review your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). To ensure you pass their initial evaluation, either turn the settings of your social media accounts to “private” or remove embarrassing, insensitive, or inappropriate content.

2. The employer may call you to set up an interview. While job hunting, change your voicemail greeting to a professional-sounding, clearly understood message. Messages other than this will be a check mark against you. Set up voicemail on your phone if you haven’t yet. Return calls from the employer right away. This will show that you are responsible and considerate of their time.

3. Dress for success. Dress like you’re interviewing for a manager position, not just a cashier. Appropriate clothing includes: A dress shirt, a tie, a suit, dress shoes, skirts knee length or longer, dress pants, a blazer/jacket. Inappropriate clothing includes: Gym socks/ankle socks/white socks, jeans, shorts, hats, tight clothing, leggings, yoga pants, sweats, shirts showing cleavage in any amount, t-shirts, hoodies, distracting/over-the-top jewelry, athletic shoes, flip-flops. Hygiene and grooming are important! Be freshly showered, comb/style your hair, don’t overdo perfume/cologne, have fresh breath.

4. Arrive to the interview 15 minutes early and check in with the receptionist. This shows you are punctual.

5. Be honest. Without compromising your professional demeanor, tell the interviewer the truth. If you cannot pass the pre-employment background check or drug test, say so. This will be kept private. If you cannot work Mondays due to soccer practice, say so. Do not waste the interviewer’s time by lying, as it will cause you more issues in the end.

6. Follow up with a thank you card. Write a short note to your interviewer thanking them for taking the time to consider you for the position and letting them know they may feel free to contact you with any follow-up questions. This shows the employer you are thoughtful and very interested in the position.

These tips will greatly improve your chances of landing the job you want. Don’t be discouraged if you’re not hired at the first job you apply for. Use each interview you attend as practice, improving your interpersonal skills and becoming more comfortable with the hiring process. Best of luck.

By Julie Davis

Julie Davis is a freelance writer.

Julie Davis is a freelance writer.