Summer work scarce, but still available
April 13, 2010
Hundreds of people are going to lose their jobs this month after the resorts and restaurants close and "mud season" ensues until summer offerings begin.
Experts at lining job hunters up with employers say there is reason for optimism at finding summer work, but it’s going to take more effort than in the past.
Patty Ceglio, director of operations for http://www.Coolworks.com , said many employers hire summer workers between December and March. In April, there are only a few positions left but they can still be found. Job offers in late March might be rejected, or people may change their plans and companies must find replacements.
Cordell Roy, coordinator for the National Park Service in Utah, said the National Parks follow that timeframe. Talishia Ragsdale, a human resources assistant at Zion National Park said they’re "pretty much filled up now." But like Ceglio said, they still have a few left they’re trying to fill.
"The peak time is over, but you can still look always look just in case," she said.
Like many other federal jobs, parks positions are available at USAjobs.opm.gov.
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Ceglio said her site has a "Wanted Now" feature with jobs people are looking to fill immediately.
But just because jobs aren’t posted, doesn’t mean they aren’t available. Ceglio said her clients are paying for less time on the posting boards trying to save money. Wendy Marshall and Joanne Goguen of Summerjobs.com said several of their clients are only posting one of many openings, hoping to attract people to their own site through the single posting and thereby save on marketing.
All three also said there are fewer jobs available because workers from previous seasons are returning again this year instead of moving on. Renee Ward, founder of http://www.teens4hire.org, said employers love to hire college graduates. Because those graduates aren’t finding work in their preferred fields, they aren’t leaving their school jobs for younger people to fill.
Ward also said there are more seniors remaining in the workforce instead of retiring. They prefer part-time hours, creating competition for high-school and college students. There are also fewer jobs available traditionally relegated to teenagers like newspaper delivery.
Still, these professionals believe targeted resumes and cover letters backed up by a dedication to working hard will enable anyone to find work.
Marshall and Goguen encouraged searchers to consider taking internships. They don’t pay the bills, but they do give applicants the chance to stick their feet in the proverbial doors and develop new skill sets.
"They’re a great way to market yourself to a whole new group of people," Marshall said.
In fact, they saw an applicant with years of experience in senior corporate-level positions at major retail companies applying for internships. She knew her career was at a dead end in the recession, and viewed internships as a means to a fresh start.
Marshall said the most valuable piece of advice they can offer is to tailor resumes and cover letters to each company one is applying for. Some even employ computer programs to filter the documents for key words. studying the job qualifications carefully and tailoring the application, people have much stronger chances.
"Market yourself you’re a customized commodity," she said.
Ward encouraged teenagers to start visiting companies and introducing themselves. They may not qualify for posted positions, but a strong handshake might get an employer thinking about how they could use you.
She also encouraged teenagers to consider self employment. Mowing lawns makes better sense than waiting around for a job opening at the local franchise restaurant.
Employers want to see that teenagers are motivated and self driven.
For the first time in American history, the majority of people under age 23 have never had a job, she said. That’s going to change the labor market and employers are going to be looking for the youth who are driven instead of entitled.
From Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor:
If you are 14 or 15, you can work . . .
Outside school hours
After 7 a.m. and until 7 p.m.
Except from June 1 through Labor Day, when you can work until 9 p.m.
You can work no more than:
* 3 hours on a school day,
* 18 hours in a school week,
* 8 hours on a non-school day, and
* 40 hours in non-school week.
If you are 16 or older, you can work a "non-hazardous" job any day, any time of day, and for any number of hours. There are no restrictions on the work hours of youth age 16 or older.
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