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How to get a Summer Job

by Teresa Borg

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Dawdling on a sofa in an air-conditioned room catching up on your episodes or sprawling on a comfy deck chair at your favourite beach getting sun-kissed, may sound like a stupendous plan for the upcoming summer season. However, loitering around, while your friends are out there filling their pockets, won't be appeasing anymore after a couple of days and you'll soon start regretting not sending those summer job applications when you still could.

Why do you need a summer job?

After a stressful year jam-packed with essays and exams, a summer job is the last thing you'll want to worry about and three months of doing nothing may seem like a utopia. Tempting as it may sound, your petty cash will start dwindling and you can forget about going to parties and enjoying the hot sunny days which summer brings with it. Even if your parents are still sponsoring your active lifestyle unconditionally, here are some worthy reasons why you should get a summer job:

  • Productivity: Rather than wasting time at home, a summer job gives you the chance to be productive, will suppress the development of bad habits such as staying in bed till the afternoon and will help you stay motivated until you go back to school, autumn coming.
  • Gain experience: In your future job searches, you'll understand the relevance of that waitering or babysitting job which exhausted all your energy in the summer months. Experience will be a prerequisite for many job positions you'll apply for and having worked in a variety of work environments will serve as a valuable bonus.
  • New skills: Skills are learnt outside class through first-hand experience. A summer job will help you gain new skills which will make you an intriguing candidate and a more mature individual in life. Summer work opportunities can teach you communication and problem-solving skills, time management, leadership, responsibility, teamwork, discipline and respect towards your peers.
  • Enhance your CV: A summer job will boost your resume, so it won't be looking bleak when you embark on the search for your first full-time job. You'll achieve a competitive edge on fellow job seekers with a lack of experience and skills.
  • Expand your network: Enhancing your network of companies and getting to know fellow colleagues may help you find a job later on in life. Leaving a lasting impression on your summer employers may land you a full-time job at the same company after you get to throw your graduation cap in the air.
  • Financial independence: Gone are the days when you need to plead for money every time you go out. A summer job will give you cash to spend and to save. Need to save for your tertiary education? Want to start inflating your savings? You can also plan a last-minute summer holiday with the money you earn. Regardless of the plans you have for your earned money, a summer job will amplify your budgeting skills. This will especially be useful when your pay-checks start getting increments later on in life.
  • Career self-evaluation: Being a youth means you're still mulling over which career path to take. Which type of work would you excel at? Which work environment is to your liking? The summer work opportunities you'll experience will help you determine what you don't want to do at all costs and may even guide you to your future career.
  • Possibility of a part-time job: If your school timetable allows it and if it doesn't interfere with your academic studies, you may be able to extend your summer contract and keep working at the job on a part-time basis on the weekends and in the evenings. In this way, you can still keep on earning some extra money on the side while studying.
  • Confidence boost: Summer work opportunities will help you move beyond the safe havens of your home and school and will help you immerse yourself in the world of employment.
  • Better transition: The transition which will see you move from being a student to being a full-time employee will be more straightforward if you already have a number of summer work experiences under your belt.

How can you find a summer job?

The blazing sun, long cloudless days and the number of breathtaking beaches make Malta an ideal summer destination. Hence, it is of no surprise that summer brings with it a boost in the tourism industry, forcing hotels, restaurants and other entertainment establishments to acquire seasonal help. Additionally, employees tend to drain their vacation leave during summer and employers need to ensure the business will keep on running smoothly throughout the busiest season of the year.

With your CV looking very meagre, it may be difficult to find a suitable summer job for students. Here are some tips to help you land the perfect job for the hot and sunny season:

1. Decide on the type of summer job you want to do

Sending a job application for every summer work opportunity you encounter is not the way to go. Self-analysis will help you determine what you're good at and the skills which you'd have learnt at school, at a workplace or at any voluntary organisation. Do you like working with people? Do you imagine yourself working outdoors rather than behind a desk? What type of work would be in line with your personality and your skills? Also, consider your goals. What do you intend to achieve from this summer job? Yearning to learn a particular skill? Do you want to work in a specific industry related to your studies?

Deliberate on the hours you're willing to work. Would you prefer working on a part-time or full-time basis? Are you more inclined toward morning and afternoon shifts rather than night shifts?

Work location may also be a determining factor. If you're still a youth, chances are you're still a public transport user, and hence, you may need to restrict your working schedule to certain hours and to certain localities. If your parents are willing to provide a personal taxi service, this wouldn't be an issue to consider.

Although the summer job you apply for would preferably match your expectations, you may not be lucky enough to be picky. Come what may, being honest with yourself and your employer is essential. Moreover, don't aim too high. You need to be willing to start from an entry level position and work yourself up, especially if you have no previous experience.

2. Start searching for summer work opportunities

So you've decided on the type of job which would best fit your personality and your schedule. Once this is decided, you can embark on your summer job search.

Where should you look for summer work opportunities?

Finding the right summer job may be perplexing, especially if you're still new to the job market. Here are some options which may land you a great summer work experience:

  • Talk to family, friends, teachers and any other people you may know for guidance. They may know which companies are on the look-out for summer help and may even find you a job within their workplace. Companies would be more willing to employ a candidate recommended by a loyal employee rather than an unknown individual on a piece of paper.
  • Search for job vacancies on the web and on social media. Keepmeposted and jobsinmalta.com are two popular online portals.
  • Check out the vacancy sections on local newspapers.
  • Sign up with private recruitment agencies or register with Jobsplus- Malta's job centre.
  • Stay alert for career fairs and open days.
  • Check with previous jobs which provided a good work experience.
  • Send open applications or visit potential companies in person. In many cases, summer work opportunities are not advertised, as popular companies would already have a pile of applications to choose from. Focus your search and target specific industries which would more likely hire new people during the summer, such as hotels and restaurants. Remember to take your CV with you.
  • Have a look at Yellow's very own job website where you may find a number of work opportunities and internships. All you need to do is simply click on your preferred position, see if you fit the description and click on the apply button. 
  • Check with your respective sixth form school or University as they may have a career office which manages employment schemes for students.
  • Search for summer work opportunities abroad.
  • Start your own business venture: Good with kids? Start a babysitting service. Are you an expert in a particular language? Start home tutoring. Do you love animals? Initiate a dog walking business. Once you start serving relatives and friends, your clientele will begin expanding slowly.

Types of summer jobs you'll most likely be able to find

Regardless of your age, skills, working experience and current status, anyone can find a summer job which is a good fit. Whether you're a 16-year-old, a University student or a more mature individual, an array of local industries will be looking to expand their workforce due to the seasonal boost they experience in summer. Although jobs in the hospitality and catering industries are the most prevalent, you can find other summer work opportunities in the local market:

Keep in mind that some of the above summer jobs for students may require certain certifications. A lifeguard will be required to follow a first aid course, waitering staff would preferably achieve a food handling certificate and you need to complete the TEFL course to be able to teach English to foreigners in Malta. A large number of language schools in Malta offer this course.

If you're a student teacher contemplating on how to ride summer out, here are some summer jobs you can consider:

  • Tutoring: as a student teacher, you can offer private lessons on a one-to-one basis or in small groups
  • Summer school teaching: many summer schools in Malta and Gozo will require reliable individuals to manage summer classes.

If you want to take a breather from the education sector, you can consider other skills you may have and do something else you enjoy doing. With the skills you gained during your student teaching experience, companies will hire you there and then.

3. Start applying for summer jobs

You've thought through what you want to be doing in summer and you've found some intriguing summer work opportunities. What's the next step? You need to start applying. When and how to apply is crucial in determining whether you'll stand out from other applicants. Here are some tips to help you land a summer job:

When to apply for a summer job

With tourists rushing to Malta in pursuit of the Mediterranean sun and spectacular beaches, the summer season expectedly brings with it a boost in tourism. With the months of June till September being the busiest months of the year, summer hiring will be in the pipeline for many tourism-oriented companies. So when is the best time to apply for a summer job? The earlier the better. Students of all ages, from Sixth Form to University students will all want to earn extra money while their academic studies are on hold, so being one of the first to send in your application, will give you a competitive edge over your peers.

Some companies start evaluating their summer strategy early on in the year, so there's no harm in sending your resume early. Employers would need to get their summer workforce sorted before the summer rush kicks in. Having said that, don't be disheartened! If you haven't started sending applications yet, start now. Several companies will still be looking for help in June, especially catering establishments. Although you may be drowning in exams, you should promptly start searching for a summer job and sending job applications, even though it may feel like the last thing you should prioritise right now.

Remember that you may not be called in for a lot of interviews, while you could potentially receive one rejection after another, but don't be discouraged. Send as many applications as you can to businesses who have the highest chance of hiring more people in summer.

How to prepare yourself for a summer job

  • Get your working papers in order

If you're just out of school and looking for your first summer job, you'll need to drop by a Social Security office to obtain a NI number, as some companies still ask for it. If you wish to register with Jobsplus, you need to visit one of the job centres around Malta and Gozo. You need to take with you your ID card, the National Insurance Card (which can be obtained from any Social Security branch), the parents' consent form (if you're still under 18 years of age), any certificates you may have and a copy of your CV. If you're a foreigner, you would need to apply for a work permit.

Keep in mind that the minimum age for employment in Malta is 16 years. A child under this age may only work if he's granted special permission from the school's principal and as long as compulsory school has been completed. For hazardous work, the minimum age is 18. If you're between 16 and 18 years of age, the employer has the right to ask for a birth certificate and written permission from one of the parents. Make sure your employer respects the regulations with regard to employment of minors and get acquainted with your rights as an employee.

  • Boost your CV, resume and cover letter

Upon applying for a job, the first thing which is going to represent you is the quality of your application. A professional CV and cover letter should be free of typos, be as concise as possible and should include all skills, qualifications and experience. If you're still new to the job market and lack work experience, highlight your best skills which you can put to practice at work and focus on any experience you may have at voluntary organisations. Remember, your CV needs to stand out from the pile of job applications an HR desk would have. Need to build your first CV? You can find several CV templates you can follow online, the most popular being that of Europass. In addition, check out some ways you can enhance your cover letter.

  • Clean up your social media profiles

In this time and age, social media has enabled employers to build a portfolio on the candidates before they even set foot in the office. Audit your Facebook and Instagram accounts and remove any unseemly photos which may push your employers away from calling you for an interview.

  • Don't send generic emails

Show them you did your research about their company and they'll appreciate the extra effort.

How to prepare yourself for an interview

  • Review popular summer interview questions so you can preempt questions you'll most probably be asked and hence you'll be able to practise your replies beforehand. This will boost your confidence when you're in the hot seat.
  • Evaluate a couple of questions you can ask from your end to show your interest in the company.
  • Be honest with your employer: inform him till when you're able to work or if you have any holidays booked in summer.
  • Dress appropriately and make sure you're well-groomed. It may be a good idea to hide any tattoos and piercing at this stage.

Read on how to ace a job interview and what not to do during an interview.

What are employers looking for?

Good news! When hiring for summer jobs, employers would most likely not be looking for experience. If they do, it wouldn't be a prerequisite and it would be an added bonus. Here are the factors which will put you ahead of your peers:

  • Mature attitude
  • Flexibility: if you're willing to work a variety of shifts and you're inclined to learn new tasks, it will reflect well on your attitude
  • Reliability: employers want to know if they can rely on the candidates they choose. Get your hands on references from teachers, coaches or leaders in voluntary organisations which you attend.
  • A positive and enthusiastic attitude
  • Communication skills
  • A great personality
  • Being hardworking and a fast learner

How can you make the most of your summer job?

  • Put your utmost effort into the job and you can expect to be re-hired the following summer or even offered a full-time position in the future
  • Ask for references at the end of the season as they make a great addition to your CV
  • Take initiatives where possible
  • Build up your network: get to know your peers and team leaders as current connections may serve useful when you least expect them to
  • Always leave on a positive note to ensure you make a lasting impression

Tips on what to do if you don't find a summer job

Despite giving your all to try and find a summer job, you may be unlucky in your job search for one reason or another. You may have applied too late, had a CV full of typos, or lacked certain skills. You are left marooned on your sofa for three months and your feet will start itching to do something useful. Here are some tips on what to do in summer to kill time:

  • Apply for an internship in a company which is related to your field of study. You can still gain some valuable experience, learn new skills, build up your network and increase the chances of getting employed in the future.
  • Attend a training programme to learn a new skill or a new language and increase your know-how.
  • Volunteer at an NGO or voluntary organisation and be part of a humanitarian undertaking.
  • Work on a personal project of your own which you haven't had time to work on during the year. It could be a book or a blog you've been wanting to start for years.
  • Travel and explore new countries in your bucket list - check out local travel agencies who would be able to guide you.
  • Catch up on your reading - here are some tips on how to create the ultimate reading list.

While you're lining up your purse, accumulating your savings, expanding your CV and gaining valuable skills and experience, do find time to relax and savour the summer sun. A summer job shouldn't take up all your free time and you should enjoy as many summer activities as you can before the next academic year commences again. Here are some tips on how to enjoy a summer holiday in Malta and ideas for your summer bucket list.

Looking to recruit new staff for the summer season? Check out some tips here.

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