If you’re in high school or college, and you already have summer work lined up, congratulations.
But if you’re still trying to find an internship or a paying job, it’s time to get creative.
Finding a work opportunity when you’re young can be a little easier if you’re willing to go without pay (also known as an internship) to get some on-the-job learning experience, or to bulk up your resume.
You should definitely begin by asking your parents’ friends for suggestions for places to look. You can also do some online research to find local businesses doing the kind of work that interests you.
Remember that doing unpaid work doesn’t mean doing unprofessional work: Dress to your professional best, and take copies of your (one-page, highly proofread) resume directly to these organizations. Politely ask if any part-time unpaid internship work is available - and if not, ask if they might have a suggestion where else you could look.
From asking your parent’s friends to speaking with people when inquiring for work opportunities, finding the work you want centers around relationship building – so make a great first impression, ask for what you want and eventually this will lead to doors opening.
The same advice goes for seeking paid work: Canvas local businesses, especially ones in the fields that interest you, because your enthusiasm will be that much more genuine. You will dramatically increase your chances of being hired if you’re reasonably mobile---either having access to a car, or public transportation---and look for part-time work in person instead of sending out resumes via email.
Cobbling together two or three part-time jobs from different businesses means you won’t be asking any one company to pay you full time, which is much easier for a small business to take on, and you will have more variety of experiences as well!
If you’ve tried targeting specific kinds of businesses that interest you, but haven’t had any luck yet, don’t give up! Cast a wider net and check out the shops near you. Even if they don’t have work available, local shopkeepers who know you are far more likely to give you suggestions where else you might look.
If you still have trouble finding work, another strategy is to offer to work at a business without pay for a week, to show an employer how hard you work, and then to negotiate for pay.
Don’t get discouraged! At first, you may find that opportunities in your area are hard to come by. But perseverance pays off. A man named Richard Lathrop said that looking for work often looks like this: NO NO NO NO NO NO YES. Remember that each “no” gets you closer to a “yes,” so keep on trying.