Gustavus Career Center’s Top 10 Ideas of What to Do If You Can’t Find a Summer Job:

Posted on April 12th, 2011 by

Employers and graduate/professional schools will wonder what you did with your summers. Have something to put on your résumé and something to talk about in interviews. More importantly, get information and experiences to help you move forward with your career ideas! For information and links for these ideas, go to or stop in and visit with the Career Center staff.

1. Job Shadow: If you know what types of positions or career fields you are interested in, seek out employers and/or people to job shadow for a day or part of a day. Send a thank you note within 2 working days.

2. Informational Interviews: Find people who are doing jobs of interest to you or employers of interest to you. Call or email them and ask for a 15-30 minute conversation about their work. Dress professionally and show up on time with prepared questions. Respect their time! Send a thank you note within 2 working days.

3. Explore Careers: Learn about careers that might interest you. Check out and then head to the Career Center home page for more links to great resources.

4. Volunteer: Check out and to find volunteer opportunities. Especially a great idea if where you volunteer is connected to your career interests! Interested in the environment? Check out the Department of National Resources volunteer opportunities. Enjoy working with kids? Check with churches and youth centers. Volunteer at special events, community celebrations or local fairs. You don’t have to get paid for experiences for them to go on your résumé.

5. Learn: What skills would make you a better candidate for the careers of interest to you? Better writing? Check out The Loft Literary Center for writing classes and groups. Interested in the arts? Check out Springboard for the Arts for workshops on skills to make a living as an artist. Learn new software, create a website, or start a blog! Take a class or study on your own.

6. Study: Thinking about graduate school, law school, or medical school? This could be a great time to study for the tests needed for admission.

7. Create Job Search Tools: Write a résumé. Write a cover letter. Create a LinkedIn profile. Update your GustieJobs profile. Practice your interviewing skills on Interview Stream. Buy an interview suit.

8. Use an Agency: Temporary employment agencies are a great way to get placed into a project or temporary work for things like clerical, data entry, factory and many other types of jobs. It doesn’t cost you anything so it is worth a try! Check out, or

9. Project Work: Put the word out to family and friends that you are looking to make money. Paint a room or a house, build a fence, landscape a yard, or watch kids!

10. Follow Your Interests: If you are interested in architecture– visit great buildings! If you are interested in international cultures – visit the many cultural exhibits, celebrations and events over the summer. Interested in broadcasting? Tour TV and radio stations. Interested in the environment? Visit parks and nature areas.


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