Students can start planning now for jobs this summer
Train Adventure: Gabrielle Nomura, who
graduated in 2010, spent a summer
as a tour guide in Alaska
Get ready for the summer job search: The Career Services Center offers an online resume builder and workshops.
We're still in the grey, soggy depths of winter, but now is the time for college students to think about summer jobs.
Summer jobs can be a great opportunity for college students to earn money to pay for school. But working during the summer can also give students some early career experience, a taste of adventure or even a chance to catch up on college credits.
Some employers are already planning ahead for the summer, posting their seasonal job listings on WWU's Student Employment Center website, says Caryn Regimbal, the center's manager. Regimbal expects more calls from summer camps, tourism companies and others from across the country looking for college student workers in the summer.
"We expect postings to increase from now through the summer," Regimbal says. "Keep checking back. We try to keep our postings as dynamic as we can."
Two career fairs, one on Feb. 10 and one on April 28, will also include employers searching for summer interns and employees, says Aaron Ignac, the Career Services Center's assistant director of operations.
"We have a lot of non-profits and a lot of adventure, recreation, hospitality, government and other types of employers coming to the February career fair," Ignac says.
Campfire Samish Council, Fred Meyer, King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, Rite Aid and Girl Scouts of Western Washington are among the organizations signed up for the Winter Career Fair that may have summer jobs available.
Many companies and organizations that run summer camps for children often contact Western from around the country to fill camp counselor positions, Regimbal says. Those are great jobs for people thinking about careers in education or human services, she says.
For another example, Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation is looking for students for its summertime park maintenance jobs. They get lots of applications for these positions, says Kathryn Hampton, the department's volunteer services coordinator who is helping to recruit seasonal employees, but the rangers would really like to hire students with a career interest in park operations.
"If being a park ranger is what you want to do, what better way to find out than to go work in park operations and find out what day to day life is really like out there," Hampton says.
While summer is a great time to take time off from school and earn money to finance the rest of the year, it's also a good time to catch up – or get ahead – on credits. Students who find a summer job close to WWU can take advantage of Summer Session, which offers six- and nine-week classes in a variety of disciplines.
Some lucky students will even find jobs on campus. New Student Services and Academic Advising hire Orientation Student Advisors and Academic Student Advisors who work throughout the summer. Applications are due online by Jan. 28.
Some departments may also have summer employment opportunities for students, Regimbal says, particularly for students who are already employed there.
While there is a "Summer Jobs" category on the Student Employment Center's website, Regimbal recommends searching for seasonal work in all categories listed on the website.
As with any job search, and particularly during a sluggish economy, flexibility is key. Be prepared to string together a few part-time jobs if a full-time position doesn't come available, Regimbal says.