5 tips for finding a summer job

With summer break approaching, unless you're spending months in carefree bliss, the hunt for decent employment is on.

Young person sitting across from older person examining their resume Photo: Tima Miroshnichenko

Perhaps your job from last year isn’t what you're looking for, or maybe you’d like to start finding employment that will help you further in your career. Regardless, finding job postings and “help wanted” ads can be difficult, and that’s not to mention the stress of actually going through the hiring process. To help you out, I’ve listed some tips and tricks that friends and I have used when looking to make good money over summer vacation.


Use myCareer to find on-campus employment

MyCareer is Dalhousie’s job database. Plenty of on-campus jobs are posted there, from research positions to office work and everything in between. To see what’s available, visit mycareer.dal.ca, log in under “Student,” click "Career Services" in the side menu, then click "Job Postings." You can filter your search for options like full-time or part-time, by campus, by field, etc. 2023 summer jobs are already being posted, so now is a great time to start your search!


Use Indeed for jobs outside of Dal

I’m sure many of you have already heard about this job-searching site, but for those who haven’t, here’s a quick run-down. Indeed is a customizable database that helps narrow down the huge pool of job postings to a list that fits your exact needs and wants. Like myCareer, you can filter based on your preferences. Not only can this ensure you find a job near your home, but you can also find one that suits your skill set best.

Maybe you study finance and you’d like to find a summer job that will help in your future career. All you have to do is enter 'finance' into the search bar along with your desired location, and any jobs fitting your request will appear. This can also be a great site to use if you’re looking for internships (paid or unpaid). To do this, just enter “internship” alongside your desired field in the search bar. Then make sure to read the description of each job to ensure it's a summer position and discover whether it’s a paid position or not.


Apply everywhere

If you’re less concerned with what the job is and more focused on income, my biggest tip is to apply everywhere, even if it's for a job that seems out of your usual skill set. For instance, I study English and history, and yet last summer I worked at an insurance company. Even if a job doesn’t appear to align with what you study, it can still teach you important skills that may help you in the future.

Remember, you can turn down job offers! The more jobs you apply to, the better chance you have at not only getting an offer but having the choice of where you’d like to work. You can compare and contrast wages, benefits, and environment, to better your chance of working at a place you’ll actually enjoy.


Update your resume

It may seem obvious but spending a little time sprucing up your resume can help you stand out amongst the crowd of other potential candidates. If you’re looking for a place to start, you can check out the resume templates on Google Docs or Microsoft Word. Templates can give you an idea of what employers may be looking for and how to clearly organize your information so it’s easy to read. Also, don’t forget to update your skills with those you’ve learned while at school! You can meet with a peer advisor at the Bissett Student Success Centre to have them look over your resume.


Write a cover letter

Depending on the job you apply for, they may ask you for a cover letter. Sometimes, this request is mandatory, and other times it's just a suggestion. Though the extra work can draw out the application process, I recommend submitting a cover letter for every job you apply for unless stated otherwise. Writing one helps you contextualize your resume and share more about yourself with your potential employer. Just like resumes, you can find a bunch of templates online that can help show you the kind of information you should include and the best way to organize it. Dalhousie’s career resources are a good place to start.


No matter how you go about it, job hunts can be exhausting. One of the hardest parts about the application process is putting in all the work and never getting a response, especially if it was for a job you really wanted. Just remember that job postings will come and go, but you’ll eventually come upon the opportunity that you’ve been looking for. Good luck!