Category Archives: summer employment

Signing Letter

Questions Answered: Whom should I ask to write recommendation letters?

Signing LetterQuestion: I’m applying for a summer research job for students at a college near my home. I’m a sophomore bio major and I worked at a lab in my own college during the fall and the job sounds pretty interesting but I’m nervous cause I haven’t had to apply to anything like this before. The application says to give 4 letters of recommendation plus an essay. I don’t know who to get to write letters. I have a coach I can ask. Would it be bad to ask my high school guidance counselor? He knew me pretty well, but I haven’t seen him in more than two years. And where should I get the fourth letter? I don’t know too many people back home anymore. ~ Abby T., Tempe, AZ

Answer: A summer research opportunity can be a very beneficial experience, especially if it is doing work that you might want to do long-term. Typically, colleges ask for letters of recommendation from people who have observed your work, and even better, people who have supervised your work. Ideally, these are people who have seen your research ability and can speak knowledgeably about your capacity to conduct research. Most colleges also typically prefer to see letters written by faculty. You mentioned working at a lab at your college. Would the supervisor at your college’s lab be willing to write you a strong letter of recommendation? Perhaps you could also ask a biology professor who is familiar with your work? Do you have any other professors who have observed your research or academic work? Even a letter written by a faculty member from a different department who can write a strong letter on your behalf can be powerful. If you can get three of the four letters written by faculty at your own college, that would be good. A current work supervisor of a campus job would also be a good person to ask to write a letter.

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Getting the Most Out of Your Summer Job

We had the opportunity to interview Annie Favreau of to find out how high school and college students can get the most out of summer employment.

SC: Aside from summer camps and retail, what are some other popular summer jobs for college students?

AF: Some of the best summer jobs can be found at your college or university. For example, you could work in the dorms as a resident assistant, or help troubleshoot computers as an IT tech. If you’re more of an outdoorsy type, you could join a landscaping crew. It’s tough work, but you’ll spend the summer in the sunshine. Another option that will get you on your feet is working as a nanny. No matter what you choose, a summer job can be a great way to get some experience and earn some cash.

SC: What are the pros and cons of taking summer jobs vs. internships?

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Resumes for High School Students

Whether you’re applying for a summer job, preparing college applications, or just writing one for a class assignment, it’s more and more common for high school students to need a resume. But, have you run into any of these issues as you start writing?

  1. most of the resume examples available are for experienced professionals or college students
  2. you probably don’t have much, if any, relevant work experience – yet
  3. you have skills you could offer different employers, but you’re not sure how to describe them

Understand the Purpose of the Resume
A lot of people think that a resume will get them a job, but in truth, a resume’s purpose is to get you an interview. Most employers only take 15-20 seconds to scan a resume! They are usually looking for some key terms, skills, abilities and experience that suggest to them that you could do the job they want you to do. If you catch their attention in those first 15-20 seconds, they will probably take a much closer look at your resume, then may ask you to come in for an interview. So you need to make sure you catch their attention, and fast! But how? Emphasize the skills and abilities you have by highlighting them close to the top of your resume. After all, we read from top to bottom, and left to right. So anything you want to highlight should appear close to the top of the document; within individual phrases, keep relevant information closest to the left side of the page. Also keep in mind that your resume will be most effective if you tailor it to each position you’re applying for. At the very least, prepare tailored resumes for each type of position, i.e. retail, life guarding, education, summer camp, etc.

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Checklist for How to Make Smart Use of Your Summer

Guest Author: Dr. Debi Yohn
Author Website:

15 Ideas for Using Your Summer to Build your Resume

Do you have a college student in your house? What are their plans for this summer? Now is the time to be making summer plans so the summer is productive. Don’t kid yourself, by June, the good jobs are GONE.

Think creatively and have your student think of ways to build their resume. Use the summer to get a jump start on college course work, to have a volunteer experience, or have a work experience.

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