Ah, Christmas break – time to sit back, relax and … look for a summer job?

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2014. Some of the stats may be a little out of date, but the sentiment remains. It’s never too early to find the right summer job or internship. You don’t want to make it into summer without a plan and you have to take the first position offered.

While it may feel like an exaggeration to start searching, applying, and correcting your resume four months early (ideally, not in that order), it really isn’t. Before you know it, the winter semester becomes a whirlwind of assignments and papers, and job search is pushed into the background. According to the Canadian Education Project, 57.2% of people look for summer work in April or later, while only 6.8% look for work in January or earlier. Ergo, early applications mean less competition and more job opportunities. Glob.

Last year I got to the ball early and spent an hour or two every day during the Christmas break browsing construction sites. At the end of March, I had the choice between two very attractive job offers – which was much better than the mid-April puzzle I had been exposed to in previous years.

Why now?

Lots of summer student jobs, especially government jobs and those killer internships that we all want to get our hands on between January and late March. Full-time, higher-salary jobs are often hired early, so those who wait get the high-revenue part-time jobs. Over 30% of students worked less than 20 hours a week in 2009, and only 34% achieved 40 hours or more. Spending a few days browsing the construction sites over the Christmas break (the one time of year you actually have a second to spare) will ensure you don’t miss the boat on some of the best student jobs. Make a note of the application deadlines on your phone’s calendar so that you don’t forget to submit your CV before the application deadline.

Where to look

Seriously, there are some incredibly great student jobs out there; It’s just about knowing where to look for them. Employers looking to hire students often look for us in the places we already are. If you like companies that you work for on Facebook or that you want to follow on LinkedIn or Instagram, this is a great insight into the skills you’re looking for and is often the first place jobs are posted before the job boards . It also gives you insight into the company culture by posting and sharing.

I’ve gotten more than one appearance from posts on Twitter and Facebook.

If you haven’t created a LinkedIn account yet, or you created one a few years ago and log in every six months, it’s time to spice up the baby and connect. Joining groups on LinkedIn is a good place to connect. Start by adding your school and any extracurricular groups you are part of (oh, and don’t forget to follow SLN while you’re at it!). LinkedIn is a great place to find jobs that will take you from that retail experience to a career in your field.

Try to redirect your newly sharpened skills towards your job search as your internet scouring skills are in tip-top shape after spending the last month putting off your studies for the finals. Some great job sites for students looking to gain experience in specific fields include:

Another option when looking for a summer job, internship, or even a full-time job after graduation is the often underutilized career services at your school. They may offer help with your résumé, host (virtual) career fairs, or give you some insight on how to get the most out of these programs, into which we all put our blood and tears. Most of the time, these services are also available to younger graduates. So while you feel ready to kiss your school goodbye forever after graduation, stay connected after they give you that cute, sweet piece of paper in your hat and dress.

Hilary Hoogsteen

Hilary Hoogsteen is a third year environmental sciences student at Simon Fraser University. She takes full advantage of BC’s natural playground and spends the dreaded winter months on her snowboard and summer on the beach.

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