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Three tools for a successful summer job hunt

If springtime has you dreaming of a summer job that brings money and joy, it’s time to get serious about your resume and your storytelling skills.

Jobs will be available and in some beautiful places exploring National Forests or welcoming guests to  Mackinac Island . Yet they may be more competitive or less plentiful. Tourism and hospitality employment remains the worst affected of any sector: 39 percent below February 2020.

While not all employers will be hiring this year, those that will are seeking someone who will contribute to their organization – and often someone who will return the next summer or as a full-time staffer.

With that in mind, it’s time to start preparing for your summer job search.  Here are three essential tools anyone – ages 12 to 102 – needs to land a job for the summer or for longer:

Resume.  This is both a summary of your experience and skills and a sales document designed to impress a potential boss.  Read this step by step on creating a teen resume from USNews or follow this guide for creating a high school resume by job search expert Alison Doyle. Here’s a resume guide for college students. Then ask two adults to edit, proof and propose improvements to your resume.

Not all young people create resumes so those who have them stand out and seem more prepared and polished and professional.

If you have worked a few jobs or internships, you also may want to develop a LinkedIn profile  – and when you do, please follow Mint!

References.  These people who know you well may make the difference between a job offer and a polite thank you. They also are Exhibit A about why you want to impress and assist your teachers, especially those who educate in fields where you may want to work. References also may be leaders in your faith community, someone you volunteered with consistently, a family friend who you helped with tasks such as babysitting or painting a house and a former coach or club leader.

Check in with them now and update them on your plans and progress.  Find out how they prefer to be contacted and if there are any times when they are not available to give references. If you really want to be proactive, create short videos of your reference talking about you and your work ethic and share that after your interview.

Stories of your success.   Some job search experts offer tips for a great job interview. Others suggest you prepare for the most common interview questions. Those both certainly are worthwhile but the most valuable is getting comfortable with telling your story and highlighting your talents and successes.  Think up a story or three where you saved the day or solved a problem or created something beautiful or magical or impactful.

“A perfectly placed, impeccably delivered story can transport a person to a place beyond interested, straight past paying attention, and into a state of complete captivation,” said Kindra Hall, a speaker, consultant author of the book Stories That Stick. 

“You know stories will make you stand out,” she said in a video about making an exceptional first impression.  So prepare your stories and practice them so that even if you are nervous you will tell it well.

Videotape yourself telling the story so you can see how you look and sound.  Check out some of our Mint Artists videos on our YouTube channel .

Duct tape flower pens © De’Shaia Ventour

Among them is De’Shaia Ventour, who launched her duct tape accessories and art business with Mint.  She shares how much she has learned and developed – and her favorite day with Mint – in this short video.

Or imagine former Mint marketing intern Sydney Catton sharing stories from working in a coffee shop – or of chasing goats.   Sydney recently landed a full-time job and so we will soon introduce our new marketing intern here on the Mint blog.

Artists, of course, will need to create a portfolio of their work, and should create one that includes recent work and their very best pieces.  Yet these do not take the place of stories in an interview.

If you aren’t sure where to look for a summer job, follow Mint on Twitter and watch for some ideas and tips, offered every week. Or look up your city’s summer youth employment program or the parks and recreation department hiring plans. In Detroit, look at GDYT and the jobs will be virtual again this year.

If you want to apply for a summer job with Mint, read our frequently asked questions and then drop us a line!

© Vickie Elmer, 2021

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Make the most of your job interview: Interview tips for emerging creatives

If you’re searching for a creative summer job, with Mint Artists or elsewhere, get ready for job interviews. 

 These may be nerve wracking or thought provoking, frustrating or fruitful. And they are generally one key to landing a job. There’s plenty of research and advice available on job search and job interviews, some of it written by me for Fortune magazine or The Washington Post.

Most of that advice focuses on adults. This advice is aimed at young people, ages 14 to 21, who are seeking a meaningful summer job.

Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.   Read the organization’s website, blog and social media posts a day or two before your interview. Check LinkedIn and professional association websites too. This will help you ask good questions during the interview – and answer a likely question: Why do you want to work here?   Hint: Find something you like, and be honest. But don’t say you want to earn money, that’s not a great answer, according to The Balance Careers.  Choose your clothing ahead of time (and go more professional and net, even for creative jobs) and select a notebook to take with you.

Practice your answers.  Mock interviews or speed interviews are worthwhile, or ask your favorite aunt to ask some interview questions. Be prepared for some offbeat questions, especially if you’re going after a creative job in a creative organization. (I’ve been known to ask candidates about their super power or what fruit they most identify with.) Review and prepare for the most common interview questions, such as this list from job search giant Indeed. It’s especially helpful to know what you will say about your best skills and strengths and your weaknesses and to practice for those tell me about how you solved a problem or rescued a project inquires. 

Connect with the interviewer.  Find out who you will interview with, and read up on them, their causes and interests. See what they share on social media, and review their professional background on LinkedIn. Jot some notes in that notebook you’re bring. And prepare a question about their career or experiences that shows you did the homework.  

And a final piece:  Listen carefully during your interview and jot notes. Your body language shows you are attentive and engaged, so drink plenty of coffee or an energy drink ahead of time and don’t slouch or avert your eyes. Smile, for research shows it helps in getting hired, except if you are interviewing for a serious job. And follow these other listening tips from Job-hunt.org .

If you are interested in interviewing for a summer job with Mint Artists, you must live in Detroit, be ages 14 to 21 and register with Grow Detroit’s Young Talent.

Our 2020 interviews are scheduled for April 7, 18 and 23 in the Mint Studios in Palmer Park. Or contact us if you cannot attend that day.

© Vickie Elmer, 2019, for Mint Artists