Good (& Bad) News for Summer Job Seekers
With the warm weather comes plenty of good news for recent graduates, those seeking supplemental income, or job seekers taking advantage of the season’s expanding opportunities. Those interested in summer employment can bask in the benefit of a favorable job market in Maine and New Hampshire.
But every silver lining is the result of a cloud, and this year in particular delivers good and bad in equal measure, putting a wrench in the works for some of us who dream of slipping into the perfect summer job effortlessly. Don’t be taken by surprise – we weigh the good with the bad so you’ll be prepared for a bright job future when the sun shines.
Summer Job Seekers: The Good News
⇑ Hitting the pavement this spring? Opportunity may be on your side. Here in the state of Maine, the unemployment rate continues to decline. March saw the lowest jobless numbers the state has seen since 2001, according to the Maine Department of Labor. They’ve even set an all-time record for the number of openings posted on its job listing website.
⇑ In Maine and New Hampshire, fun, diverse summer job opportunities multiply. Tourism, hospitality, and retail employers ramp up their work force, while outdoor work, jobs at camps, recreational areas, and amusement parks add jobs in the thousands. Farm jobs, house painting, and housesitting employment are numerous in this area as well – they make great jobs for young people, and can be excellent resume builders.
⇑ Youth programs that help prepare young people for the job market are getting extra attention in 2017 as a result of federal programs. In 2016, the emphasis on prepping and placing new workers has already begun. In Maine and New Hampshire, nationwide job programs aimed at grads and workshops help with the job search process, and spring job fairs are in full swing, providing support for those with newly-inked resumes.
⇑ Summer jobs have perks. Retail discounts, working in the outdoors and in nature, enjoyable work with a clear exit strategy – it’s all part of the summer job experience. It’s a way to meet new people, explore potential careers without a commitment, and gain valuable references for future job searches – perennial good news for summer job seekers.
⇑ Seeking a summer internship? Enjoy more good news. Expectations of free labor from overworked interns is no longer the norm. Today, interns can demand a little more than just kudos in the company newsletter. Paid internships are common, and many pay more than minimum wage. Look for internship opportunities in unlikely places such as aquariums, cultural hot spots like theaters or museums, TV stations, and environmental organizations. Or, ask if your favorite business or organization needs a blogger or help with their social media. Internships in these areas are hitting their height.
Summer Job Seekers: The Not-So-Good News
⇓ For younger workers, the summer job search isn’t all fun and games. There are more people in their 50s and 60s in the work force than ever before, particularly in Maine. (The younger workforce here is smaller as well.) If you are a first-time job seeker, don’t be surprised if your competition is someone older and more experienced regardless of the season.
⇓ Mature workers will face challenges this year as well. A growing emphasis on programs that help young job seekers gain experience may leave them in the cold when 2016 grads hit the job market. Often, the experience mature workers bring to the table is less valued when it comes to short-term summer employment, adding to their challenges.
⇓ We’ve heard the good news about low unemployment rates. But labor market figures don’t always tell the story of underemployment and regional job losses. And, in Maine and parts of New England, large employers that once served as dependable resume drop spots may not be in a position to add summer positions while they are facing cuts in their permanent labor force.
⇒ The early bird gets the worm when it comes to summer employment. By the time June rolls around, many jobs have taken flight. Competition for summer jobs peaks in June, so spring is the time to make inquiries to secure the best opportunity to feather your nest.
⇒ Finally, if you’re a graduate or seeking a first job this summer, you don’t have to be a Debbie Downer – there’s plenty of good news when it comes to securing one. But you may have to keep expectations in check. Summer jobs can fill pockets or be a chance to kick back in a job you love – but they are rarely both. Decide whether you’re more focused on saving up for the winter ahead, or you’re OK sacrificing earnings or new skills to pursue that dream summer job. Beach patrol, perhaps?