By Alisa Brantz
The Sheridan Press
SHERIDAN — The reality of the modern day is that for most students, summer vacation is not actually a vacation at all. While some kids are planning road trips or trips to the pool, others are planning for the summer in a much different way — job hunting.
Summer jobs are often a necessity for high school students but with the variety of opportunities present throughout Sheridan County, they need not be a necessity for them to dread.
Before giving up on the idea of a fun summer or giving in to the idea of spending your summer doing something that makes you miserable, use the variety of resources available to help you find your perfect summer job.
What’s out there?
Most people know about the ice cream stand at Kendrick Park, many think of the lifeguards at one of the seasonal pools and the old fall back of fast food calls to many, but what else is out there?
The Sheridan Recreation District is just one of the many places hiring a variety of interesting positions this summer.
Through them, a student may find themselves spending the summer larviciding ponds for mosquito control, doing park maintenance like mowing the lawn, serving as score keeper, referee or even coach at a ball game or even working on a youth instructional program.
“Find something you like to do,” Recreation District Executive Director Richard Wright said. “What happens with a lot of young people is they only think of the money end of it but we’ll often have someone work for a week or two and then find out they don’t like being outdoors, or like what they’re doing and they leave, so they need to have some passion for what they are doing.”
In addition to finding interesting jobs, students can look to unexpected places and find openings.
The Sheridan Senior Center, for example, is seeking temporary help that will include not only pay but also provides a living stipend and cash voucher for education training.
The Sheridan County YMCA, though not a seasonal operation, often has openings over the summer due to employees that are also college students returning home for their break.
All of these jobs have been listed in The Sheridan Press classifieds for easy locating and some of them have been posted online as well.
By thinking outside the box in terms of the organization you are approaching as well as the position you are filling, the possibilities are endless.
How do I get hired?
Many students seeking their first or second summer job have anxiety over the application and hiring process.
Diane Ballek, associate executive director at the YMCA, said other than job specific requirements, there are things she is looking for when hiring a student.
“We look for students that have bright eyes, a smile on their face and have an interest in the work of the Y,” she said. “We look for people who have shown that they can be responsible, that they love to learn and want to make an impact in kids’ lives, especially.”
Wright said for him, it comes down to how the students present themselves.
“We look for kids that are serious about the job and take the time to fill out the application correctly,” he said. “If they come into the office, are they dressed appropriately? Casual clothes are fine but just be clean and neat.”
Many places offer online applications but often recommend coming to the office and filling it out face-to-face.
Resumes are not required but if you intend to bring one, have someone check it for typos beforehand.
Many Sheridan County high schools offer personal help with drafting resumes, practicing interviews and filling out job applications.
At Sheridan High School, Kathleen Pilch has a folder full of applications for current or on-going job openings she hands out to students seeking work.
“I encourage students to apply for jobs even when they aren’t hiring so the business knows to call if something opens up,” she said.
Pilch said that though career preparation classes and mandatory career portfolios have prepared many of the students already, younger students and first-time job-seekers often ask for help and she and other advisors at other area schools are more than willing to help.