Dear QB: How can I find a summer job to help pay for college?

DearQBIf you have already received your financial aid package, you may have seen the term “Summer Work Contribution,” which is a common component of financial aid. This is the amount of money you are expected to save this upcoming summer to bring with you to college.

Why is this so important? Well, this money is your responsibility to earn. Be sure to arrive on campus with this money on hand or else you will be short during the year. Here are a few tips to make sure you stay on track to earn your summer work contribution:

Prepare your resume

Now is a great time to start creating or polishing your resume, which you can build upon for years to come! If you don’t have any prior work experience, you may be wondering what you can put on your resume. Start by listing your name and contact information, as well as your high school. Other possible things to highlight include awards, special skills, volunteer work, extracurricular activities, or hobbies and interests.

Whether you already have one or are starting from scratch, you can use your QuestBridge application to fill in any missing gaps. For example, you can use the Activities section of your application to highlight leadership or volunteer positions you have held!

Search for jobs before the summer begins

Don’t wait until summer begins to start your job search. Many places that offer summer positions (ice cream shops, amusement parks, etc.) will start posting open positions in the early spring, so keep an eye out! Better yet, be proactive and get in touch with places you know will have seasonal positions to inquire about upcoming openings.

Not sure where to start your search? Talk with those around you, including family, friends, counselors, and teachers. Tell them what you’re looking for so they can keep an eye out as well. And remember that resume you made? Hand out extra copies to your connections in case they can put you in touch with people who can help you find a job.

Be flexible

In an ideal world, your job the summer before college would line up perfectly with your intended major or interests. However, in most instances, the easiest temporary jobs to find are far from your career goals — and that’s okay! Once you’re in college, there will be many opportunities to secure a job that is more in line with your career goals. Remember that your Summer Work Contribution will help fund the education you’ll be receiving to eventually land that dream job.

Want to hear from someone who has been in your shoes? Linzi, a QuestBridge Scholar who recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, got creative and worked as a cashier and bus girl when she couldn’t find anything related to her field. “I actually found a restaurant job online. I was careful to make sure it was legitimate, but there is plenty of work that way now too,” she said.

Linzi also noted that openings for app-driven car-sharing and food delivery services are a good option. “It’s important to be flexible and creative when looking for work to cover that contribution,” she said.