How to Make the Right Summer Job and Employee Benefit Choices

Getting a Good Summer Job Offer That Includes Above-Average Benefits

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Summer can be a great time to look for a part-time or temporary job. It’s also a time when new college grads traditionally find paid internships that can lead to long-term employment with top organizations.

But according to a 2018 study performed by the Pew Research Center, the number of teens working summer jobs has plummeted since 2000. Only about 35% held summer jobs in 2017. The same study revealed that 5.7 million working-age teens were employed in June 2018, compared to 8.1 million in May 2000.

Researchers indicate that there are fewer entry-level jobs available these days, and many students are grabbing unpaid internships rather than no internships at all. Competition for positions can be fierce, but that's not to say that you have to give up on benefits. You just have to figure out who's offering what and plan your job hunt accordingly.

Outstanding Benefits and Perks 

Smart job seekers should look for jobs that not only offer great starting pay and the opportunity to eventually be hired full time but also with companies that are known for offering unique employee benefits and perks. For example, many summer jobs offer flexible work schedules, the chance to work outdoors, free admission to state parks and amusement centers, free food and beverages, and free movie passes.

Some companies offer many of the same money-saving benefits to part-time and summer workers as they do to full-time regular employees. Organizations have learned that it's far better to offer cost-effective benefits to new hires in the hope of retaining them for the long term rather than deal with high rates of turnover. Summer employees can be a valuable source of talent for any company. 

Internships and College Credits

College credits and professional credit units are always good incentives for those who are still developing their careers. An added bonus comes when the job actually pays something, too. Thousands of students take on internships that offer either stipends, bonuses, or hourly wages each year, on top of issuing college credits for learning. 

Other Perks

Employers offer a number of free and low-cost employee benefits to summer hires. These can range from onsite daycare for working parents, free wellness benefits and fitness support, corporate discount programs for regional services, family events, and more. 

Getting the Best Summer Job Offers With Benefits 

Create a resume designed for your summer job search as early in the year as possible, and leverage your skills. Your resume should highlight your best qualities, your career goals, and your achievements. If you've held other summer jobs in the past, say so.

Access summer job opportunities through online job boards and job-matching services. Many pre-screen resumes for content to increase your chances of being reviewed by a recruiting company.

Connect with community job placement services about new opportunities with area companies, and use your social networks to build connections with recruiters. 

Negotiating for the Best Summer Employee Benefits

You probably won't see many benefits announced in advertisements as you review job postings for summer jobs, but this doesn't necessarily mean that they are without benefits. It just means that you'll be presented with the information during the interview phase—if you ask.

Many employers assume that only full-time, permanent employees will inquire about benefits.

Review the Company Career Portal

It’s always a good practice to review the company's website when you're applying for summer work, particularly the career portal. Not only will you see information about current job postings, but you'll find information about the corporate culture and any benefits that are offered to employees.

Email to the company or call and inquire about benefits for summer hires if you don't see this information. A good point of contact in the human resource or benefits administrative office should be able to shed light on any summer employee benefits or perks offered. 

Get Inside Information From Current Employees

Job seekers can also learn more about companies' summer benefits by using their social networks to talk with current employees. LinkedIn and Glassdoor can be good sources for this type of information. Find out what benefits are most commonly offered to employees and use this information to negotiate for the best benefits if you can get an interview.

Understand that some benefits might not apply to part-time workers, interns or those on temporary contracts. Different benefits might be offered to those working under these arrangements. 

Find Support From a Temp Staffing Agency

Some companies turn to staffing agencies to locate talent during the summer months. Register with temp agencies to take advantage of this practice and indicate to the staffing team that you're looking for a job with maximum benefit potential.

Create a goal around your need for benefits. Maybe you're trying to find a way to pay down debt, so benefits that help you put away extra funds in a company-matched savings plan would be ideal. Or you might find a company that offers the chance to reduce costs for travel with a company discount plan if your goal is to take a vacation later in the year.

Staffing agencies regularly negotiate for the best salary and benefits for candidates, so they'll effectively do the work for you.

Ask for the Benefits You Want 

Experts in recruitment suggest it’s a good idea to head into interviews with a list of questions you want to ask. Make sure that at least one of your questions focuses on employee benefits. Ask what's available for summer employees and if you can take advantage of any of the perks that regular full-time employees enjoy.

You can direct the conversation around one of your personal goals to make your questions seem more logical. 

Remember, Benefits Aren't Mandatory

Employee benefits are offered by companies to make the work experience more productive and healthier for employees. They're not mandatory, except for those that fall under current health insurance and retirement savings plan laws.

Take advantage of those that are offered to you because this is an added bonus of being employed in the summer.