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August 12, 2014 at 1:00 AM

How to stretch a summer job into a full-time profession

The back-to-school sales are in full force this week. While this is a happy thought for a lot of harried parents, it can be a tense time for those who have summer jobs or internships that are nearing their inevitable conclusions.

Usually, these seasonal positions evaporate after Labor Day, like shave ice on a hot Bumbershoot sidewalk. But there are some cases in which full-time positions become available in the fall, and a standout temporary worker can be a perfect fit — provided you follow some established rules of good summertime behavior.

Be punctual. Director Woody Allen once said that “80 percent of success is showing up.” This is especially true in seasonal work, where many of the jobs are held by young people who have not yet reached the level of maturity required for being on time. If you have a spotless attendance record so far, keep it up and show your willingness to put in extra hours. You’re probably already ahead of the pack.

Make a record of your work. Often, those holding summer jobs become the “jack of all trades” around the office, doing lots of odd jobs on short notice. The details about how this work was executed can easily get lost in the shuffle, so keep a detailed account of your daily tasks. When the time comes to justify your continued tenure, having a written record of your accomplishments can give you an edge.

Create a demand. Show your bosses why your skills are too good to pass up. Build your personal brand by volunteering to take on extra tasks, such as redesigning a website, creating a newsletter or adding a social media component to the company’s marketing efforts. Perhaps there’s a way to contribute in another department. If you have good ideas and can prove that you have more up your sleeve, the company might be more likely to find some room in the budget to keep you on.

Speak up for yourself. Sometimes it’s the little, obvious tactics that can make a difference. As your internship or seasonal job nears its end, make sure your boss and co-workers know that you’re interested in staying on. Spend the rest of August polishing your brand and networking around the office. Ask what it will take for you to extend your work at the company, and be sure to meet or exceed those goals. The worst they can do is say no.

Randy Woods is a writer and editor in the Puget Sound business publishing arena and a veteran of the local job-search scene. Email him at

More in Work Life Blog | Topics: branding, entry level, internships, networking, self-promotion

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Blog contributors

Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.

Randy Woods Writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.

Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.

Former contributors

Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant.

Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."

Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.

Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.


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