Look around and you’ll see a lot of articles, blogs and social media posts claiming that the job market is hot — there are not enough unemployed people to fill every job that’s open in the U.S. Still, most college students find it challenging to land that first job after graduation — and especially a job they’d love.
Many students consider applying to internships, investing time in on-campus clubs and memberships, and devoting their time to volunteer opportunities as a means of building community, making money and building a resume that will position them well for their first big job.
What if I told you there was a way to do all of the above (building community, having a positive impact on the world and building your resume) and more, while also working a real job that you get paid for? That’s what it’s like working at camp! Read on to find out how.
1. Build Skills Quickly
Let’s face it: The easiest way to get your first job is to either know someone or have an impressive skill set. Fortunately, working at camp can provide you with both. Let’s start with the latter.
There are jobs for everyone at camp. You can get technical experience working in maintenance, sharpen your animal science skills, build catering and event planning experience, get real-world experience in social work and counseling, and learn the fast-moving aspects of business administration that keep the whole thing up and running.
Regardless of your desired degree and career path, there is a spot for you to prove yourself and hone your skills at camp.
2. Make Friends and Network Easily
Being able to make connections is one of the most important soft skills on any career path. Being the person who can genuinely connect with people by finding common ground is much more authentic than the old school method of “business cards only” connections. It’s a highly-valued trait in today’s job market.
More than that, the friends you make working at camp may last a lifetime, helping you through the challenges of career and family life in the future. This is your first professional network!
3. Get Professional Certifications
Professional certifications can boost your marketability, increase your skills, and widen your options when entering the workforce. The work often pays off in the long run.
Having professional certifications on your resume will not only help you stand out; certain certifications are actually required for some jobs.
Have you thought about getting a certification specific to the kind of job you’d like? Well, many camp jobs offer the opportunity for certain certifications!
Many camp employees are required to get CPR, first aid, and foodservice training and certifications. Others may get activity-specific certifications like those related to ropes courses or open-water diving.
4. Make a Positive Impact
What kind of impact can you really make? If you’re a recent graduate, start volunteering as much as you can to show a sense of character and commitment. Volunteer at a museum, a school, an organization related to your field, even volunteer with animals if you want. The more experiences you have outside of school, the easier it’ll be for employers to see what type of person you are and if they want to bring you on board. A summer spent invested at camp shows you prioritize impact and making a difference.
5. Learn to Communicate Across Cultures
Sometimes campers and staff are from the U.S. or around the world, crossing cultural boundaries. If you’re a camp counselor, you may have to deal with issues that can arise when staff and campers are from different cultures. You may also notice that your campers don’t always conform to the stereotypes of their culture that others might expect. Learning to lead and manage these conversations, by example, will serve you well in the long run.
6. Develop Your Whole Self
Working at camp is an opportunity to improve yourself physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally.
The balance between work and “life” is becoming increasingly blurry post-COVID. Having the ability to carve out time for personal development makes you a more well-rounded person. Personal development is also a huge part of what camp is all about! From hiking and swimming to prayer and quiet time, every action you take can be an intentional step toward being the person you are meant to be!