Summer job market heats up as students head home

Armon Siadat

The summer job market in the Evansville area is brimming with opportunity, yet many college students are stressing over finding a part time job.

Meliyah Harris, a freshman marketing and graphic design major, is looking for summer employment.

“It’s so stressful,” she said. “I can’t find many places that are hiring.”

Phil Parker, USI’s Office of Career Services and Placement director, said he feels the summer job market is “balanced.”

“It’s not an overwhelming amount of openings that we can see through the Career Center,” he said.

The Career Center, however, does not keep track of how many students take on summer jobs since the university does not require students to inform Career Services every time they take one on.

“As with any job search, students are going to have to work to find them,” he said.

Students looking for summer jobs may not have to look too hard, though. With only about 46 percent of working college students staying in their current positions and working through the summer, many Evansville-area businesses are looking for summer help.

The West Side Buffalo Wild Wings has a staff primarily made up of college students. Of the 80 percent of its staff that are currently enrolled in a university, only 40 percent will stay on through the summer. Many other businesses, on both the East and West Sides of Evansville, are seeing similar trends.

Dan Williams, AMC Evansville 16 manager, said he is currently hiring summer help to replace the 30 percent of his staff that will not be working at the theater during summer break.

When hiring college students for summer jobs, the qualifications for the position and the qualities of the applicant that employers are looking for are unique to each manager.

“We’re looking for someone who is going to be an asset to the company,” Williams said. “We look at how well you respond to interview questions and how well you retain information given to you.” He also looks at past work experience.

Other businesses, such as Old Chicago on the East Side and Papa John’s on the West Side, also focus on an applicant’s past work experience. Both businesses are currently hiring summer staff.

Nicole Clifford, manager of the east side Logan’s Roadhouse, focuses more on an applicant’s personality than she does on his or her past work experience when hiring new staff members.

“We look for upbeat, positive and confident people that can walk up and start a conversation with guests,” she said. “You can teach someone to serve, but you can’t teach them personality.”

While an applicant’s personality is also one of the biggest factors taken into consideration by the West Side Logan’s Roadhouse, the steakhouse is primarily looking for availability.

Both Logan’s Roadhouse locations are currently hiring summer staff for all positions. The West-Side location is hiring 12 to 15 new staff members, while the East-Side location will have at least seven positions available.

Logan’s Roadhouse, as well as other businesses such as Starbucks and O’Charley’s, offers current employees transfer programs for the summer. If a student works at O’Charley’s, for example, he or she can transfer and work at their hometown O’Charley’s, and then transfer back once the new semester begins.

For additional help finding a summer job or internship, Parker suggests students utilize Eagle Career Launch, an online job listing and recruiting system exclusively for USI students and alumni.