For many of you, a counselor role at a day camp is the first time you’ve had a job. It is also the first time you’ve had to submit a cover letter or resume, as well as have an interview. It can be a daunting experience as you battle your nerves and attempt to market yourself to a potential employer. In order to help you be successful, the following are our top 3 recommendations for applying for a camp job.
Create a one-page resume
Your resume should be no longer than one-page and should accurately present your most recent work and educational experience. Camp Directors receive hundreds of resumes every winter, so you want yours to not only stand out, but also be read in its entirety. The information provided should be up-to-date, current, and most importantly relevant. Describe your previous experience which relates to day camps, such as working at an after-school program, being a CIT at an overnight camp, or volunteering to coach your sibling’s baseball team. “We often receive resumes that highlight a candidate’s computer or music skills. This might be interesting to mention in an interview, but it’s not the most relevant for a camp counselor position,” says Jonathan Isaac – Director of True North Sports Camps.
Write a unique email and cover letter
Candidates frequently send us their resumes in an email that contain no text and without attaching a cover letter. Not only is this not a professional way to communicate, it also suggests you are immature and projects a ‘casual’ attitude. Always be sure to create a unique cover letter addressed to the correct employer (Do not send the same cover letter for every job!) and write a brief email explaining that you are interested in the job and that your resume is attached. “We have had applicants in the past who address their cover letters to our competitors! While they may have a lot of experience, it is our first filter for not granting an interview,” comments Jeremy Weisz – Co-Owner of True North Sports Camps and North Toronto Baseball Camp. Search the camp’s website for who to address your application to, and if you cannot find a specific contact write “To whom it may concern”. This email is your first interaction with your company, so you want to leave them with a positive impression.
Prepare for your interview
Come to the interview prepared. Make sure you arrive on-time (Aim to be early just to be safe) and bring multiple copies of your resume. In advance of the interview, think about some of the common questions the employer may ask and how you would answer them. For example, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”, “How would you handle a challenging camper?” and “Why are you the best fit for the job?”. Have a parent or friend ask you them, too, so you can practice saying the answers aloud. Lastly, do some research on the camp by looking through their website and be ready to ask 2 to 3 questions about their program that demonstrate your interest in working for them.
Most importantly, be yourself, be confident, and be prepared. The more times you interview, the more comfortable you will get.