Working a summer job is a great experience. Not only will it give you some extra cash, but it will also help boost your résumé and build skills that could benefit your future career.

Even if you’re not planning to be a golf caddy or lifeguard for the rest of your life, learning to get along with co-workers and take direction will serve you well.

However, before you can work a summer job, you’ll need to convince someone to hire you — and competition can be tough. Seasonal employers start the hiring process in early spring, and high school students should start applying as early as possible to avoid competition from returning college students looking for work. Follow these tips to nail the interview.

Look the part

Dress for the position, and always look clean and coordinated. That means leaving the sunglasses and flip-flops at home. When in doubt, over-dressing is always better than showing up under-dressed. Also, turn off your cell phone before you walk into the building.

Do your homework

Do some research about the company and conduct research on the person who is interviewing you as well. Check out any online profiles or bios from the company website. You might learn something that will help you connect with them more easily during the interview.

Also, reread the job description so that you can reiterate to the hiring manager that you have exactly the qualifications they’re looking for. Be prepared to answer why you want to position and why you’d be a good fit by reading up on some common interview questions and practicing your responses.

Project confidence

Even if you are nervous, act as though you’re certain that you’re the best candidate for the job. Greet your interviewer with a smile and a firm handshake, and make eye contact throughout the conversation. Bring along a few printed copies of your résumé as well. The interviewer might request one, even if you’ve already sent it via e-mail.

Prepare some questions

Job interviews are a two-way street, so this is your opportunity to determine whether you’d like the position. Bring along a notebook and pen, and take notes on anything you might want to remember afterward.

Follow up

Send an e-mail or handwritten thank you note to your interviewer as soon as possible. In addition to thanking the interviewer for taking the time to meet you, use the note to highlight one key point from the interview and reiterate your interest in the position. Make sure you have a friend or parent read your response before sending to avoid spelling or grammar mistakes.