For many students, the sunny months of summer break are an important time to work between semesters. Some extra money from a summer job can help pay off tuition or student loans, and summer work experience can load a resume with great skills.
Whether it’s the first time your student is applying for work, or they’ve been employed for years, finding a summer job can be a stressful task if not prepared for the process. Here are some tips for finding (and getting) that ideal summer gig.
How to Get a Summer Job
The process of researching jobs, constructing a resume, applying for jobs, and interviewing for jobs will look different depending on the jobs your child is looking for.
Moneycrashers advises that students should prepare for interviews by researching, practicing interview answers, and having references ready.
They should also join clubs or societies, talk to upperclassmen at their university about jobs related to their major, attend career fairs, participate in networking groups, research companies, and always follow up with a note thanking the interviewer after an interview.
When Should I Start Applying for Summer Jobs?
According to an article published by The Balance Careers, deadlines for summer employment tend to vary depending on the organization, the industry, and the type of job.
Competitive application deadlines for summer jobs can be as early as November, and typically, companies and organizations hire from November to March.
What Are Good Summer Jobs for College Students?
College Magazine reports that generally, the best summer jobs for college students are in sales, digital media, retail, camp counseling, food service, childcare support, customer service, receptionist work, lifeguarding, and transportation.
What Are Good In-Person Summer Jobs for College Students?
If your student is a go-getter who loves being around people, encourage them to research one of these in-person job opportunities.
This classic job for teens and younger adults is still in high demand. Students can search their local job boards and community groups for babysitting opportunities or register with Care.com to become part of a vetted caregiving process. SitterCity is another site that connects babysitters with those needing child care.
If your student is more of a “pet parent” than a babysitter, we’ve got great news. Many of the same sites that offer childcare opportunities also connect students with those needing their dogs, cats, or ferrets watched for a time. SitterCity is one website, along with Care.com and Rover. Students should also connect with their local vet clinic or pet groomer, who can be a good source for dog walking, pet sitting, and companion care job leads.
Homes need care, too! Get your student connected with homeowners needing their places watched while they are away for a time. Tasks often include getting the mail, keeping doors secure, watering plants, or handling light cleaning and yard work. This job may even let students get some studying done while they sit at the home.
College students make the best camp counselors, as they understand younger generations and typically have summers free. Whether they choose an upscale camp that lasts all summer, or pick a week-long camp that supports families in need, most camps pay at least a small stipend. Some camps offer thousands of dollars in pay, plus room and board, and a travel stipend. Finding the right camp requires some research, so start by visiting the website of camps you know. Colleges also coordinate with these employers to bring jobs to students; ask the college work office what they’ve heard.
Whether it’s grocery, a clothing store, or that specialty shop on the corner, most retail stores need help this time of year. With flexible hours and pay that often exceeds the minimum wage, retail jobs make great opportunities for students to save up some cash. Some offer employee discounts and partial tuition reimbursement, so ask about these benefits before you apply. Visit your local store in person to ask about job opportunities, or use sites like Indeed and Monster to see who is hiring near you.
You may have thought that campus employment was limited to the school year, but many student jobs happen year-round. From the mailroom to grounds maintenance to college tours, students can often work these jobs and even get discounted room and board during the summer months while they work. These jobs are limited, and competition may be fierce, but for the student hoping to stay on campus over the summer, they offer big opportunities to earn and stay within the college community. Ask the college employment office about these jobs.
A bit of online-meets-real-world, mystery shopping jobs are flexible, and let students earn here and there. Sample jobs include ordering a restaurant meal and reporting on its quality or shopping the local suit store to take pictures of their inventory. Pay can sometimes include reimbursement of the items purchased, so if a student is needing a meal, anyway, this can really work out. Work at Home Adventures shares some vetted companies ready to hire mystery shoppers.
If you thought that all the products sitting on store shelves were put there by the employees of that store, think again. Some products get there by merchandisers hired by the brands to make sure product placement is perfect. Merchandising jobs pay around the same and mystery shopping opportunities, and the work isn’t steady. Those living in large cities will get more work than in rural areas, but it can be a quick way to make some money between jobs or social activities.
What Are Good Remote Summer Jobs for College Students?
The pandemic has made many popular summer jobs and summer internships more limited. Even though the world has opened up, and in-person employment is almost back to normal, distance or personal preference may lead some students to pursue virtual jobs. The good news is there are many remote jobs that college students can take advantage of, from part-time to freelance work.
Internships Paid and Unpaid
Does your student enjoy science, literature, space, or animals? Has your child ever expressed interest in being a part of the academic research process? Zooniverse is an online platform that “gives people of all ages and backgrounds the chance to participate in real research with over 50 active online citizen science projects,” according to its website.
Smithsonian Digital Volunteers
Is your student interested in art, history, or education? Smithsonian’s digital volunteering program could be a great fit! Smithsonian states that volunteers “take on important assignments to expand access to the Smithsonian’s massive collections, and participate in a variety of research programs. Some roles require special knowledge or skill, but many do not.”
United Nations Volunteers (UNV)
With UN Volunteers, your student can help change the world via the internet. Your child can use their talents in a variety of disciplines—including writing and editing, art and design, and translation—to contribute to charitable causes. From their website: “Online volunteers, organizations, and partners join the global push toward sustainable development. Volunteers contribute directly to the work of development organizations, working from a computer, tablet or mobile phone anywhere in the world.”
Does your student need a flexible volunteering opportunity this summer? Match their interests, schedule, and talent to an organization that needs help. According to Catchafire’s website, the platform’s mission “is to drive positive world change through giving time and talent, catalyzing a ripple effect of good.”
Translators Without Borders
Does your child speak more than one language fluently? Are they looking to engage in a real-world global language experience this summer? Translators Without Borders states, “whether you are interested in translating medical texts or translating for crisis response, there are engaging projects available to suit all preferences . . . other volunteer roles such as project manager, graphic or web page designers and fundraising are also very valuable to us.”
Is your student interested in digital or social media? Appen helps individuals find flexible, part-time jobs categorizing social media, moderating content, and other paid media-related tasks. You can find long-term and part-time projects, as well as Micro Tasks—smaller projects that can be started right away.
Monster.com is a job board that has plenty of entry-level customer-service jobs listed. Applicants can filter the thousands of available job offers by location, company, and position title. (Be sure to enter “remote” into the location field when you search.) Some of these positions are temporary and some part-time.
Gramlee, Contena, Upwork, and Wordvice
There are several websites that connect prospective clients with contractors looking for writers, copyeditors, grammar specialists, and proofreaders. Gramlee, Contena, Upwork, and Wordvice are just a few, and each platform is updated often with new writing and editing jobs that could be perfect for your college student.
LionBridge and Unbabel
Does your child speak more than one language? Platforms like LionBridge and Unbabel can connect them to a variety of language-related jobs. LionBridge connects contractors to jobs in corporate associating, rating, annotating and testing, translating, interpreting, gaming, and more. Unbabel is a leading service for translators.
Scribie is a platform that connects contractors with jobs transcribing audio and video files. To begin working, transcribers submit an application, take an online test, and begin their freelance job earning per audio hour transcribed.
Clickworker, Survey Junkie, UserTesting, Streetbees, Ferpection, TestingTime, Swagbucks and InboxDollars
Is your child open to a variety of task-related work online such as testing apps, participating in surveys, searching and categorizing data, and more? There are many platforms where your child can find tasks to earn some extra cash over the summer.
Swagbucks is a unique platform because it allows individuals to earn gift cards in compensation.
My BTLR , VaVa Virtual Assistants, Upwork
Does your child pride themself on being organized? Maybe being a virtual assistant this summer could be a great fit! My BTLR, VaVa Virtual Assistants, and Upwork are all great resources for finding virtual assisting gigs.
Tutoring can be a great option for college students interested in teaching or simply knowledgeable in a given subject. With the transition to online learning for many students, tutoring is in high demand. Check out websites like Chegg, that connect tutors to tutees of all grade levels if this sounds like a good fit.
QuadJobs , BackDoor Jobs, SummerJobs.com, CoolWorks and ZipRecruiter
Is your child still not seeing a perfect opportunity? Check out platforms like QuadJobs, Backdoor Jobs, Summerjobs.com, CoolWorks, and ZipRecruiter. QuadJobs is a platform that specifically works to connect college students with jobs, and ZipRecruiter allows for a general search for remote jobs. Backdoor Jobs, Summerjobs.com, and CoolWorks also offer short-term job opportunities for a plethora of organizations and causes.
Who Needs Help Right Now?
If your child is passionate about ensuring everyone can get the food and resources they need, groceries and pharmacies are looking for employees to help stock, and with curbside pickup and delivery. Local restaurants may need help picking up and dropping off orders. Check your local stores, as well as third-party delivery services like DoorDash and Postmates.
Your student can take note of the saying “think globally, act locally” to create positive change this summer.
Community members might be looking for a responsible tutor or babysitter. Neighbors might be looking for animal lovers to help them walk their dogs. Local camps might be looking for counselors to create a memorable summer for kids.
There are jobs out there, it might just take getting a little bit creative. Encourage your child not to give up. Remember, it only takes one yes to get things rolling.
Use College Insights to help find merit aid and schools that fit the criteria most important to your student. You’ll not only save precious time, but your student will avoid the heartache of applying to schools they aren’t likely to get into or can’t afford to attend.
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