Starting about the time school lets out, many companies hire additional workers to deal with the influx of customers that the summer brings. The travel and tourism industry, for instance, really ramps up between May and September.
Summer jobs are most commonly sought by students, but anyone looking for a temporary position over the warmer months can get a summer job.
Quick Fact: According to government studies, nearly 19 million young adults, aged 16 to 24, get jobs over the summer (up from less than 2 million during the school year).
Summer jobs are available in a wide range of industries, from hospitality to agriculture to entertainment and beyond. In this guide, we'll talk about:
In other words, no matter what kind of summer job you want, we have information for you!
Summer Jobs Benefits
Of course, the main reason most people get summer jobs is the money. Even though the job is temporary, you'll still be paid (unless you volunteer), and some summer jobs, such as Alaskan fishing, pay extremely well. The money you'll receive isn't the only perk of a summer job, though. Let's take a look at some of the other benefits of getting a summer position:
- Resume Building
During the summer, working shows initiative. You can display leadership skills and responsibility, which future employers will value, no matter what the industry.
Sometimes, you can even find a job in an industry that is related to the field that truly does interest you. For example, if you're in school for fashion design, working at a clothing store during the summer makes sense, or if you have aspirations of being a celebrity chef someday, you can get your start as a busboy during the summer while you're in high school.
- Finding References
Someday, when you do apply for that job of your dreams, your potential employer will want to call references to learn more about your work ethic. The managers or bosses you had during the summer, even though the positions were temporary, make great references. Do a good job during the summer and you'll have an easier time finding a permanent job in the future.
- Transitioning into a Permanent Job
Summer jobs give you a great foot in the door when you do start looking for permanent job, which is part of the reason summer positions aren't just for students. Many companies turn to temporary workers first when trying to fill open permanent positions. If you do a good job in your temporary role, there may be a job open for you in the future, especially if you let your boss know that you're interested. Some companies don't even advertise when position are open - they just promote someone from within the company. That someone could be you.
- Exploring New Industries
Not sure what you want to do as a career? You aren't alone. Temporary positions are great for exploring your options. By working at a summer camp, you might learn that you love working with kids, inspiring you to go back to school to be a teacher. Or, by working in retail, you might learn that you enjoy talking to people, inspiring you to go back to school for public relations or human resources. Summer jobs allow you to get your feet wet, learning about an industry before you're committing to work in it long-term.
Picking the Right Summer Job for You
Summer jobs are open in just about every industry you can imagine. While some people simply take the first opening they can find (understandable in today's job market), taking a little time to find the perfect summer job for you can be beneficial.
First, think about your future goals. Summer jobs are temporary, but as we've talked about above, they can help you get a job in the future in more than one way. If you can get a job related to an industry where you'd like a permanent job in the future - even if it is the very distant future - that's a better choice than a more generic summer job that just pays the bill.
You might have to get creative. For example, let's say that in the future, you're hoping to be a brain surgeon. There aren't a lot of surgery summer jobs out there, to say the least! Instead, what about a volunteer position with a local hospital or nursing home? Or, you can consider taking a summer job working the cash register at a medical supply store. What about a lifeguard job? This will at least help you hone survival skills and you'll learn first aid and CPR. Think outside the box to find a temporary summer position that relates to your future career of choice.
Regardless of your future career goals, the best summer jobs give you a high level of responsibility. Look for attributes that will impress potential employers in the future. For example, if your summer job as a waitress has nothing to do with the job you want to do, it might still be impressive if this job includes the responsibility of depositing money at the end of the night or overseeing other waitresses as shift manager. The more responsibility, the better.
There's no one perfect summer job out there. The job that's right for you depends on your goals and desires. On the next page, we'll start your summer job hunt by looking at some of the best summer jobs you can hold across tons of different industries.
- Beyond money, summer jobs have other perks, especially in helping you find a job in the future.
- The best summer job is one that relates to your future desired career.
- Look for a job with a high level of responsibility, even if it doesn't relate to what you want to do in the future.