Local and Creative Summer Jobs for College Students

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Summer jobs are a rite of passage for high school, college, and university students. Some prefer the more traditional jobs, while others seek more unique experiences or prefer to be their own boss. Whichever approach they choose, students are often looking to make some extra money to help pay for school, have some spending money, or to pay other bills they might have. If you’re a student who is looking for income, below are some options for you to consider this summer. It’s also important to note that you don’t have to do just one thing, you could combine several different part-time jobs to create the income, savings, and summer you’ll most enjoy.

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Best Internship Positions


Finding an intern position can seem like a daunting task, but there are things you can do to make the search easier and more successful. First, start out by discussing this with your college professors. If you are in a major that requires an internship program in order to graduate, your professors probably already have established relationships with local organizations that take on internships in your field. If this has not taken place or you need to complete an internship in another geographic location, check for organizations that work in your chosen field and inquire into the internship process.

Facebook, Google, Apple, All the Big Ones


Getting an internship with a major corporation is a coup. It can set you up for a successful career, whether you stay with that company or move on to another. However, getting internships with companies such as Google, Apple, or Facebook can be a difficult task because the competition is fierce, but if the opportunity to apply presents itself, you shouldn’t hesitate to attempt to land an internship with one these well-known companies. Corporations often offer internships during the summer months, so pay close attention to company’s public relations pages for announcements regarding internships and the application process. You should also be prepared for what could be a lengthy and complicated application process, and have references and objectives lined up and figured out in advance so you’re ready for whatever the company might throw at you during a job interview.

Any Internship in Your Chosen Field, With High Interaction


Some internships consist of getting coffee, making a million copies, and doing menial office work while quietly observing the goings-on of an office. Other internships, however, allow interns to really take part in the daily operations of the organization. Whichever the case may be, getting to intern for a company for which you would like to one day work is a great way to get a feel for the company and the job and ascertain if it might be a good fit for you. It’s also a way for the company to determine whether you are a viable candidate for hire as well. Many companies hire people who have interned for them previously, so even if all you did was make coffee and answer the phones, doing so might be enough to get you hired. However, if you are interested in getting some real work under your belt and perhaps adding to your portfolio, keep your eyes open for high interaction internships, where you get to be a part of the team and do a lot more on the job training, rather than learning everyone’s coffee preferences.

Top Traditional Local Summer Jobs


If you’re going home for the summer, it makes sense to find a job near your home. Many places hire additional help during the summer or are often short-staffed and look forward to having more options for employees when college students return home. Other businesses are seasonal and therefore do most of their hiring in the summer months, such as plant nurseries. If you know you want to work over your summer vacation, you might want to put some feelers out in your local area while you are home for winter or spring break. It’s a good way to jump ahead of the competition to grab seasonal positions.

Camp Counselor


During the summer, kids go to camp. Whether it’s a day camp to study music or art or a sleep-away camp, these experiences require counselors to teach and supervise the kids. If you like kids and enjoy sharing your special skills in music and art with them, this could be the perfect job for you. Counselors can make between $9 and $15 per hour, depending on the type of camp and the assignments and activities involved. If you’re looking to become a teacher, this can give you experience with your chosen age group or help you make that decision.

Lifeguard or Swim Instructor


If you’re an excellent swimmer and trained in CPR and first aid, working as a lifeguard or swim instructor could be the ideal summer job and a good way to spend some hours in the sun without feeling like you’re wasting too much time. Lifeguards help keep swimmers safe at pools and beaches, while swim instructors teach kids and adults how to swim. Lifeguards generally make around $10 per hour, while swim instructors make $12 or more per hour.

Nanny/Childcare


If you like kids, then securing a job as a nanny or as a childcare worker is something you might want to explore. Nannies are full-time caregivers for a family. The nanny takes care of the children while the parents are away at work or on vacation. Childcare workers also take care of other people’s children, but it’s more of a short-term situation and often occurs in a childcare center setting. Nannies make around $15 per hour while childcare workers make closer to $12 an hour.

Tutor


If you excel in a subject, you could work as a tutor while on summer break. Many students in high school and middle school seek help in areas such as English, history, and math. You can set an hourly wage to matches your experience, but the average tutor makes $20 per hour. To find potential clients you can use social media or contact schools in your area and let them know you’re available to tutor during the summer. This can even lead into an ongoing gig after you return to school if you find that you excel at teaching a specific subject. Most colleges are located near enough middle and high schools to let you continue finding clients who need help during the regular school year.

Your Parents Employer


If you’re looking for a place to work over the summer break to help pay for college or just to have spending money, a good place to look could be your parents’ employers. Many factories hire college students during the summer for the extra manpower and to help get other office tasks completed. For example, if your mom is an accountant, her firm could hire you to catch up the filing or data entry that tends to get thrown on the back burner during the busy tax season. Or maybe the factory where your father works hires college students to help with maintenance. I know of one truck building factory that trains and employs the children of their usual employees to provide them with great work experience and help them build their resumes. Going to work with your parents could be a good way to earn some money and not have to spend a lot of time looking for a job.

The Local Outlet Store, Mall, or Bookstore


One of the more traditional summer jobs for college students is working in retail at places such as the mall or a bookstore. These jobs are often plentiful during the summer months, so finding a job at the local department store or outlet mall may be easier than searching for the perfect internship. However, you might want to put your application in while you’re home on spring break so that you can get a jump on the competition. Retail workers make, on average, $10 per hour, though it depends on your state’s minimum wage.

A Local Restaurant


Another popular option for college students who are home for the summer looking for work is working in a restaurant. These establishments are also often looking for extra staff in the summer months. Although waitstaff don’t make a lot per hour, they can make good money through tips. Waitstaff generally make $3 to $4 per hour, but much more through tips, which can be as much as 10-20% of a total order in the best circumstances.

Plant Nursery or Landscaping Company


If you enjoy working in the soil while growing and nurturing plants and flowers, then a job in a plant nursery or in landscaping could be the perfect summer job for you. During the summer months, many nurseries need additional staff, so these jobs could be plentiful in your area. Even department stores with home and garden sections tend to have increased employment opportunities in the summer. Depending on the job, your experience, and your location, you could earn between $10 and $15 an hour planting shrubbery and maintaining flowers.

Creative Summer Jobs


If the more traditional summer jobs just aren’t out there, or you have no interest in any of them, it could be time to get creative. You could try and turn your passion into income over the summer. Or you could just think outside the box and try working in a field you never considered before. Here are some suggestions for more non-traditional summer jobs you might want to consider.

Wedding Photographer or Photography Assistant


Do you have an eye for photography and enjoy taking pictures? Do you enjoy weddings? Are you taking or considering taking photography courses while you’re in college? Then you might consider working with or becoming a wedding photographer during the summer. You’ll spend the day with a couple on their most important day and capture the moments that happen throughout. This is typically an all-day gig that could stretch well into the evening depending on what the couple wants you to cover. And, if you are new to the concept, then you might work as a wedding photographer assistant, especially if you already have some experience or a few classes under your belt. Wedding photographers make $19 per hour on average. And, if you don’t have all the equipment and choose to seek out a working photographer and offer to be their assistant, it won’t pay as well, but it’s still a decent way to make money over the summer and see if this is something you could spend more time doing.

Travel Internship/Volunteering


If needing money isn’t an issue and you are looking for a unique experience over the summer, then consider volunteering your time with an organization that needs it. Programs such as Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (aka WOOF), are always looking for people to help with farming and environmental causes throughout the world. You could also volunteer at the local hospital, animal shelter, or other location that counts on volunteers to keep their services going and may be likely to lose volunteers during the prime vacation months. It’s also a good way to explore potential future career opportunities and maybe learn about potential employers.

If you aren’t looking to volunteer, you might consider looking for a travel internship experience. These are usually limited, so you should start looking right away if this sounds like something you’d be interested in, but they are available for a wide variety of careers and may be just what you need to start your career off on the right foot. Ask your school or check online to find these unique opportunities.

House Sitter


When people leave town on a business trip or a vacation, sometimes they want someone to keep an eye on their house or stay there so it doesn’t look empty. Working as a house sitter is a good way to make some money and perhaps have a place to stay so that you can travel to a different area for a change of scenery without incurring as much expense. When looking for house sitting opportunities, you can start with friends and family who might need the service, or you can use a website such as trustedhousesitters.com and see what they have available. House sitters make an average of $15 an hour, depending on the services needed, which can range from light house cleaning, to watering plants, taking care of a pool or animals, or other needed household chores.

Pet Caretaker


If you enjoy pets and have the patience and experience in dealing with dogs and cats and other animals, hiring yourself out as a pet caretaker is an option. You can look for work on your own, or you can use a service such as Rover.com to find potential clients. How much you make can vary. For example, you could charge $20 a day to check in on a person’s pet and let them out one or twice a day, or you could charge upwards of $100 per day to house, feed, walk, and entertain the pet while the pet’s owner is away. If you plan to keep the animal in your home, be sure to look at any applicable local statutes that might require you to have a permit or file taxes as a business. You should be able to find these on your local city’s website.

Zoo Worker


Zoo workers help to maintain a zoo in every capacity. Some of them feed animals and clean their habitats, while others keep the zoo clean and organized. If zoology or another, similar animal wildlife field of study is your major, you could be tasked with other responsibilities based on that major. Offering tours and providing information to zoo visitors could also be a part of the job, as well as working concessions or in other retail areas of the zoo. Zoo workers make $11 on average, but this can also depend on your experience and what position you secure.

National Park Service Employee


Working as a national park service employee is a great way to work outdoors and help the environment. Summer jobs consist of assisting visitors with location information, picking up trash, assisting with crowd control during events, and maintaining the grounds. There could also be opportunities to work in gifts shops, restaurants, or other park businesses. You may even be able to work as a fire lookout if you are willing to spend a significant amount of time out in the wilderness and there are any positions open. The average summer employee for the national park service earns $12 per hour but this can vary depending on the park and the actual responsibilities of the particular job.

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