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How to Get a Summer Job: What You Need to Know

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated June 29, 2021

Guide Overview

What is a summer job?How to get a summer job

Guide Overview

The benefits of a summer job

For the unemployed or underemployed, a summer job can mean extra funds to meet basic needs. For youth, a summer job is an opportunity to earn some money, gain valuable experience, and receive knowledge from real-life lessons that you'll be able to apply in the future. Teachers, retired individuals, college students, and other professionals who find themselves with a little extra time during the summer months can use a summer job to explore different career options or earn some extra money. You may be wondering how to get a summer job. Learn what types of individuals look for a summer job, where to look for summer jobs, and how to get a summer job.

What is a summer job?

A summer job is a temporary job available during the summer months. A summer job typically requires skills that individuals can learn through on-the-job training. Many of the traits and abilities needed to succeed in a summer job position are transferable skills. 

A summer job is an excellent opportunity for those on summer break to gain additional experience, add to their resume, and learn new skills. A summer job can lead to new opportunities and different experiences. Those considering a career transition or new to the job market can benefit from undertaking a summer job for experiential knowledge. Typical summer jobs include the following:

  • Tutor.
  • Lifeguard.
  • Customer service representative.
  • Restaurant host or hostess.
  • Pool cleaner.
  • Country club attendant.
  • Banquet hall server.
  • Pet walker.
  • Movie theater ticket agent.
  • Amusement park ride operator.
  • Server.
  • Line cook.
  • Babysitter.
  • Camp counselor.
  • Child daycare worker.
  • YWCA worker. 
  • Swim teacher.
  • Dance coach. 
  • Fitness trainer. 
  • Golf caddy. 
  • Music teacher.

How to get a summer job

Whether you are seeking supplemental pay, are unemployed and using summer jobs to help bridge gaps, transitioning careers, exploring different career options, or entering the workforce, having a plan for finding a summer job will increase your rate of success. Consider the following steps for how to find a good summer job, learn new skills, and gain valuable experience in the job market. 

1. Identify your interests. 

To discover a job that best fits you, evaluate your interests. Although the role may be temporary, you want to pass your time participating in something that interests you and gives you some gratification. Consider topics that you have a passion for and how those interests can translate to a summer job. 

If you like sports, you might consider applying as a cashier for a sporting goods store hiring seasonal employees. If one of your hobbies is reading, you might find stocking books at a bookstore interesting. 

2. Know your strengths and qualifications. 

Self-reflect and honestly review your own skill set and the qualifications you have. Although a summer job might be your introduction to the workforce, you likely have other experiences through school, social clubs, or volunteer opportunities that can speak to the quality of employee you will be and demonstrate your talents and skills. List your individual strengths and background qualifications to help you find a job that correlates with your skills. 

3. Research jobs.

Once you have identified your strongest attributes and best skills, research available jobs that align with your abilities. This step can help you narrow your interests and focus on your best options to maximize your chances of finding a job that fits you. Be aware of the job descriptions to ensure you understand the requirements listed and will be able to complete the tasks skillfully. Know where to apply for summer jobs in your area.

4. Start early. 

To minimize the amount of competition you have and increase the likelihood of finding a job that meets your needs, begin your search early. Employers plan to have a full staff ready for the increase in business during the summer. Many companies hire early to fill summer positions to ensure new hires complete training on time. 

5. Be positive.

 An optimistic approach to your job search will help you keep your options open and ensure you remain motivated to find the best fit. Optimism can help you meet the challenges of searching for job postings, composing cover letters, updating your resume, and practicing for interviews. Although these steps may seem tedious, they are crucial to finding a good summer job and can become enjoyable when you have a positive attitude. 

6. Have an open mind.

Correlating with an optimistic approach, an open mind is important. Be open to new experiences and demonstrate that you have a growth mindset through your flexibility. Weigh all your options and be willing to consider something a little different. When you embrace new opportunities to learn, you can often come away with more than an “I want a summer job, and that’s it” mindset.

7. Prepare your resume.

If you have not already created a resume, or if you need to update it, take time to work on your resume before you collect and complete applications. Having a polished resume on hand when you are completing job applications will give you a reference and ensure that all the information you include in your application packet is consistent. 

8. Look for jobs using different outlets.

Companies post jobs using different distribution sources. Some will only use their websites; others announce position openings on social media accounts. Others may still use the newspaper classifieds. You can begin your search online, but you may learn that some of the most interesting or supportive job openings use other methods to attract talent and announce their job openings. When you expand your search methods to include all available outlets, you can increase your chances of finding a summer job suitable to your needs and aligned with your qualifications.

9. Use your network.

Ask friends and family members if they have any information about recent job openings or companies hiring for summer positions. Organizations want dependable employees during peak summer months. They may rely on trusted sources, such as current employees or friends, to share information about available positions. Your network may be aware of openings before they are posted and can offer insight into positions they feel may suit you. 

10. Draft a different cover letter for each position. 

Hiring managers read hundreds of cover letters throughout the year. When you create a different cover letter for each position you seek, you demonstrate that you pay attention to the details and strive for excellence, even in a temporary role. This step can help you stand out from other candidates and leave a lasting impression for recruiters tasked with screening qualified applicants and scheduling interviews.

11. Verify your references. 

Many resumes have a section for personal and professional references. Most employers want to speak to different individuals who can attest to your skills and attributes that qualify you for the position. Ask individuals you feel know you well enough to provide insightful and positive information about your abilities as a potential employee. Ask if they will serve as a reference for you and whether you can share their contact information with hiring managers. This professional step shows respect and appreciation toward those willing to provide references for you. 

12. Prepare for interviews. 

Once you have submitted your application packets, begin preparing for interviews. Learn about different interview questions and research what employers are looking for in new hires. Understand how you can communicate your ability to complete your job responsibilities. Knowing how to highlight your transferable skills can position you for the summer job you want. To give more insightful responses that demonstrate what type of employee you’ll be, consider using the STAR technique. 

Learn more: How to use the STAR method

13. Be clear and direct.

Be upfront about the amount of time you can commit to working per week and your expectations. If you will be moving at the end of summer and do not plan to stay, or if you will be searching for a more permanent job somewhere after the summer employment period ends, give your employer adequate notice. This respectful step develops trust and communicates honesty and transparency. 

14. Be consistent. 

Companies update job posting weekly and some more frequently. Constantly revisit your sources to learn about any updates and new openings for the summer job you seek. Sometimes, employers realize they need more staff than anticipated. Perhaps a summer hire chose to take a position elsewhere. Hiring managers and employers also decide to hire from their already established pool of applicants to reduce the cost associated with hiring. Having and establishing rapport with an employer can increase your potential to land a job through persistence and dedication.

A summer job is an opportunity to learn about yourself, develop new skills, and earn money. Know how to get a summer job and follow the suggested steps above to position yourself for the summer job you want. Getting a summer job can be enjoyable; summer employment gives you a way to be productive with your time and energies during the summer months. 

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