Summer Jobs for College Students

Make the most of your college summer break with a job or internship. Students' summer jobs can also be a step toward fullt-time employment after college.

September 29, 2021

Summer Jobs for College Students

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Jobs for College Students to Make the Summer Fun

For many college students, enjoying summer means having enough cash for fun activities. But summer is also a great time to gain work experience and beef up resumes. Whether you’re looking for a part-time job in your hometown or an internship at a big name company, this guide can help you find a good summer job and potentially turn it into something more. Keep reading to get some ideas about possible summer jobs, learn more about top companies that hire college students for the summer and get expert tips on how to turn a summer gig into a career post graduation.

Top Summer Jobs and Companies List

5 Summer Jobs for College Students

With summer break just around the corner, many college students will be looking for seasonal and short-term jobs for extra cash, to stay busy or to beef up their resume. For those looking for a summertime gig, the following jobs have been longtime go-tos for many young adults:

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5 Less-Conventional Summer Jobs for Students

Many students automatically think of the positions listed above when searching for a summer job, but some are now embracing the 21st century and thinking outside the box when it comes to how they make money during their summer break. According to freelance expert Vince Massara, approximately 50% of jobs are predicted to be freelance or “gig-based” by 2020. “The gig-based economy requires a brand new set of skills that may be a little different from what students get taught in school,” he notes. “Why not start learning these skills for the new workforce early with a summer job?”

Those looking for something a little different might want to considering the following jobs. Students can also check out ACO’s Guide to Side Hustles for more ideas.

Top 5 Companies for Student Internships

Let’s not forget about summer internships. Thousands of companies offer internship programs each summer, but some stand out more than others. When looking at a prospective company and internship opportunity, students should ensure the program allows them to work on projects that stretch their skills and knowledge, provides a tangible line on the resume, and offers the chance to forge connections. The companies highlighted below are the top examples but even if you’re unable to land an internship with one of these big names, reviewing them should give you an idea of what’s out there.

Tips for Finding a Good Summer Job

Even if college students don’t have an extensive resume showing prior work experience, that doesn’t mean they aren’t in contention for interesting and/or career-propelling summer jobs. The key is to leverage your network, think creatively and not give up. Experts Vince Massara and Kristen Moon share their tips for finding a worthwhile summer job or internship in the following section.

“Even if you don’t think you have enough expertise for a freelance role, you do,” says Vince Massara. “There is, without doubt, at least one thing you’re good at and, odds are, there are people out there willing to pay someone else to do that for them.” Massara points to the website Fiverr as a great place to get plugged in. “People are making livings off freelancing on websites like this,” he says. “What was once a feeble startup, is now a busy marketplace where a range of professionals sell their skills to willing buyers.” Take time to think about what skillsets you can bring businesses and entrepreneurs, and then market them accordingly. Students may feel they can’t compete with businesspeople who have been networking for years, but they may have more contacts than they think. “Start with the people you know, people your parents know and family friends,” says Kristen Moon, college counselor and founder of MoonPrep. “You’d be surprised how resourceful your inner circle is and just how far a referral goes.” Even if no one in your immediate circle does the type of work you’re interested in, they might know someone who does. In the months leading up to summer, work with your college’s career center to perfect your resume and then send it to your inner network. “Job shadowing is mutually beneficial,” notes Moon. Students interested in obtaining an insider look at potential careers may want to consider spending a week of their summer break shadowing someone who holds a job they might want to hold one day. “If you aspire to be a dentist, contact your family dentist and explain to him or her that you are an aspiring dentist and ask if you can job shadow them for a time,” suggests Moon. “This can apply to any field that interests you but remember to explain to all potential employers how you intend to add value.” When picking a perfect summer job, students must ask both themselves and their potential employers the right questions to decide if it’s a good fit. According to Moon, some of the best questions to think about and/or ask during this process include:

  • Will this job allow me to hone my customer service skills?
  • Will the position stretch me out of my comfort zone and help me grow as a person?
  • Does this opportunity allow me to explore potential careers?
  • Does the position help me learn more about an industry of interest?
  • Is there potential for this job to lead to other opportunities?
Given that most college students don’t have the longest resume or list of contacts, it can feel tempting to take the first job that comes along. However, if you receive an offer for a position that doesn’t positively answer any of the questions listed above, it may be more beneficial to hold out for a job offer that does. Don’t take the first role offered to you just because it’s a paycheck, especially if you know instinctively that it isn’t a good job for you. If turning a role down provides additional stress, try to start the search earlier in the spring semester so you have time to job hunt if the first one offer doesn’t feel right.

Thinking Beyond Summer

Unless they’re about to graduate, most college students don’t think beyond a summer job, which can sometimes be a mistake. It’s never too early to start thinking about your career post-graduation. While any short-term summer job can put extra money in the bank, a carefully thought out summer job can help bring you one step closer to your dream career. The tips below can help students turn a summer gig into something more:

Resources for Finding a Summer Job

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