As a busy college student, it’s normal to be counting down the days until your next break from school. But what you plan to do with that time off from classes and assignments can make a big difference for your career path, and for your bank account.
Seasonal temporary (or temp) employment is a great way to balance the fun and freedom of your school breaks with a job. If you’re searching for a way to earn some extra cash but don’t have a lot of work or college experience yet, a seasonal temp job could be a good fit for you.
What is seasonal temp work, what are the best paying seasonal temp jobs, and how can you secure the best one for you? Here are all our top tips, plus a list of the top seasonal temporary jobs for students, with salaries.
What is a Seasonal Temporary Job?
A seasonal temp job is a job that is both temporary, in that it lasts for a set period of time (usually between a few weeks to a few months), and seasonal. In other words, if you work a seasonal temp job, you’re only working for that seasonal period before going back to school or finding another job.
A seasonal temporary job and a part-time job are not the same. A seasonal temp job can be either part-time or full-time. Temporary employees may be entitled to overtime if they work more than 40 hours a week, too. Be sure to check your rights as a seasonal temp worker, and keep in mind that they may vary between states.
While most people think of summer jobs when it comes to seasonal work, seasonal temp jobs are created whenever a business needs to hire additional staff to keep up with the demand during their busier times. In fact, many temp jobs are created in the winter due to the holiday season.
Seasonal temp jobs happen year round, so you can likely find one to keep you busy during your summer holidays and your winter and spring breaks. For example, tropical holiday resorts may hire more staff during the summer when tourism numbers start going up, but ski resorts will hire more staff in the winter.
Benefits of Seasonal Temp Jobs for College Students
Seasonal temporary jobs aren’t as popular as they once were. For example, summer employment reached an all-time low in 2018, with just 35% of teens taking on a summer job. However, the smartest college students realize the many benefits of seasonal work.
Earn Extra Cash
Seasonal temporary work is a great way to earn money to cover your expenses, especially if you don’t work during the school year. The money you earn can go towards your living costs for the next semester or can help with your student loan balance (if you have them).
You may get lucky enough to find a seasonal temp job that’s in your field, giving you some great work experience that you can put on your resume for future internships and post-graduate jobs. However, even if the job isn’t in your field, you’re still going to learn things that will help you down the road, no matter your career path.
Learn New Skills
On a similar note, a seasonal temp job will allow you to learn new skills. Even if your position isn’t relevant to what you’re studying, any job can give you transferable skills for the rest of your career.
Seasonal temp employers typically know that college students are coming in with limited work experience, and so they tend to offer extra training and learning opportunities. Take full advantage of these opportunities, and use them as a chance to learn new skills.
Finally, a seasonal temp job is a great chance to learn more about yourself. Like your studies, this work can help you figure out what you’re good at and what you’re not, what you do and don’t enjoy, and what you need to improve on. That knowledge can help you figure out if you need (or want) to take extra college classes or join clubs and activities that will help you fill those gaps.
What You Need To Get Hired For Seasonal Temp Work
If you’ve decided that you want to look for a seasonal temp job to earn some extra money and gain experience during your college breaks, it’s helpful to know what you need to get one. Here are some of the common skills, education levels, and levels of work experience required of college students who work seasonal temp jobs.
While the required skills will differ depending on the job and industry, there are a few standard things that employers look for in seasonal temp employees.
Employers will be looking for students who are self-motivated and show good time management. You need to be willing to give up some of your holiday time to work, and your employer needs to trust that you’re not going to call in sick or simply not show up to work because you have other things to do.
You must also be able to show that you can follow direction. Seasonal temp workers are often hired during rush periods, so you’ll need to learn your new role quickly and efficiently.
Finally, you will need great teamwork skills. As a seasonal temp worker, you’re likely going to be joining a team that has been working together for a long time, in addition to meeting a lot of new seasonal workers just like you. Employers will be looking for candidates who can work well within these teams quickly and with ease.
For most seasonal temp jobs, education level is less important than your ability to show relevant skills and enthusiasm for the role (in addition to availability, of course). Some jobs will require a high school diploma, but not all.
Seasonal temp jobs are often specifically designed for college students, so employers won’t necessarily be looking for specific higher-level education experience like classes or partial degrees. However, bear in mind that some industry-specific jobs and internships will be looking for certain college qualifications.
Most employers realize that college students tend to have zero to limited work experience. Many of them will be willing to train you on-the-job, sometimes even offering certifications that you can keep for the rest of your career.
It will depend on the seasonal temp job but, by nature of being temporary, most won’t require any work experience; however, the more you have, the more you’re going to stand out from other college student applicants!
Best Seasonal Temporary Jobs for Students
Because they are temporary, most seasonal temp jobs pay based on an hourly rate; however, this may be different for the position you’re applying for. Be sure to read the job description carefully to see whether you will be a salaried employee, or perhaps paid a flat per-day rate.
Tutor ($10 – $40/hour)
If you’re going back to your hometown for your college break, consider helping local high school kids with their final exams or SATs, which often happen after colleges break for the summer or winter. Think about areas you’re skilled in and contact local schools for opportunities, or even check online for remote tutoring jobs.
Common hiring requirements: high school diploma, strong academic performance, great communication skills
Average rate: $17.45/hour
Nanny ($10 – $20/hour)
School holidays and work holidays don’t always match up, so help parents out by taking care of their kids while they were. Unlike babysitting, you’ll likely be with the kids all day long.
Common hiring requirements: great communication and time-management skills, previous experience working with children
Average rate: $14.65/hour
Babysitter ($8 – $16/hour)
If you love spending time with kids but don’t necessarily want to give up your entire day, consider babysitting on evenings and weekends.
Common hiring requirements: good with kids, previous experience working with children a plus
Average rate: $10.20/hour
Camp Program Coordinator / Director ($11 – $26/hour)
Teach kids new things and give them an experience they’ll never forget by planning programs for a local summer or winter camp. This is perfect if you have experience in a specific area, like an art or sport.
Common hiring requirements: strong organization skills, ability to manage a team, creative
Average rate: $15.27/hour
Sport Coach ($10 – $40/hour)
Put your sports skills to use and teach them to kids. In the summer, soccer and baseball teams are often looking for coaches, whereas in the winter ice hockey and ski instructor roles are more popular.
Common hiring requirements: sports skill, great leadership and communication skills, some certifications may be required
Average rate: $14.98/hour
Sport Referee ($8 – $30/hour)
Don’t quite have the skill or time required to be a sports coach? Referees still need to be able to keep up, but don’t know how to pass on sports skills to others.
Common hiring requirements: willingness to learn, good sports knowledge, some certifications may be required
Average rate: $15.46/hour
Lifeguard ($8 – $13/hour)
Keep an eye on swimmers at your local pool. You will likely have to get some sort of certification to become a lifeguard.
Common hiring requirements: strong swimming skills, certification typically required
Average rate: $9.38/hour
Golf Caddy ($8 – $30/hour)
Carry bags for golfers and get lots of exercise as a golf caddy. This is typically a summer-specific job, but that depends on where you live as some cities keep their courses open year-round.
Common hiring requirements: some golf knowledge, fair level of fitness
Average rate: $14.65/hour (plus tips)
Festival Assistant ($10 – $25/hour)
Seasonal festivals like music and film festivals often hire staff to help out. Take tickets, sell food or engage in more creative roles like performances or face painting.
Common hiring requirements: strong organization and communication skills, ability to work independently and in a team
Average rate: $16.20/hour
Events Assistant ($10 – $21/hour)
Help an event planning company or local businesses plan seasonal events, like summer activities for families, holiday parties and fundraisers.
Common hiring requirements: strong organizational and time-management skills, creativity, some event planning experience a plus
Average rate: $14.48/hour
Tour Guide ($9 – $21/hour)
Know your hometown like the back of your hand? Use your off time to show tourists around all the local sights, or contact local attractions to see if they’re hiring.
Common hiring requirements: strong communication skills, willingness to learn, knowledge about area/attraction a plus
Average rate: $12.33/hour
Temporary Office Assistant ($9 – $18/hour)
Offices sometimes hire temporary assistants to help with things like scheduling, filing and overseeing inventory.
Common hiring requirements: strong organization skills, good communication skills, knowledge of computer programs
Average rate: $12.43/hour
Seasonal Customer Service Rep ($9 – $18/hour)
Many retailers hire seasonal workers to keep up with the demand in their stores by managing cash registers and answering customers’ questions. Alternatively, some call centers also hire seasonal representatives.
Common hiring requirements: strong communication skills, good time management, previous experience a plus
Average rate: $12.43/hour
Construction Worker ($10 – $26/hour)
Construction companies often rely on young students to do some of the more labor-intensive grunt work during busy seasons, particularly spring and summer.
Common hiring requirements: physically fit, good time management
Average rate: $14.95/hour
Warehouse Worker ($10 – $18/hour)
Help companies and warehouses get their packages out on time during high season by packaging, labeling and shipping products.
Common hiring requirements: good time management and organizational skills, fair level of fitness
Average rate: $12.72/hour
Seasonal Delivery Driver ($8 – $21/hour)
Sometimes referred to as “holiday helpers”, seasonal delivery drivers help shipping companies deliver a sudden influx in packages around key holidays.
Common hiring requirements: clean driving record, great time management skills, reliability
Average rate: $13.80/hour
Landscape Laborer ($9 – $17/hour)
Provide lawn maintenance to people while they are away on holiday, or whenever their curb appeal is in need of sprucing up. Tasks might include mowing lawns and planting flowers or trees.
Common hiring requirements: fair level of fitness, strong organizational skills, self-motivated
Average rate: $11.95/hour
Snow Removal ($9 – $20/hour)
Remove snow for people when they’re away on vacation, or for those with limited movement.
Common hiring requirements: fair level of fitness, strong organizational skills, self-motivated
Average rate: $12/hour
Catering Assistant ($13 – $25/hour)
Serve food or drink and help catering companies set up and clean up at seasonal events. Seasonal catering businesses may also be looking for a seasonal cook or baker to help out in the kitchen, if you have the training and skills!
Common hiring requirements: ability to take direction, strong teamwork skills, food health safety certification may be required
Average rate: $12.13/hour
Server ($8 – $14/hour)
Restaurants also often hire additional staff during high season to serve food and drink to customers, such as during Christmas or summer months.
Common hiring requirements: great communication skills, serving experience a plus
Average rate: $6.02/hour (plus tips)
How to Write a Resume for Seasonal Temp Jobs
There are certain general resume best-practices that you should follow whenever you’re applying for a job. For example, resumes should always be personalized to the individual job rather than having a standard, generic resume for each application. Consider using an online resume builder to make this process much easier and faster.
There are also some factors to consider when writing your resume that are specific to seasonal temp job applications.
No Previous Work experience? No Problem.
If this is your very first job – seasonal or otherwise – draw on your non-work experience to fill out your application. For example, think about your extracurricular activities and volunteer work to see if you’ve demonstrated any leadership or teamwork skills. Even skills from your studies, like time-management and organization, can be transferable to a seasonal temp job.
Keep Your Resume Short
There are usually many applicants for a single seasonal temp position, and employers need to make decisions quickly. So, keep your resume as lean as possible. It doesn’t have to be any more than a single page, and never more than two pages.
Choose Your Skills Carefully
Because employers are making quick (maybe even rushed) decisions about these temporary positions, it’s important to be extra convincing. Talk only about the skills that are transferable to the job you’re applying for. For example, if you’re going to be helping out in the restaurant of a ski resort, you don’t have to take up room on your resume talking about your IT skills.
Think Outside The Box
When it comes to your education level and experience, don’t just think about your high school diploma and college classes. Many seasonal temp jobs also find great value in certifications or relevant training, so try to think about any experience you have in those areas and make sure you put it on your resume.
Beat The Seasonal Hiring Rush!
Be sure to start your job search early so you can get to the best jobs before other college students do. A lot of seasonal temp jobs are filled on an as-needed basis and, rather than having a firm closing date, they close as soon as employers find a good candidate.
The hiring process for seasonal temp jobs also often starts very early. For example, summer temp hiring can start as early as winter. So, be sure to subscribe to job updates or look for positions on a regular basis if seasonal temp work is something you’re interested in.
Happy job hunting, and good luck!