Oh, Spring. Flowers are blooming, the sun is shining and friends start to pop out of their Netflix blanket forts going all, “New lease on life, who dis?”
Warmer weather also means the time to start looking for a summer job starts now for students. Seasonal placements like summer jobs fill up crazy quick and competition can be notoriously brutal, especially in busy city centers and college towns.
The sooner you start to think about getting your resume, cover letter, and job hunting skills in order, the better. Now’s the time to look around for who’s hiring for summer jobs on online job boards and throughout your network of classmates, profs, friends, and family.
This season is also perfect for getting into the right mindset for what your summer job is going to look like for the next few months. Because let’s face it – we might all dream of working away as a Google intern or Apple designer, but not all of us are prodigy-level coders living in Silicon Valley.
Students compete over dream summer jobs at places like Microsoft and EA Games months and years in advance like they’re duking it out at the Hunger Games or get scouted by recruiters like they’re trying out to be the next NBA All-Star.
However, it’s important not to get discouraged. There are totally summer jobs out there that are accessible for students who aren’t getting their PhDs in theoretical physics or acing AI chess matches just yet.
Here are five of the best summer jobs that are actually attainable for us mere mortals.
1. Make Unicorn Fraps as a Barista
Well, no promises that Starbucks will bring back the Unicorn Frap just yet (though why they wouldn’t bring back such a magical drink is beyond us), but working as a barista is an awesome summer job if you’re a student looking for seasonal work.
While people can get a little grouchy before they’ve had their morning latte, working a summer job as a barista can be a super fun way to meet people – coworkers and customers – who you might never have met before.
There are a lot of other perks to working as a barista during the summer, including:
- Delicious caffeinated beverages and snacks that are either free or priced at a discount
- Gain super helpful work experience that you can use to travel and work around the world
- Good pay and tips with flexible hours
- You probably don’t have to wear a strict uniform
2. Socialize at a Restaurant Server or Hosting Gig for the Summer
Working in a restaurant can be a lot of fun. Great atmospheres, meet awesome people daily — plus the tips! Being a restaurant server can seem a little more glamorous (and often more lucrative) than being a barista at your local coffee shop, but it can be tough to break into the industry unless you have previous serving or kitchen experience.
On the other hand, getting a summer job as a restaurant hostess or host is pretty accessible for students, even if you don’t have any previous work experience. Once you get a host or hostess job, you can work your way up to gaining enough experience to become a server.
Working as a hostess or host is usually less stressful than being a server, plus most restaurants still divvy up tips with the front-of-house staff. You’ll also meet really fun people!
More benefits to working as a restaurant hostess or host include:
- Free or discounted food and drinks at the restaurant
- You work with different people and get lots of social time (perfect for extroverts!)
- Gain valuable work experience in the industry for future promotions and job opportunities
3. Get Sweet Discounts as a Clothing Sales Rep
Calling all shopaholics! Working as a sales representative is seriously advantageous if you like shopping where you work. Hello, discounts, right?
Though it can be a tiny bit dangerous for your paycheck, working at a store where you actually like the product can be surprisingly fun. You’ll fit in perfectly with the company culture, plus you’ll share a lot of interests with your coworkers, too.
Dancing around to cool music at Urban Outfitters, getting quick access to the latest trends at retailers like H&M or Forever 21, or DJing your personal playlists at your local record store are all great perks.
Here are a few more benefits to working as a sales representative for your next summer job:
- You’ll meet great people that you share interests with
- Amazing discounts and firsthand access to sales and other promotions
- Learn useful skills that you could apply to working at any store around the world
- Good mix of alone time and social time, depending on the place you work at
4. Meet Fun People at a Cool Cashier Job
Not every retail establishment is humdrum, and working as a cashier is an excellent summer job for anyone who’s looking for a mellow chill out time this season. Cashier summer jobs are entry level and accessible, even if you don’t have a lot of work experience or volunteer experience to back up your resume and cover letter.
Additionally, learning how to handle cash, especially if you’re using a POS (Point of Sale) system, is a really useful skill that you could apply to almost any job in the future!
More perks of working as a cashier for your summer job include:
- Tons of options where you can apply to work (who doesn’t need a cashier?)
- Flexible working hours and schedule
- Potential discounts where you work!
5. Get Outside With Landscaping
Now that winter is gone, there’s tons of work out there for people who love the outdoors. Landscaping and outdoor gardening work really picks up during the spring and summer months, which is perfect for students looking for summer jobs outside.
Landscaping as a summer job tends to pay very well, but it’s definitely hard work that requires a lot of physical stamina. Stay hydrated! Wear sunscreen!
Here are a few other benefits to working as a landscaper as a summer job:
- Get boosted with all that vitamin D and fresh air!
- Great pay and useful work experience for future employment landscaping next year
- Can have very flexible hours for busy people