By Katie Azevedo, M.Ed.
This blog post explains how to get a summer job as a college student. It contains tips for choosing the right summer job, where to find summer jobs, and strategies for applying for a summer job.
Getting a summer job as a high school or college student can be a great way to earn money, learn valuable skills that will serve you in other fields, and boost your job resume. student with marketable experience. Whether you’re applying for your first summer job or your seventh, the guidelines below can make the job search process a little smoother.
How to get a summer job
The steps to getting a summer job can be simple, as long as you act quickly and communicate effectively. Here are the basic steps to getting a summer job. Then, throughout the rest of this article, I explain each step in detail.
- Determine the type of summer job you want to have
- Apply for the job, making sure you have the right materials
- Monitoring of all applications and interviews
The three steps above may seem oversimplified, but in the end, that’s really what it takes to apply for summer jobs. Of course, there will be nuances, hiccups, and unexpected situations that will arise, but I explain how to handle them in the following sections.
How to choose the right summer job
If you are a high school or college student, you may choose a summer job based on a variety of factors, depending on your particular situation, resources, and future goals. (If you have already graduated from college and are looking for a all year work, this tutorial is not for you.)
Here are some factors to consider when choosing jobs to apply for:
- What skills you have that you want to develop more or what skills you want to acquire.
- The distance to the place of work and whether or not you have access to a means of transport: Can you take a look there? Can you walk or take a bike? If not, can you carpool with someone? If you can’t get to work reliably, it won’t work.
- The compensation (money): How much do you want or need to earn? Do you have financial goals, like saving $3,000 by the end of the summer? Can you negotiate on salary?
- Hours required or available: Do they want you to work more than you can? Or do you want to work more hours than they can offer?
- Job flexibility: Will they let you take a week off for a family vacation or field hockey camp?
- Whether the job is in an industry that interests you: If you’re in college, it might be a good idea to research jobs in industries related to your future goals. If you’re in high school, focus more on SKILLS you will learn. (Yes! Working at a pizzeria or ice cream parlor is a great summer job, as public-facing jobs lead to valuable skill development!)
Where to find summer job opportunities
You can find summer jobs anywhere if you are creative and persistent. Here are some ideas to get you started in your job search:
- Online job boards: Websites like Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and CareerBuilder often have sections dedicated to summer jobs or internships. Students can search for positions based on location, industry, or specific keywords.
- Company websites: Many companies post their job openings directly on their websites. Students can visit the career or jobs section of companies they are interested in and search for summer job opportunities.
- College or university career services: Most colleges have Career Service Centers that provide job listings and resources for students. These offices often have partnerships with local businesses and organizations that offer summer employment opportunities.
- Job fairs and career events: Attend job fairs or career events hosted by colleges, universities, or local organizations. These events allow students to meet employers face-to-face, learn about available positions, and submit resumes directly.
- Networking: Tap into your personal and professional networks to discover potential summer job opportunities. Talk to professors, classmates, family, friends, and alumni who may have connections or know about available positions. Tell your friends, family and acquaintances that you are looking for a summer job. Sometimes informal opportunities can arise through personal connections or word of mouth referrals.
- Local businesses and organizations: Check with local businesses, non-profit organizations, community centers, summer camps, recreational facilities and retail outlets in your area. These companies often hire seasonal employees, including students, for the summer months.
- Online platforms and gig economy: Explore online platforms such as TaskRabbit, Uber, Lyft or food delivery services like DoorDash or Grubhub. Although many of these types of jobs have age requirements, these flexible or gig-based work opportunities may be suitable for older students during the summer.
- Government programs and internships: Look for government-sponsored programs, internships, or work-study opportunities specifically designed for students. These can be found on government websites, local municipality portals or through college career services.
When to apply for a summer job
You should start looking for and applying for summer jobs in the spring. The process of finding jobs, filling out applications, waiting for responses, and scheduling interviews can sometimes take weeks or even months. Hiring managers are used to hiring students for temp jobs over the summer, and they know that if you apply in April, you may not be able to start working until classes end in June. As long as you communicate clearly during the hiring process, you’ll be fine. If you duty start your job before school ends, use these Tips for balancing studies and part-time work.
How to apply for a summer job
Always follow the specific instructions for each position you apply for. If they want you to apply online, do so. If they want you to apply in person, do so.
How do I know whether to apply online or in person? Three ways: check the company’s website, call the company, or visit the company in person and ask to speak to a hiring manager.
Some students bypass the standard job application process altogether, relying instead on connecting with people in their personal or professional network or that of their parents. Reaching out to people you know is a great way to land a summer job, and you should use all the connections you have at your disposal tactfully and politely.
Student resume: In addition to following all the application instructions, I advise you to prepare a student CV in advance. Even if a hiring manager doesn’t require a resume, sometimes you can submit one as an option, which I highly recommend you do.
The references: Almost all job applications will ask for references. This means that you must provide the names and telephone numbers of people who can confirm your qualifications and personality. (The hiring manager will call them.) If you are submitting a student resume, your references must be on it. If you are not submitting a resume, provide the name and contact information of someone who knows you well but is not a family member (a former employer, coach, teacher, someone you you keep, etc.).
Online presence: Your hiring manager will most likely research your online presence. This means that your online presence should be clean and professional, and should not feature negativity, hate, inappropriate activity, or images that don’t reveal your best attributes. Clean up your social media presence and consider creating a LinkedIn profile if you haven’t already.
How to handle follow-up communication
Struck submit on an online job application is certainly not the last step in the application process. Never mind how you are applying for your summer job, you should be prepared to follow up with the hiring manager or company.
If you applied in person or were interviewed, the first follow-up contact should be a thank you email or letter within 24-48 hours of the interview. Always express prompt written gratitude for applications and in-person interviews.
In addition to thank you notes, the appropriate time to follow up after applying for a summer job may vary depending on the specific circumstances and the timeline provided by the employer. However, as a general rule, I suggest waiting about one to two weeks before proceeding with your application.
Note: Always check the application guidelines or any correspondence you have received from the employer for any specific instructions on when or how to follow up. Adjust your approach accordingly to ensure you follow their guidelines and demonstrate your attention to detail.
When following up, you may consider contacting us by email or phone. In your message, express your continued interest in the position, briefly remind the employer of your application, and politely inquire about the status of the hiring process. This follow-up communication should be concise, polite and professional.