Can you feel it? School’s almost out for the summer. Now is the time to start looking for summer jobs, because let’s face it, you gotta make that dough to fund all of your summer adventures. Plus, by finding a summer job, you can get a head start on saving for college.
Let’s talk for a second about saving for college…
College, even some trade schools, is going to be really freaking expensive and leads to student loan debt. I know high school students are constantly hearing millennials and the like lament about how awful that burden is. Finding a summer job can help you reduce your student loan burden by earning you some cash to stash aside for college while also giving you valuable resume experience that can lead to scholarship opportunities. Double bonus!
But more immediately, finding a summer job is just about basic personal finance. You want to spend money this summer? Then you need to start earning some. It’s just that simple. You’re going to be thrust into the workforce in just a few years, and learning how to find a summer job is going to give you an edge.
To help you get ahead on your job search, here are some of the best summer jobs for high school students:
Babysitter or nanny
This is such a good summer job for high schoolers because all of those younger kids who are also home for the summer are going to need someone to take care of them. Whether that’s on call care, like what babysitters do, or more permanent positions for nannies.
Depending on your area, babysitters average $10-$15 per hour, and sometimes that’s per kid. Pay for nannies is going to vary depending on your hours and days worked, but it’s generally around $100+ per week. Nannies can even get some extra work, like being paid even more to go on vacation and help with childcare.
Work as a referee
I recently learned how much teens can make as sports refs and I was blown away – it’s $25-$35 per hour!
Experience is key for this option, and it will need to be in a specific sport to find a job. If you do have the experience, contact your community recreation center, local club teams, and even coaches at your high school.
Did you miss out on summer camp because your parents couldn’t send you each summer? Or maybe they did and you wish you could go back? Either way, working as a camp counselor over the summer is a sweet gig because there are so many different types of summer camps.
Art camp, band camp, scout camp, theatre camp, sports camps, school camp programs, etc.
Pay is usually around $10 per hour, and minimum wage at the very least.
Lifeguard at a local pool
If this isn’t the most stereotypical summer job for high schoolers, then I don’t know what is. You get to work on your tan and hang out by the snack bar eating soft pretzels all summer long… right?
The reality of being a lifeguard is not the dream painted above. You’re responsible for people’s lives, so it’s hard work to say the least. There is a decent amount of training involved: CPR training, water rescue training, bloodborne pathogens training, and first aid training. Oh, and you need to be a strong swimmer. The only bummer is that the pay is pretty low for how serious of a job you’re performing.
Work at an outdoor concert venue
While your job might be something kind of boring – taking tickets, selling food, or directing traffic – the obvious perk is that you get to see free concerts all summer long.
According to Angie’s List, most homeowners pay between $30 to $80 for lawn care services. You’ll end up making extra if you can provide more than just mowing, like:
- Weed eating
This is a great summer job because you can work for yourself, setting your own pay and hours. You can literally just push a lawnmower around your neighborhood to find clients, and as long as you do a decent job, you may have returning clients all summer long.
Dog walk or pet sit
Rover is a website that connects pet owners with people in their area to walk dogs and pet sit. Pay depends on your area, like urban areas with more working professionals will likely have higher paying opportunities, upwards of $20-$25 per walk.
I was always a little jealous of my friends who found house sitting gigs over the summer because you essentially get paid to just hang out in someone else’s house for a few days, a week, or maybe even longer.
Pay is generally around $35 per day, and you will have to be super responsible. Related tasks can include taking in the mail, caring for animals, watering plants, etc. To find jobs, ask your parents to tell their friends, put feelers out in your neighborhood, and maybe even let your teachers know.
Find a paid internship
For the most part, internships are unpaid, but they do provide valuable college application material. Still, there are a number of paid internships at museums, universities, local organizations, etc. To look for opportunities, talk to your high school guidance counselor or check out Internships.com.
Actually, my editor recently told me that her 15-year-old daughter landed a paid internship at their local history museum that pays $10 per hour to help curate a new exhibit. That sounds pretty sweet.
Become a golf course caddy
You’ll have to know the game of golf to land one of these summer jobs, and really the best perk is that caddies are often tipped pretty well.
When I worked as a high school band director, I constantly heard about parents who were looking for tutors for their high school students in a number of subjects. So, if there is a subject that you particularly enjoy or excel in, you can make around $15+ per hour as a tutor.
This is also another good summer job that looks great on college applications while letting you set your own hours. To find jobs, let your high school guidance department know, give your contact info to your local elementary and middle schools, or list your services online in neighborhood forums.
Work in local tourism
Jobs in local tourism are one of the highest growing fields for high school students according to a study done by the Pew Research Center. Jobs include working in museums, with performing arts groups, county fairs, festivals, etc.
You’ll find these jobs listed locally, but you can also contact your city’s tourism board to see if they know of upcoming jobs or events.
Tips for landing and keeping a summer a job
For some high school students, your summer job might be the first job you’ve ever held. Congrats on that! They can be a lot of fun, but you have to take it seriously to land and hold a job. Here are a few tips that can help you along the way.
Have an idea of what you want to do
What can make or break your summer job experience is whether or not you enjoy the job you’re doing. While you don’t need to be super passionate about the work, your interest in the job will probably be brought up in the interview process, so go in prepared.
Start by asking yourself the following questions to narrow down the type of summer job you’d like to find:
- Do I like working with kids?
- Do I like working with animals?
- Would I like to spend the summer outside?
- Am I willing to forgo a little pay for an opportunity that might look better on a college application?
- Do I want to set my own hours?
From the list of best summer jobs I gave you, you can probably see which ones could be a good fit for you.
Make a list of references
To apply for jobs, you will need to have a list of references and sometimes even letters of recommendation. Most employers ask that you don’t use family members. So, ask your teachers, others you’ve worked for, sponsors for extracurriculars you’ve participated in, etc.
Be ready with names, numbers, email addresses, and your relationship. Even if you don’t have a job in mind, this is a step that will help you prepare.
Be ready to work
Having a job, no matter how low the pay can be, is a responsibility. While some of the summer jobs on this list are more flexible for teenagers, you will still be expected to put in a decent amount of quality work.
You can’t just call off any time you make plans with friends or call in late because you overslept. This is a job, you’re being paid, take it seriously. There are probably hoards of kids out there ready to take your job if you don’t perform, and employers know this.
You don’t need a suit to apply for and work most of these summer jobs, but you’ll need to show up for interviews in decent clothes. I’m talking a nice pair of pants and a clean shirt at the least. Brush your hair, take a shower, and show potential employers that you are a viable candidate for the job.
Okay, so this is a term that you’ll become more and more familiar with in your adult life. Networking means that you are getting to know people in the areas you want to work in. This can be as simple as letting people in your neighborhood know that you’re interested in dog walking, lawn care, babysitting, etc.
It’s the first step in marketing yourself for potential summer jobs. You can even go so far as making business cards, printing up flyers, emailing teachers, and asking your friends what they’re doing for summer work.
I know that putting yourself out there, especially if this is going to be your first ever job, might be uncomfortable, but go in with the mindset that you can and will find a job. Smile, stand up straight, and think about how awesome you’ll be at whatever job you do.
Confidence goes a long way in the job finding process. Employers notice this kind of thing.
One way to gain confidence is to do a practice interview with your parents or friends. Sure, it can be a little awkward, but you can start with this list of questions to gain confidence for your interviews.
Final word on the best summer jobs for high school students
Like I said in the very beginning of this article, finding a summer job is how you’ll make some cash for whatever summer or future goals you have. But, it’s also 100% possible to fit a job into whatever summer plans are on your horizon.
While landing a job is serious business, you can have an awesome time doing the job you choose to participate in. Honestly, some of my best high school memories came from summer jobs.
Be confident, be ready to work, and have fun – you’ve got this.