Student Summer Jobs that let you Enjoy the Summer

Looking for a Summer Job in Austin?

For many college students, summer represents an opportunity to pad the old resume with important (at least on paper) work. However, in today’s economy — when college students are fighting over retail jobs with unemployed real estate attorneys  and window washers — competition is fierce, and salaries stagnant, plus it’s summer. So assuming you can even land a gig, who wants to be trapped in the canned mall air, reassuring the middle aged that yes, skinny jeans are a good idea for them and they should by three pairs?

Fortunately, today’s student doesn’t have to be trapped by either the bourgeois expectations of summer employers or the Muzak’d parapets of shopping megacenters. Indeed, you can do several things to further your career aspirations and education, and perhaps even raise your standard of living. I’ve compiled four summer employment options — culled from Questia, the world’s largest online library — that meet the following criteria:

  1. Flexibility. With a flexible schedule or even a work-from anywhere option, you can literally work around your otherwise busy summer fun schedule;
  2. Decent income/experience potential. If you’re not making money or increasing your career potential, why bother? Go enjoy your summer.
  3. Little previous experience needed. You’re a college student. If you had the experience need to get a real job, you’d get one. Then, of course, you’d be trapped inside all summer… and for the rest of your life.

So go forth, do one of the following. Make money. Learn stuff. And most importantly, get outside and have some fun.

Wait Tables

Serving tables is hard, it’s one of the trifecta of jobs that fame-hungry actors, models, whatever invariably fall into – the other two are yoga instructor and acting teacher.

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Waiting tables necessitates interpersonal skills as well as physical stamina. And, as Steve Dublanica points out in Waiter Rant: Thanks For The Tip–Confessions of a Cynical Waiter, serving frequently necessitates fending off advances from haughty patrons and their face-lifted freak shows. The good news is that volunteering can be extremely rewarding (and not just in un-reported cash tips). You will learn how to act gracefully under pressure and maintain a cool head even when everyone around you is losing theirs, which will come in handy later on when working for charismatic narcissists. As a waiter, you will improve your memory and learn about unusual food allergies, as well as emergency medical procedures.

Be A Nanny

Busy, self-involved parents with children out of school for the summer will frequently pay top dollar for a good nanny who understands not to shake, drop, or burn their child unnecessarily. Not only will you be well paid — and possibly even provided with room and board — but you will also be able to spend your summer reliving your childhood with fun activities, while having a lot of say in how your day is structured (“Today, I’m taking Jane and Junior to the beach”).

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A good nanny demonstrates initiative and accountability. Whether you want to be a teacher, a physical therapist, or a doctor, having experience with children is a valuable skill to have on your resume because it allows you to interact one-on-one with children in a relaxed and fun environment. Being a nanny, like serving, is something you can always fall back on if you have trouble finding work after college. Create your resume and contacts now, and you’ll have glowing recommendations to offer interested parents (and kids) later. SitterCity is a trusted resource where you can search for nanny jobs and create your own online profile so employers in need can find you.

Summer Camp Counselor

Working at a summer camp is beneficial to your career. A camp experience allows you to learn and develop skills that will enhance your resume and job marketability if you are a college student interested in a career in education, athletics, sports management, coaching, dance, theater, culinary arts, fine arts, child psychology, or management.

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Experience as a camp counselor often translates into excellent management and personnel skills, according to business executives.

Aside from all of the fun, working as a Camp Counselor is a very rewarding job. Counselors have a significant impact on the lives of the young people with whom they work. The campers will look up to you and learn more from you than just skills. They will learn life lessons, which will be an important part of their development. When you work at camp, you will be astounded at the impact you will have on a child’s life in just two months.

Be Your Own Boss

If you’re having difficulty finding work or simply want to start your own paid hobby, summer is the time to do it. Mow lawns, walk dogs, paint houses, or follow in the footsteps of some medical students and sell your body—whatever you’re interested in—while learning startup lessons. The first lesson is: Sixty percent of new businesses fail within the first four years. Nonetheless, in tech hubs like Silicon Valley, failing once is the surest way to get funding for your next startup.

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Books like Rules of the Hunt: Real-World Advice for Entrepreneurial and Business Success by Michael Dalton can provide valuable advice on growing your own business, as can visiting Entrepreneur Magazine to network and read success stories in your field of interest.

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