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14 of the Best Summer Jobs for College Students: Build Your Resume Before You Graduate

best summer jobs for college students

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It’s nearly summer, which means a break from school and some time to relax.

But summer is also an ideal time to get to work on building a savings account to help you thrive after graduation. Not to mention, getting in work experience during school will make your resume more attractive to prospective employers after you graduate. I worked every summer in school, and not only did I earn some extra money for books, supplies, and rent, I also had a good deal of experience to show when I applied for my first post-college job.

Your summer work doesn’t have to be boring; there are plenty of options to work outdoors or indoors, with others or on your own. We’ve used the information supplied by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook to find out how much each of these jobs pay, along with their basic requirements. With these 14 best summer jobs for college students, you can start building your future, today.

The Best Indoor Jobs For College Students

If you’re not looking to spend the summer outside, these jobs will help you make money and gain valuable skills from the comfort of indoors.

1. Retail Sales

One of the easiest jobs to get during your summers off in college is a retail sales position. You can choose to work everywhere from a high-end clothing store to a local bookstore, and you’ll gain skills like customer service and awareness of how businesses run. You often won’t need any experience to get hired, and there are rarely educational requirements for these jobs.

2017 Median Pay: $11.24 per hour

2. Bartender

Bartender pouring an amber liquid into a glass with ice.
Learn new skills and meet new people with these great summer jobs.

If you are over the age of 18, finding a job as a bartender will help you earn extra cash while teaching you how to balance work in a fast-paced environment. Aside from mixing drinks, you’ll learn about dealing with customers and basic operational elements like managing stock and inventory and processing payments.

2017 Median Pay: $10.43 per hour (not including tips)

3. Babysitter/Child Care

Working with children is one of the best summer jobs for college students who may have interest in teaching or other related positions once they graduate. Build your own babysitting service in your college’s local area and you can keep working as much or as little as you want during the school year. Or, spend your summer learning from professionals as an assistant at a child care facility.

2017 Median Pay: $10.72 per hour

The Best Online Summer Jobs For College Students

Perhaps you live somewhere that lacks in potential summer job options, which can make it a great time to learn what it would be like working for yourself. These work-from-home positions can often be some of the best high paying summer jobs for college students because they don’t require you to go to a physical place, which means more money can be passed onto you. Find opportunities on job sites and specific online job marketplaces.

4. Proofreading

Woman working outside on a laptop.
Want to work from anywhere? Try these summer gigs.

When you’re in school, you’re used to writing and editing your own work, but learning how to professionally proofread papers can help you find work with other students like you and beyond. Take a course at Proofread Anywhere to build your skills, and be prepared to work wherever and whenever you want.

2017 Median Pay: $18.05 per hour

5. Graphic Design

Do you know how to create compelling designs? By working with a site like Fiverr, you can have a constant influx of potential jobs, with pay starting at $5 and up. You’ll be able to practice your craft, and you’ll be building a portfolio that will help once you graduate.

2017 Median Pay: $23.41 per hour

6. Writing

You already spend a lot of time in school writing, and if you like to do it, you can settle yourself into a nice freelance writing job working on your own hours. Sign up for a site like iWriter and you’ll have access to a range of industries, topics, and clients to work with.

2017 Median Pay: $29.72 per hour

The Best Outdoor Summer Jobs For College Students

If you’re like me, summer is ideally spent outside, all of the time. The good news is, you can get a great summer job that allows you to do just that. From working with your hands to working with others, there are plenty of chances to spend your days in the summer sun.

7. Landscaping Assistant

Like getting your hands dirty? Then working in landscaping may be the best summer job for you. Learn how the business runs and get in shape as you help maintain lawns and green spaces at both commercial and residential locations.

2017 Median Pay: $13.51 per hour

8. Camp Counselor

Hang out with kids all day as you help them learn new skills and passions. If you like art, see if there is a position for an art teacher at a day camp, and if you’re looking to get away for the summer, consider being a counselor at a sleepaway camp.

2017 Median Pay: $11.80 per hour

9. Lifeguard

Lifeguard sitting with an inflatable looking out a pool.
Get paid to spend your summer outdoors.

To be a lifeguard you’ll need to get certified in rescue operations, whether you work at a local pool or at a beach. You’ll learn how to keep your focus amidst distraction, which is a valuable skill for future employment.

2017 Median Pay: $11.80 per hour

10. Dog Walker

If you love animals, working as a dog walker will let you play with furry friends outdoors for the summer. You’ll learn about making schedules, working with customers, and of course, how to care for dogs and other pets. You can extend this job easily into the school year by scheduling walks around your classes.

2017 Median Pay: $11.13 per hour

11. Tour Guide

If you live somewhere that sees an influx of tourists, consider starting out as a tour guide. You’ll need to brush up on local history and be willing to keep learning, but you’ll get to meet people from all over the world while sharing the splendor of your city or hometown.

2017 Median Pay: $12.39 per hour

The Best High Paying Summer Jobs For College Students

Finally, if your goal is to make as much money as possible this summer, you’ll want to consider one of these options. Often times you’ll need to have more experience or skills to be hired for these positions, but there are also plenty of options for building your knowledge.

12. House Sitting

Person sitting with their feet up drinking a coffee and reading a book.
Enjoy flexibility with these high-paying summer jobs.

When people are off traveling for the summer, they often want someone responsible to stay at the house to make sure everything keeps running like it should. House sitting is definitely one of the best high paying summer jobs for college students because people are willing to compensate sitters fairly to guarantee they do a good job caring for the home. Sign up for a site like HouseCarers which will help match you with potential clients who are looking for someone dependable.

2017 Median Pay: $28.21

13. Tutor

Are you majoring in biology? There are hundreds if not thousands of students your age and under who are struggling with that subject. No matter what your specialty is, tutoring is a great way to earn some extra cash while beefing up your own knowledge. Again, tutoring can also be part of your year-round employment during school if you choose.

2017 Median Pay: $27.31

14. Office Assistant

If you’re looking for a career in business, getting a summer job as an office assistant will help you build your skills and familiarity with how an average workplace functions. Expect to do everything from getting coffee to data entry, but remember that every responsibility gives you a chance to learn something new.

2017 Median Pay: $18.21 per hour

If you’re serious about getting a summer job that prepares you for your future, consider looking into sites like SkillShare that help you gain specific knowledge that you’ll need in the workplace in a range of different industries. Work the same job all four years or try a new industry every summer so you feel prepared to enter the workplace after graduation


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