Summer Jobs

Many students are unaware of the variety of exciting and educational summer jobs that are available across the country during the summer season. If you would like to be challenged and try something really different this summer, stop by the Career Services office for a chat, and be sure to review the suggested guidelines to finding a summer job below.  Basic tips to improve your chances of landing a great summer position include: 1) start your search as early as possible (January-February); and 2) over-apply!

PREPARING TO APPLY: Consider developing a resume. It will be one way to separate you from other candidates who may not be as well organized.  Develop a resume that highlights your education, work history, extra-curricular activities, volunteer experience and special talents in your background that would be of interest to a summer employer.

In addition, create a cover letter that will accompany your resume and introduce you to the employer. In your letter, be sure to clearly state the dates you are available to work.  For many summer employers your availability to start before Memorial Day and work through Labor Day is key, especially for jobs at resorts, camps, etc. You may use sample resume & cover letter formats found in the Career Services Office, L120.

WHAT A SUMMER JOB CAN OFFER: Whatever your summer or overall career goals are, a summer job can provide you with the opportunity to:

  • complement your academic training with practical experience,
  • travel and spend two or three months in a different part of the country, and
  • meet interesting people and, simply put, have great fun.

GETTING STARTED WITH  YOUR SEARCH: First, plan to spend a little time reviewing the following resources to get an overview of what types of summer employment might be possible:

These sources will help you to compile a list of employers you would like to contact.   Avoid pinning your hopes on just one or two opportunities.  Plan to compile a list of 25-50 possibilities.

SOME GREAT SUMMER JOB IDEAS:                                          

Summer Camps depend on students to staff their summer programs which include arts & crafts, sports, backpacking, canoeing or horseback-riding as well as programs that emphasize academics.  This could be particularly good training for students interested in careers in teaching, social services or food service management. Opportunities, located in all fifty states, offer good camaraderie with staff counselors who may be from other parts of the country or from overseas. Applicants with certification in lifesaving, CPR, or first aid may have an advantage.

Resorts, Hotels, & Dude Ranches hire students to staff their properties during the summer. Positions include front desk, reservations, housekeeping, grounds maintenance, waterside & pool duties, tennis, golf, child care, host & hostess duties, kitchen/food prep, bar-tending, dish washing and other waitstaff duties as well as transportation and driving responsibilities. Opportunities are available in all fifty states and employers are generally interested in candidates who can work the full tourist season (Memorial Day to Labor Day). This is a great chance to spend a few months in a resort community. If you are chosen for a position in Guest Services, employer grooming standards may be stringent.

National Parks have varied opportunities for college students. The best prospects are with concessionaires who offer services to park visitors: lodging facilities, cafeterias, stores, service stations, gift shops, etc.  Larger parks such as Yellowstone, Grand Canyon and Yosemite offer many of these positions. Often they will provide housing and meals for a nominal fee. Concessionaires are generally conservative with grooming standards.

The National Park Service generally hires about 11,000 employees at the 330 National Parks, Monuments and Recreational Areas. Various jobs are available which include maintenance of roads, trails, and visitor areas, staffing visitor programs, service to law enforcement and rescue operations staff and general administration. To be considered for a National Parks Service position, you must first contact and meet the requirements of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Don’t let the 11,000 potential openings fool you.  Comp-etition for these positions is fierce.

Amusement and Theme Parks have summer positions available. Positions can vary from concession work to actually assisting with rides and attractions. Limited positions are available for those with musical talent or acting skills. Some parks, such as the Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, California, hire up to 800 students and provide on-site housing (for a small weekly fee), laundry facilities, bus passes and free rides. However, most of these employers do not assist with housing and prefer to hire local students.

Cape Cod is a New England resort area that many students choose as a summer job location. Restaurants, gift shops, hotels, etc. hire students to work the tourist season. Employers may require proof that a potential summer employee has made firm housing arrangements before offering a position. Many students visit “the Cape” during their college spring break or take a day trip in March or April to speak with employers as they prepare to open their business for the season. Check with Cape Cod Community College during the early spring to see if they are sponsoring a summer job fair.