Find a summer job!

Young woman baristaHaving a summer job means earning a paycheck, gaining work skills, meeting new people, and possibly even a lot of fun.

If it’s your first job, there are a few steps to know to find one. And if you have had a job before, there are more possibilities for types of summer jobs than you might have imagined. And many do not require previous experience or education.

Getting started: job applications

One way to ease your way in to the process is by putting together all the information you will need to complete job applications.  You can create a document that includes name, phone, email, and home address; any school or training programs you’ve completed; contact information for personal references; and information about your past jobs. Most employers will want to know the days of the week and hours you are available to work.

What could I do? Ideas for summer jobs

To expand beyond the traditional restaurant server and lifeguard jobs (although those are excellent options and included in our list), check out the list of Ideas for first jobs.

You can explore each type of job in depth by clicking the title to see a career profile with information like the typical duties, how much it usually pays, how likely there are to be job openings, and any education needed. Some profiles also include a career video. Find careers in these categories:

  • Food service
  • Retail
  • Jobs that keep you on the move
  • Jobs that allow you to spend lots of time outdoors

CareerOneStop also offers job postings that you can search in your city, state, or ZIP code area. If you’re in the Occupation Profile discussed above, just select “Find job openings” from the bottom of the card titled “Will there be jobs?” Or, visit the Job Finder to search for jobs in your area.

The walk in and ask method

Searching for jobs online is easy, but there’s a lot to be said for the old-school method of walking around in your neighborhood, or an area you can easily get to, and going in to businesses to ask if they need help for the summer. Can it be uncomfortable? Yes! But it can be far more effective than an online job search – you are right in front of them, clearly motivated, and ready to work. How to do it?

  • Dress to make a positive impression: clothes that are clean, ironed, modest, businesslike.
  • Bring along the information you need to fill out job applications.
  • Look for “help wanted” signs in the area. Prioritize stopping there, and ask someone who works there if you could fill out a job application. But don’t be afraid to walk in anywhere and just ask if they need any help for the summer.
  • If you can speak to a manager right then, all the better. If not, just leave the application with a staff member, thank them, and ask what the next step would be.
  • Your first stop may lead to a job, but in most cases, applying at several locations will be more likely to lead to a job.

Jobs in your neighborhood

Let neighbors know you are available to help out with summer chores like lawn mowing, gardening and landscaping, window washing, and other tasks homeowners might need done. You could post a sign in a community location, or knock on doors in your neighborhood to offer your services.

Childcare, babysitting, summer nannying are also options for work in your local area. Again, posting a sign, and letting people in your neighborhood know you are available is a great way to find work.

Use school resources

Many high school counseling offices have summer job information, so be sure to check with them. College career centers, newsletters, or school papers are also a great source for summer job leads.

Youth employment programs

There are some great opportunities for summer jobs available through programs sponsored by government and non-profit organizations. Check out those in your local area on CareerOneStop’s Youth Program Finder. Just enter your location and find programs nearby. All are free to participants, and some have eligibility requirements, which you can learn by contacting the program directly.


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