When it’s time for summer vacation, smart students know that it isn’t a time to lay around and waste a few months, but rather the time to find a job. At least a job to help you make it through the summer or maybe help cover some college bills. Sure, being a high school or college student means you spend most of the year studying and having fun while you can all summer would be great, there’s something to be said for those who go out there and work instead.
Obviously, the main benefit to working all summer is making money. Maybe it’s just spending money, or if you’re serious about it, could even help pay your college tuition. While the money is nice, that’s actually not the greatest benefit of finding a summer job. Instead, it’s instilling a solid work ethic at a young age that will come in handy later in life. Not only that, but if you have a good idea of what you want as a career when you get older, you can possibly find a summer job that gets your foot in the door and put you far ahead of your peers when you do graduate.
So, take some time to enjoy your summer vacation, but think about getting a summer job that will put some money in your pocket and may even help you advance your career.
1. Lawn care – Summer is growing season and many lawn care companies will be seeking seasonal employment to help with the increased demand. Expect long hours, hot conditions and loud noise, but this is a fair trade for the wages and positive health benefits. The hours may very well extend past a normal eight hour shift and into overtime for you.
2. Law office runner – Law firms often seek students in the summer to run errands. From taking letters to the courthouse, filing paperwork or chasing down lunch, a runner can make good money working for a firm. Pre-law students will find this particularly helpful, especially on applications for law schools. If your employer is an alumnus or alumna, this may help sway your application to the accepted stack.
3. Farm hand – Grueling, tiring, hot and long hours await you if you want to try your hand on a farm. The tradeoff is excellent pay and often a pay by the piece option; the more you do, the better the pay. There are stories of seasonal employees making several hundred dollars a week for only a few weeks of employment. New employees will be expected to work the fields, but if you are willing to stay with the farmer and prove your value, driving tractors may be a nice change of pace. And if you have an interest in agriculture, getting to know these operations first hand can be priceless.
4. Alaska beckons – Deadliest Catch is a winter show, but the summer in Alaska means salmon, salmon canneries and several boats or canneries looking to hire. Greenhorns, the name for any new hand in Alaska, will be knee-deep in fish offal or stuck on a boat for a few weeks at a stretch with less than friendly captains and mates. When the check for over $5,000 to $10,000 rolls in, faces seem to change and brighten.
5. Merchant Marine – Six months on a oil rig offshore a year is the standard for merchant marines, but the intrepid college student who is willing to spend a few months away from civilization in the middle of the ocean or gulf may appreciate the daily pay, long hours and opportunity to save it all. After all, where are you going to spend it, considering you are about one to three hours helicopter or boat ride to the nearest shore? You will need to get a merchant marine license. Inquire how to do that online by doing a simple search.
Each of these jobs may not be the ideal work that many students are looking for but given the current state of the economy, beggars cannot be choosers. Swallow your pride, put the cell phone away and pound the pavement looking for a job. The ‘Greatest Generation’ never complained about turning burgers or checking groceries; they saw it as an opportunity. You should adopt the same philosophy and be willing to work, not only for money, but for experience.
Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle
My name is Jeremy Vohwinkle, and I’ve spent a number of years working in the finance industry providing financial advice to regular investors and those participating in employer-sponsored retirement plans.
I worked throughout my education and I learned and got a lot from it. It also helped me a lot with my finances. I didn't just work in the summer though, I worked year round. Then, like Jenny says, I got an internship and went from there.
Of course, if you can get it, and internship in your field is the best of all. They're much harder to snag these days, though.
Great ideas! When I was young, I occasionally thought about the summer Alaska gig. But, I'm guessing it's mostly male-dominated. ;)