Best Summer Jobs for College Students

The sun is out, the kids are happily running around on the grass, people are driving to the beach with surfboards on their roofs—it is summertime. A lot of people see summer as a time to get away from all the stress and responsibilities that they have been receiving in the past months. Who would not want to just lie down on a bed and sleep all day after countless days of doing college papers? Or, perhaps, sit on the couch and play on the PlayStation 4 for hours?

These are totally acceptable ways of spending your summer. For some college students, however, they want to make the most out of the season by doing the things that help them grow. Yes, rest helps in growth, too. For some, however, they want to take it up a notch and work in a summer job.

Why take a summer job?

“Summertime is for being away from stress. Why take a summer job at all when you can just watch Netflix all day?” If you feel like having a summer job feels wrong, here are two of the biggest reasons for why you might want to get one:

  1. Money. There are some things that college students want to do which need to be paid for. Going to the beach, for example, would need to set some money aside for fuel. Having a summer job also lends the benefit of saving up for something pricey.
  2. Resume. You can impress potential employers by showing that you already have a line or two in your “Experience” section. This can help a lot in getting a job in the future. This shows your character as one that takes initiative and willingness to grow, no matter the circumstance. 
  3. Growth. Having a summer job is also very fulfilling, as not only will it impress potential employers, but it will also allow you to develop entirely as a person. While the daily hardships for college will certainly toughen you up, having a taste of the real world through a summer job will really make you a strong person.

With that said, we set a list of the best summer jobs for college students, chosen not only for how enjoyable and profitable they can be, but also for the potential that they have for growth. Such decisions are also made to accommodate students who have different interests or majors.

Without further ado, here are the best summer jobs for college students.

List of best summer jobs for college students.

Cashier

For those who are taking up a major that is largely involved with the handling of money, such as Finance or Accounting, being a cashier can be a small, yet helpful step in such a career. Cashiers are seen in practically every store, so the premise behind being one is simple: scan the code of each item, punch in the total amount and tell it to the customer, receive the payment and give the change, if any, then put the items in the prescribed packaging.

One of the hardest things about being a cashier is the beginning. The cash register has numerous codes that you have to input to access certain functions, such as making a new transaction or deleting a certain item when the customer changes his mind. Memory skills are definitely a must, along with speed and efficiency whenever going through each transaction. This is especially when, say, a huge sale comes on and a lot of customers are in line. Eventually, this does become natural over time, and in the long run, you will be able to handle money a lot more easily in the future.

Sales Representative

Being a sales representative, also known as a salesperson, requires an incredible amount of interpersonal skills and communication skills. For the most part, you will be convincing potential customers to buy a certain product by highlighting its main features. Definitely, the ability to read people and know their wants and needs from a single look is a big plus. Furthermore, you would also help some customers who are inquiring about certain products. The formula is the same here: convince the customer.

The challenge here comes with very tough, picky customers who just cannot seem to budge to your words. These are often callous to what you say and are rarely completely convinced at all. Even worse is that these kinds of customers can be anyone. You just have to always put your best foot forward. Most of all, prepare to accept the final “no,” even after a hefty amount of time of convincing. Being a sales representative will definitely toughen you up, which will help a lot in future career that, likewise, require effective persuasion and communication skills, such as being a lawyer or businessman.

Inventory Assistant

Got a keen eye for missing stuff? You might be interested in being an inventory assistant. Your duty is simple: ensure that the current inventory of the company is complete and that each item is perfectly functioning. If you find a defect, you have to note it down and report it to your immediate superior. Attention-to-detail and initiative are the skills at work here, and you will surely develop and instill these values as a whole.

The toughest part of being an inventory assistant is that you have to be definitive in your inspections. Your company is relying on you to make sure that your products are up to standard and meets the expectations of the customer base in terms of quality and completion. In some way, being an inventory assistant is also being involved in quality assurance. Work hard enough, and you will find yourself being somewhat like a perfectionist in your work, always making sure that no detail, no matter how small, is left out in your work.

Call Center Agent

Communication skills, professionalism, and composure are three of the main components of being a call center agent. Everyday, you will be receiving calls and entertaining clients throughout the world, answering their questions in a very calm and inviting manner. With such a hectic environment, you will be bound to develop a thick skin and a mouth that speaks like a flower at the same time—an excellent way to grow into any profitable career in the future.

Likewise, such a frantic job is a double-edged sword: the same hectic environment and overall duties and responsibilities require you to always be on your feet. You rarely have the time to relax, and you will be sanctioned by your supervisor if you do. Furthermore, this job sometimes requires to work outside of the usual hours that other jobs would make you work. Instead of a 9 AM to 5 PM work, you might work from 2 PM to 11 PM, or even 4 PM to 1 AM, depending on your contract. Nevertheless, you will truly toughen yourself up with this job, which will help you in any future job prospect.

Data Entry Clerk

For those who prefer a more private kind of summer job, being a data entry clerk can be a way to go. It does not need much communication; you only need to type down the data from handwritten documents into the computer. Basically, you are making those documents digital, either in Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel. For those who like computers and have a decently fast typing speed, they will find being a data entry clerk quite an attractive prospect.

Handling data, however, is a very delicate task. One wrong piece of data can prove dangerous to the company you are working for. Hence, data entry requires attentiveness, perseverance, and attention-to-detail, all while maintaining the speed required to hit the daily quota. Thankfully, digital documents can be corrected easily through the magical backspace key. You just have to make sure to skim through the digitized document before submitting it to your superior. Overall, you will be able to develop some key characteristics that would help you in your future career.

Barista

Being a barista is a common choice for many college students. You will be making coffee beverages that customers order, all with glowing positivity and calculation. Definitely, memorization is required in knowing how to make every drink in the menu. Even more challenging is when the customer is a picky one and orders, for example, a large cold quadruple shot espresso with four parts coffee, one part 2% nonfat milk, two spoons of honey, and a sprinkle of nutmeg, with two cubes of ice.

Of course, as with other skills, this will become natural over time, and over time, too, will you improve interpersonal skills, sociability, and confidence. Besides receiving and remembering orders as the customers stated them, you will talk to them in a light-hearted manner. This is a common quality among many baristas, as it is a way for them to make the customers feel relaxed in the coffee shop (while hoping for a hefty tip). Cafes such as Starbucks and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf are actively hiring aspiring young adults, so you do not need to worry about looking for a position as a barista.

Waiter

Interested in a career where you work in a restaurant? Being a waiter can serve as one of the first steps towards that goal. Firstly, you will develop some interpersonal and charisma skills. One of the things that a customer expects is to feel comfortable and relaxed in the restaurant. From the moment you lead them to their table, down to taking their bill, you will be responsible for that goal. Another thing is that you will learn how to communicate with your team. The order slips that you fill up have to be readable and understandable, and if there is any misunderstanding between the order-taking and order-making process, you will need to be able to clear it up.

The biggest challenge with being a waiter is the pressure. When the restaurant is filled up, you will have to constantly fill up order slips, sending them to the kitchen, getting the food to the customers safely, all while making the environment feel inviting. At times, it can be overwhelming, and you will experience some bad days here and there. Do not worry, however—as the going gets rough, you yourself gets tough. Even if you do not continue a restaurant career, the eloquence, interpersonal skills, communication skills, toughness, and confidence that you develop from being a waiter will serve you well in any job in the future.

Freelancer

If you want to play by your own rules, working in your own time and pleasure, being a freelancer might be the summer job for you. It is a very attractive choice for many college students—no need to commute to some faraway place to work in a specific time. From video and photo editing, writing, photography, and so on, you can freelance on any kind of skill that people might need. Furthermore, you will also improve even more with your skills while learning a few things about how the business of your craft works.

However, this is not all easy. Freelancing is being done by so many others that you really have to step up your game in attracting potential customers. You will have to offer something interesting and of high quality to get a steady stream of income from this prospect. Fortunately, if you push through with this, not only will you get a decent load of money; you can make a name for yourself and possibly establish a brand that can be highly profitable in your future career.

Delivery Driver

If you are a college student with a driving license and love driving around, being a delivery driver might be something you would like as a job. The premise of the job is pretty simple: gather the packages, drive to each location, and leave the assigned package there. One of the perks of being a delivery driver is that you get to travel to many locations, especially those where you never went before. You can also learn how to travel to a certain place in the country. Are your friends looking for a place to hang out in? They can look to you to know where to go!

Just like any other job, however, you still need to remember the regulations and protocols set by the country, making sure you follow each one thoroughly. You also have to learn time management skills and driving fast, as you have to finish every set of batches throughout the day. Yes, you are still traveling—but you are not sightseeing. Thankfully, when it becomes natural for you, the other perks mentioned above will apply, and you will appreciate being a delivery driver as a summer job.

Lifeguard

Being a lifeguard sounds like a dream job: you will relax under the sun on the sandy beach, looking through your binoculars to make sure that no one swimming there is in danger. Occasionally, you might have the experience of having to save a person who got caught in a big wave. Most of the time, though, you are just sitting down on your chair, earning money by being under the sun: a literal summer job. This does not mean that this is a completely easy job. The challenge is exactly that: you will feel relaxed with the job—so relaxed that you might not notice someone already in danger in some part of the beach. 

This job requires your utmost attentiveness at all times, making sure that things in the beach are in order throughout the day. Also, when you first get into the job, you will be given basic first aid training such as CPR and bandaging, taught about protocols on what to do during specific incidents, and so on. Most of all, everyone’s lives will be in your hands, and you may be held responsible for anything that goes wrong. Still, it is a job where you stay on the beach. If you love the beach, you will love this job.

Final notes

Hopefully, the above list will help you greatly in choosing the best summer job for you. Whether your current skills do not match some jobs is not the main concern—you have to choose the one that helps you grow. If you are a shy-type who wants to be a lawyer, you will have to grow into it. Having said that, here are a few final notes to help you:

  • Do not stress yourself out over your summer job. Again, it is summertime, the season of fun. You should be enjoying your summer job, not feeling like it is a burden. If ever that you do feel that it is, quit the job and find another job you can take up.
  • Make the most out of it. Having a summer job is somewhat like having a small commitment: you are dedicating a sizeable portion of your time into it. With that considered, it is wise (and favorable) to make the most out of it. Perhaps at some point, you will find yourself enjoying it far more than you first thought you would.
  • Take the summer job with other things, which means that you should not isolate your summertime to just the summer job. Find other things that you can take up to foster your growth, such as trying your hand in painting or handicraft.

Overall, the point of the summer job is to be a way of spending your summertime in productivity, growth, and—most of all—fun. You will be fascinated: once you take up your first summer job, you would wish that the summer would never end. Along with the money, you will also gain many great memories and times that will last you your entire life.

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