Great Summer Job Ideas

Employers That Typically Hire College Students For Summer Jobs

Summer Camps depend on students to staff their summer programs, which include anything from arts & crafts, sports, backpacking, canoeing or horseback riding to 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, bartending, dishwashing and other wait staff 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 best source for information is the National Parks Trade Journal.

The National Park Service generally hires about 11,000 employees at the 330 national parks, monuments and recreational areas. Various jobs are available, and 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 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; competition for these positions is fierce.
For job openings across the U.S. with the National Park Service, click here.

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 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. Check with the Summer Jobs Directory and Jobs in Paradise guidebooks for potential employers.

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.

Nanny/Child Care Positions: Many families hire college students to assist with child care and light housekeeping during the summer months. An interesting plus is that some of these families travel to resort areas. Driving and swimming abilities are advantageous. Salaries vary and generally room and board is included. Agencies are a good contact source, but students should be cautious about paying fees for placement. Check the Career Services On-Line Job Listings for position announcements.

Temporary Agencies: Many temporary agencies recruit and place college students during the summer months. All phases of office work (secretarial, reception, typing, word processing, computer processing, etc.) are available. Light industrial positions with local manufacturers may also be available. Hourly rates will often be based on the applicant's skills and experience. Computer literacy is a big plus! Typically no fees are charged to students for placement, but be sure to clarify this with the agency representative. A good source for compiling a list of local temporary agencies is the yellow pages of the phone book.

Summer Theaters: There are opportunities for college students with many of the nation's theaters during the summer months to assist with the production of plays, operas, musicals, dramas, etc. A variety of full and part-time positions are available and may include positions for interested students. Generally the summer theater is not a 40-hour per week job and it can be durationally hectic and filled with deadlines.

Working for yourself: Entrepreneurial-minded students may consider starting their own business during the summer months. If you are creative and are willing to put in the time and effort it takes to get a small business off the ground, it may reward you with flexibility, self-satisfaction and financial gain. House painting, lawn care, child care, etc. are typical businesses that students start, but you may have a more creative angle. MCC has had many students start very enterprising and unique businesses. One artistically-talented student worked at an ocean marina/boatyard, painting identifying names onto private boats. If you have a talent or just a willingness to offer a service to the public, give some thought to running your own business. Who knows where it may lead!

Volunteering: Perhaps you have been unable to find the summer job of your dreams. You may be able to gain valuable experience to enhance your future career goals by serving others. By offering your time and effort to help others in any one of hundreds of community service programs and agencies, you could spend a rewarding summer as a volunteer or an intern. Community service involvement is a learning tool that can help you to define your future career goals and develop valuable resume building experiences. The Voluntary Action Program may offer contact information.

Surf the Net: The Internet is a great resource that can assist you in finding a summer job. The Career Services Office in L-120 can help if you need assistance "working the 'net".
  • Cool Works - This site boasts of 60,000 jobs and volunteer positions at camps, resorts, ranches, state parks, etc.
  • CampJobs.com - Search this one-stop online summer camp job employment recruitment resource/database and apply for summer camp jobs, posted by overnight camps, day camps, special needs camps, sports camps, teen tours, arts camps and more.
  • Camp Staff - A two-way searchable database helping prospective counselors and staff find jobs at great summer camps.
  • Summer Jobs - Register as a job seeker and have FREE access to this online career tool.
  • Great Camp Jobs - Search for summer camp jobs available now at premier boys, girls and co-ed summer camps in Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, Maine, New Jersey, New York and Vermont.
Last Update: January 02 2013
For additional information, contact: Carl Ochnio