The Best Summer Jobs for College Students

The Best Summer Jobs for College Students
The school semester is coming to an end and its time to kick back, relax, and enjoy the summer months. But then it hits you: your bank account is running low and you don’t want to be asking your parents for extra spending money for your personal wants. You want summer to be enjoyable and truly stress-free, but money is an issue and you might need a job. Well that put a damper in your stress-free, kick-back-and-relax summer plans, right? Not quite.
There are plenty of summer jobs available for college students these days that pay very well and do not take out too much of your time. College students looking for some extra spending money can find positions in all sorts of industries that not only offer great benefits, but allow for flexible schedules, outdoor work environments, and a great look on a resume. 
After all, you don’t want your summer to be completely taken up by work, but you want to make some dough when you need it. So, as a college student who has tried multiple summer jobs and is speaking from experience, here are my top picks for summer jobs for college students. But first, here’s what you need to look for:

 

 

Look for pay and benefits, and don’t sell yourself short

Just because your friend Jimmy said he couldn’t find anyone that would offer him more than minimum wage doesn’t mean that will be the case for you. Jimmy didn’t look very hard and he took the first position that was offered to him. When you’re browsing through jobs, read job descriptions thoroughly. Make sure that the company is offering a reasonable wage for the work they desire from you. A lifeguard who is asked to save lives and go through some pretty intense training should not be paid minimum wage. Likewise, a moving helper who is asked to perform heavy lifting for multiple hours a day shouldn’t be paid a flat rate for each job for the “estimated amount of time.” You should always search for jobs that pay fair for the work you are asked to do. Don’t think that you will be paid minimum wage just because you don’t have any experience. As a college student, you’re working hard to get your degree which proves you have work ethic and dedication.

Bonus tip: look for tip jobs! Positions that pay hourly wages with tips in the customer service industry (like waiters, bar tenders, valets, and moving helpers) are secret gems. Why? Because the amount you can make in a tip job is limitless.. really! At UMovers, we have plenty of occurrences of movers getting tipped over $100 on jobs that only required a few hours of work. For these positions, you maximize the amount of money you can make for the smallest time commitment. Unfortunately, you risk limiting your potential at an hourly-wage-only job that doesn’t include tips. Given, tip jobs do require a bit more hustle and bustle, but it’s worth it if you’re looking to make some serious cash!

Your time commitments should not be excessive

Don’t you love it when you get your first “part-time” job and your manager asks you to put in over 30 hours of work in just your second week? So much for having time to enjoy your summer! I highly suggest staying away from any jobs that ask for your fullest availability in the job interview, are extremely quick to hire, or have very low standards. These are sure-fire signs that the company is looking for hands of any sort and really don’t value your knowledge, experience, or individuality. They just want employees to check off boxes and get the work done, and use you until you break. 

For this reason, the jobs to search for are the ones that allow you to submit your own availability and are flexible. Does the company tell you when to come to work or do you tell them when YOU want to work? It should be the latter. At UMovers, you only work when you want because the scheduling is done completely on your terms. Each week we send out an availability form where all movers submit their time slots for the upcoming working week. This allows all of our movers to have confidence that they won’t be overworked or come into complications with prior commitments. After all, if your buddy Luke is throwing a party on Friday, you should be able to request off when you want with no questions asked.

Resume booster or waste of space?

How does a cashier at McDonald’s look on a resume for your first grown-up job application after college? Probably not so strong. I know you might be thinking that you’ll have plenty to add to your resume by the time you graduate, but unless you’re tremendously involved in clubs, athletics, and/or volunteer work throughout the school year, I can guarantee you’ll be falling short of experience to add. 

I recommend looking for job openings that include some applicable professional-values and skill sets. Sure, a cashier counts as possessing customer service skills, but are you consistently challenged with problems to solve? Are the daily duties of a cashier applicable to any other job? Not in any significant way. Some positions that require a bit more problem solving and divergency will look far better on a resume, even if the position isn’t exactly inline with your degree.

One of my favorite examples is starting your own lawn mowing company. Sure, lawn mowing is pretty straight-forward, but how are you going to get your first few clients? You have to learn advertising first hand. And what about the cost of gas and equipment? This shows accounting skills and organization. And just the fact that you had the confidence to start a company shows entrepreneurship-tendencies. Employers love a candidate who has some fire in their belly. Even if your lawn mowing company isn’t a huge hit, it will surely catch more eyes on your resume. 


The best summer jobs for college students
Now that we know what to look for in a summer job, let’s pick through the best options for us. The five jobs below are based on the three categories detailed above, and are typically accessible no matter where you’re from. Let’s see which positions check off all of our boxes: quality pay, reasonable time commitment, and solid resume booster.

Lawn Mowing, Landscaping, or Roofing

Could you assume I was going to mention this one? You betchya! Yard work and roofing is hard work, no doubt about it. The pay is usually top notch for the hard physical labor and most clients will tip generously for those long, hot days! This position is typically easy to come by and most local companies are always looking for hands. Bonus points if you start your own landscaping company and begin by handing out flyers around your neighborhood. Starting your own company would check off the second and third box by securing your own schedule and showing that entrepreneurial-spirit on your resume. If you don’t think you have that business-savvy mentality just yet, try working for a local landscaping/roofing company in your area and watch how they conduct themselves. After a year or two working for a successful company, consider branching out on your own and implement the traits you learned into your own business.

Bar tending

Tips, anyone..? Bar tending is hands down the most tip-heavy job you will ever come by. Why? Because chances are you’ll be working in a college town, and college-town bars are just never empty on the weekends. The only issue with this position is that your weekends will be taken and hours will be rough (usually through the evening hours starting around 6:00 PM). This position also doesn’t look amazing on a resume, but it certainly shows that you’ll have some drink-making experience and you should be able to hold a conversation with ease. Overall, if you’re looking for some cash, bar tending is your spot.

Internship (degree specific)

Finding an internship during the summer months is surely a favorite for college students. Most internships pay quite well, and this role is easily the best for a resume booster. Even at the most unknown of companies, working behind the scenes as an intern within an established company is a great addition to any resume, no matter what your degree is. The only issue with internships is that they are the most time-consuming of our picks. You can expect to work at least 20 hours a week, and may find yourself working full time 9-5 at some. Whatever the company chooses for your hours, you’ll get a great idea of how they conduct their work days, if you decide to pursue a full-time role with them after getting your degree. 

Lifeguard

A classic job for college students. Most of my friends growing up were eager to get hired at the local pool. There are some great perks to being a lifeguard in the summer: fair pay, reasonable hours, sunshine all day, and not a lot of stress (for the most part). The only issue with being a lifeguard is it’s just an okay resume booster. Nothing that will catch an employer's eyes to say the least. But lifeguarding will surely allow you to make a good amount of money and work on your tan, and a free pool membership usually comes inline with the benefits!

My best advice is to try and look ahead at a bigger picture: if you begin working at a pool your freshman year, you may find yourself in a managerial spot by your junior or senior year if you prove yourself. If you are able to hustle and work your way into a managerial spot, it should count towards an internship because of the role. 

Moving helper 

Last but certainly not least we have being a moving helper. However, most moving companies will require you work a certain amount of hours and with below-reasonable pay. You need to stay clear of these, unless you want your summer to be taken advantage of. UMovers is not one of those companies. With us, all moving helpers start at $15/hr, and for same day + next day jobs you will be paid at $20/hr. Oh, and this doesn’t include tips. You can expect the tips as a moving helper to be more than generous, as our movers typically average around $25/hr-$30/hr at the end of the season.

Additionally, UMovers does not require you work a set amount of hours per week. In fact, you have the complete freedom of choosing your own hours. UMovers moving helpers fill out an availability form each week and decide when they want to work. There is no minimum or maximum hour requirement so you can truly decide what fits you best. And to top it off, UMovers looks amazing on a resume. Problem solving, anyone? Each job is completely different. You will never have the same client, location, and items to move twice. Every piece of furniture is different and you’ll have to work with your partner(s) on finding the necessary solution for the customer.

Finally, spending multiple hours with customers in their home while moving their personal items requires some true confidence and professionalism. You can expect to develop some quality communication skills and unmatched confidence at the end of your time with us. And when you are done with us, UMovers will be sure to give you a fantastic recommendation, because we created this company to leverage college students into their big-time jobs after they graduate. We want UMovers to be a a stepping stone for college kids, rather than an end-all be-all. All three boxes.. Checked!


If we’ve sparked your interest in becoming a moving helper for UMovers, head over to our description page for more info on responsibilities and qualifications. If you’re set on applying, start now by sending a cover letter and resume to: zach@umoversllc.com.
Thank you for reading! Best of luck with your summer job search, and most importantly, enjoy your summer break!

 

Written by Zach Richards