Best Summer Jobs

Here are some of the best summer job options of 2017:




Have you ever applied to a job and on the application the requirements state “2-3 years of previous experience preferred?” Well when you go to get your first “real job” and start a career, it’s almost a given that you need to have previous experience (even when the job is entry level). Due to this needed experience, an internship in your prospective field of choice is the most valuable summer job you can have.

Looking for an internship can be tough depending on your living arrangements. It will always be easier to find one if you’re willing to relocate, but those circumstances aren’t always feasible. The best tips that I can give when looking for an internship is to:

  1. Apply Early – This is extremely crucial because the deadlines for summer internships are often up as early as January, a whole 5 months ahead of when you’ll begin working. Start looking early and apply to as many positions as you can.
  2. Use Your Connections – Using your connections is extremely beneficial to landing that awesome position. Everyone probably knows the one kid who has the sweet summer gig because their dad owns the business or has a “close family friend” that got them a high paying job. Using your connections means using whatever networking is available to you. If your parents work at a company with internships, then see if they can talk to their boss to have you recommended when you apply. Check to see if your school has a list of affiliated internship programs. See if the careers office can reach out and help you land a job. If you know someone else that works at the company your applying for an internship to, see if you can get any tips as to what kind of candidates the company is looking for and how you can prepare yourself to be the most qualified candidate.


Most internships pay very well as it requires some educational experience relevant to that job. So make sure your grades are up to par. Especially in the relating fields since they’re most likely going to ask for your GPA. Along with the high pay, the networking and experience is priceless. Having a summer internship early often leads the company to invite you back the following summer or leads to a job when you’re finished school. I’ve had several friends that had the companies try to hire them directly through their internship, even though they hadn’t yet graduated.


On the contrary, some internships are unpaid. Depending on your financial situation, this could still be the best summer job for you. If you’re in good financial standing, the experience and networking gained is a worthwhile investment that outweighs the amount of money at another summer job. However, most people need money in order to cover their expenses. So if you’re one of those people and couldn’t find a paid internship, there’s plenty of other opportunities out there listed below.

Server or Front of House Restaurant Gig

Working at a restaurant is a great summer job for a variety of reasons.Serving Job The main reason is that it allows you to make way more money than they average summer job in regards to a dollar per hour payout. The only condition to this is that your payout is often based off the quality and amount of effort you put into your work. As a server at an averaged priced restaurant, you have potential to make anywhere from 25-40 dollars an hour on busy nights if you’re good at your job. The amount of money this renders is often even more than the internships mentioned above. If money is your main need for your job over the summer, I would highly recommend this job.


Additionally, working in a restaurant often comes with added perks. The need for staff in restaurants perfectly aligns with breaks for students. The busiest seasons for the restaurant businesses are in the summer and during the holiday break – Thanksgiving to New Years. Securing a restaurant job gives you the flexibility to work on holidays when you come home. It’s also a great part time job that’s pretty easy to maintain during the school year. Most importantly, there’s usually the benefit of free/discounted food at some point when you’re on shift.


A lot of restaurant serving positions require some experience, especially for the higher end ones. If you’re under 18 and never served before, check out some of your local diners to see if they need servers. Diners allow for servers to be hired under 18 years old since they don’t serve alcohol. If that’s not an option, the next best options would be to gain experience as a busser, food runner, or host. This will allow you to get a foot in the door of the restaurant business. Ultimately allowing you to get cross trained into waiter/waitress in the future.


RetailWorking in retail is a very available opportunity for students during the summer. Most stores are always looking to add a few additional staff members as the summer trends are rolled out. Retail often provides a very steady schedule and paycheck, however the pay rates are usually on the lower end. If available, try to find a retail job that allows the employees to collect a commission on sales. This gives you a huge increase in wage potential. Allowing you to be more in control of how much you earn based on the work you put into it.


There’s also many other perks to working at retail. Choosing to work at one of your favorite stores will usually score you a discount. Letting you purchase item’s you’d be regularly spending your paychecks on for a lower price. In similarity with working at a restaurant, retail positions have a need for employees during the time of student breaks due to the increase in sales during the holiday and summer seasons. This presents a chance to come back and work a few hours during winter break if you need the money. Plus as a bonus, it’s often time and a half during the holidays.


Summer was meant to be spent by the water. So whether you’re by a pool, at a beach, or at the local water park, being a lifeguard is a great summer job. Lifeguards are needed at a variety of places and the pay is often more than minimum wage. When searching for a lifeguard position check in with your community pool, country clubs, and local YMCA. If you want to live at the beach over the summer, working as a lifeguard during the day is another viable option. Lifeguard


The main perks of spending your summer as a lifeguard are steady hours and above average pay. Plus you get to spend your time outside by the water working on your tan. This job does require a certification/training so be prepared to obtain that before applying. That way there’s no hold up and you can start working right away.

Cart Kid

Playing Golf

If you’re looking to spend your summer outdoors, but don’t want to be by the pool all day, working at a golf course is a great alternative. Working as a golf cart attendant is a fun way to spend your summer on the green. The pay is usually above average and you have a chance to make tips when handling the clubs of customers/members. Some of the best places to find positions as a cart attendant are country clubs, private golf courses, and public golf courses. You should lean towards working at a member oriented location. This allows you to build a relationship with the regular golfers. These close connections more often lead to tips than random occurrences.


Additionally, there’s usually a variety of perks that come with working at a golf club. Free golf and food/beverage discounts usually are included with the job.


Another great job if you’re over 18 at the golf course is working the beverage cart. Working the beverage cart is a great way to earn quick tips and stay outside.

Self Employed

If you’re not interested in taking the traditional approach to working this summer, why not work for yourself? Whether you have a great idea for a sale, want to choose your own hours, or just want to venture as an entrepreneur, being self employed can still be a great way to make money during your break. I’ve recently written an article going over 6 summer startups that you could take on to make money this summer. You can check them out here if you’re interested in being your own boss.

Final Thoughts

When choosing a summer job, pick whatever interests you the most. Then make sure to get the most out of the experience that you can. Whether it’s an internship where you’re working hands on with tasks you’ll be taking on during your career in the future or learning communication/sales as a retail worker, gain skills that you’ll be able to take into your life ahead of you. Spending your vacation how you want is 100% up to you. Just keep in mind that the summer presents a huge opportunity to advance your financial situation and establish real life moneymaking skills. So try setting up your career while also enjoying your summer break.