How to get a summer job

Getting the most out of your summer

Summer is many people’s favourite time of year. The stress of school is usually far away, the weather is warm, and the days are longer.

However, it’s also a great opportunity for students to work and make some cash! If you’re out of school for the summer (whether you’re in high school or university), there are plenty of jobs you can get to help make some extra money and gain experience.

The good news is that many jobs are specifically geared towards students during their summer break, which means they usually run from the spring (May/June) to the end of August. If you’re considering getting a job this summer, here are some tips on where and how to get a good summer job.

The good news is that many jobs are specifically geared towards students.

Where and when to look for summer jobs

Typically, the hiring season for summer jobs can start as early as December and can go all the way until April or later, depending on the position. Government jobs or positions that require you to travel will be posted earlier on. Local employers, like camps and golf courses, will probably wait until the spring to hire.

In my experience, most jobs can be found by searching online. You can use websites like Indeed, Workopolis, LinkedIn to search for jobs near you or in specific career areas. If you’re looking for something specific, I would recommend going to the website of the organization you want to work for and visiting their careers page. If you’re feeling super keen, you can even try to contact the organization directly to ask about opportunities.

Ask your parents, friends, your friends’ parents, siblings, teachers...

Use your contacts for leads on possible jobs

Don’t be afraid to ask around for jobs! Ask your parents, friends, your friends’ parents, siblings, teachers, and guidance counsellors as they can be great resources and very helpful when trying to find a good summer job.

Or if you know someone who’s working in a field related to your career interests, talk to them directly! You never know what advice they’ll give you or what connections they might have until you ask. I found my summer job through my sister who had worked there during university. She helped me get my foot in the door because she knew it would be a good fit for me and that I would do well at the camp.

Governments offer an incredible range of jobs

Different levels of government will also post summer student positions. You can work in an office and gain experience relevant to what you’re studying (or want to study) at university. Keep in mind, though, that these jobs are often harder to get because they’re so competitive.

Personally, I’ve been lucky enough to work with the City of Kitchener’s Neighbourhood Camps program. This is a summer camp that runs out of community centres across Kitchener for kids aged four to 12 years old.

This job was fun, plus it really helped me develop my teamwork and organizational skills by working with my co-leaders to organize activities for the campers. Another great thing about this job is that once I worked there once and proved I was a good worker, I was able to go back summer after summer. In fact, many student summer jobs will rehire you the next summer without having to go through a full application again.

 

Government job websites


Discover more ways to earn and save more money for university

 

How to prepare to find a summer job

Summer jobs are the same as any other job, except that they’re shorter. You still have to prepare for them the same way. Here are some things you should do in preparing for a summer job.

Create (or update) your résumé

If you don’t have one, you'll need to make a résumé that helps you stand out from other job applicants. You’ll use this document countless times over the next several years!

Gather references

You’ll probably need two or three. Try to use past employers or people who can speak to your experience in something related to the job you’re applying for.

Dress appropriately for interviews

Even if you’re applying to be a camp counsellor, it’s still important to “dress to impress”! Present yourself as someone who will take responsibility seriously.

 

Summer camp counsellors.

I was able to spend a fun summer working and earning money with the City of Kitchener’s Neighbourhood Camps program.

Unique summer opportunities

Regardless of where you live or where you’re going to university, most cities offer summer student positions like the kinds I mentioned above. However, there are also some really neat opportunities to take advantage of if you’re interested in going further afield during your summer break.

For the adventurer

You could try tree planting in British Columbia, work to preserve Canada's marine ecosystems, or even join Search & Rescue with the Canadian Coast Guard.

For the culture seeker

Take tourists on tours in Canada’s capital, go to France as a Canadian Student Guide, or work abroad as an “au pair”!

For the creative type

Disney World, CBC, and a number of other global corporations offer summer internships for students wanting an experience they can put on their resume.

 

Feeling inspired? There are a ton of opportunities to work in different regions across Canada and find something you love. Also, if you’re coming to Canada for university from another country, you can work for up to 20 hours a week on a study visa!

Working in Kitchener-Waterloo

If you’re local, or if you’re planning to attend the University of Waterloo, one of the biggest perks is that you’re located right in the heart of three cities: Kitchener, Cambridge, and, of course, Waterloo.

Every summer, each of these cities has a number of different jobs specifically for students. These jobs are designed for students because they only last a couple of months and they often don’t require a ton of experience. Sometimes, you actually have to prove you’re a student in order to qualify for the position!

Jobs include summer camp counsellor, horticulture or landscaping, nannying, tutoring, lifeguarding, working at a golf course, dog-walker/pet-sitter, and many more.

Getting a summer job isn’t required, but I’d recommend it. It’s a great way to develop skills and gain experience while also making some money during your time off from school. A summer job can also help you get to know a new place and new people, which can help you out one day when you’re getting ready to start your career!