Business student talking on the phone.
 Eric Written by Eric (he/him), student

For many people, summer is their favourite time of year. The stress of school is usually far away, the weather is warm, and the days are longer.

Summer is also a great opportunity for students to work and make some cash! If you’re out of school for the summer, there are plenty of jobs you can get to help make some extra money and gain valuable work experience.

So many summer job postings are geared toward students who are on 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 when, where, and how to get a good summer job.

How to prepare to find a summer job

summer jobs are the same as any other job, except you work for a shorter period of time. Though, 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 create a résumé that helps you stand out from other applicants. You'll use this document countless times over the next several years, just be sure to update it when necessary!

Gather references

You'll probably need two to three references who can speak to your experience in something related to the job you're applying for. Try to use past employers, but teachers and supervisors from pas volunteer experiences are great too if you haven't had a job before!

Dress appropriately for interviews

Even if you're applying to be a camp counsellor, it's still important to "dress to impress"! You probably don't need to show up in a suit and tie, but clean, wrinkle-free clothing and a blazer go a long way.

Group of students working on laptops.

When and where to look for summer jobs

Typically, the hiring season for summer jobs starts as early as December, depending on the position. Sometimes you can even find a job at the start of the summer months, but I'd recommend starting sooner for the best results! 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 LinkedIn, Indeed, or Workopolis, 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 someone at the organization directly to ask about opportunities.

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.

Student working on laptop.

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 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. Once I worked there and proved that I was a good worker, I was invited back summer after summer. In fact, many student summer jobs will rehire you the next summer without having to go through the full application process again.


Government job websites

Group of students chatting together.

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 you to have a ton of experience. Sometimes, you actually have to prove you’re a student in order to qualify for the position!

Overall, I’d highly recommend getting a summer job, as it's a great way to develop skills and gain experience while also making some money during your time off from school. Get a head start on exploring new places, expanding your network, and starting your career!