3 Summer jobs for students

This past weekend, Vancouver had it’s annual car-free day, with street festivals being held all over the city.  Brian and I braved the crowds and had a beer out on the street while enjoying a bit of sun and warmth.  When the patios and beer gardens come out, it’s a sure sign of impending summer!

car free day

It’s also the time when students, many of whom are free for the summer, start to look for jobs.  My sister, who is 15, is hoping to find a job this summer.  When I was a student in high school and college, I always tried to find a summer job to make some extra cash and get some work experience.  Whether you’re majoring in nutrition or business, here’s a few suggestions:

  1. Research Assistant: When you’re in college and looking for a summer job, one of the best ways to get experience in your field is to work as a professor’s research assistant.  You might have to volunteer during your first summer in order to get some initial experience, but you should be able to find a paying job after that.  I would suggest speaking directly to professors who do research you are interested in and checking with your school’s job board.  I landed positions at my university’s biodiversity museum and various labs over the summer.  Just keep in mind – it’ll often be up to you to let the prof know what you can do for them.
  2. Seasonal worker: Summer always brings on a whack of great seasonal events.  In Vancouver, we have many festivals, tourist attractions and fairs.  All of these places need seasonal employees for the busy summer!  Consider becoming a cashier at the aquarium or a vendor at the local fair while the tourist season is going strong.  Usually, there is less of a requirement for experience, so it can be a great first job for a student.
  3. Government jobs: What, government jobs?  It’s true. Many provinces (and states) have programs designed to get students work experience over the summer.  It’s win-win right?  The sooner students start working, the sooner they pay taxes, after all.  Here’s an example of a program, from the province of Ontario.  Jobs might include working in city libraries and pools, running day camps for children, or joining up with a city landscaping or engineering team.

I’ll probably encourage my sister to try to get a job with the Pacific National Exhibition this August. They’re great for hiring high school kids with little to no experience, and that’s the category my little sister falls into!  For me, my best summer job was probably the time I spent feeding the fish at the Vancouver Aquarium.  Not super related to either of my degrees, but it was a lot of fun!

What were your best and worst summer jobs?  Any other tips for job seekers?

Posted in: Career and Work

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