Summer Jobs: A Guide for High School Students

Summer break has officially begun, and while it’s important to enjoy your time and recharge, now is also a fantastic time to start setting yourself up for success. Summer jobs aren’t just your ticket to extra cash – they also offer a wealth of benefits that can positively impact your future and give you the jumpstart you need towards your dream career. Let's explore how summer jobs are helpful, which types of jobs are the most beneficial, and go over some quick resume tips to get you started.

What Summer Jobs Can Do for You

Skill Development

Summer jobs are an excellent way to develop a variety of skills that will be invaluable to you in any future career. Whether you’re working in retail, food service, or an office setting, you’ll gain experience that’s directly transferrable to jobs that, on a surface level, may seem unrelated. Skills such as communication, problem-solving, and time management are not only essential for your resume, but your overall personal development. 

Resume Building

Having work experience on your resume can make a significant difference when applying for college, trade school, or your first full-time job. Employers and admissions officers alike look for candidates who demonstrate responsibility, reliability, and a willingness to learn. Summer jobs on your resume not only demonstrate the skills you’ve been honing, but also your eagerness to be proactive about gaining experience. 

Networking Opportunities 

Have you ever heard the phrase, “It’s not always what you know, it’s also who you know?” There’s a reason entire workshops and seminars are built on the premise of promising networking skills. Using summer jobs as an opportunity to build relationships with your customers, co-workers and supervisors could very well lead to references, internships, and full-time positions in the future. 

Exploring Interests 

In high school, it’s not uncommon to have absolutely no idea what types of careers interest you. If you aren’t sure what you want to do, summer jobs can be a way to explore different career fields and interests. You may find what sounded good in your head isn’t right for you in practice or discover you’re very passionate about something you have never considered before. This early exploration will not only help guide decisions on your education and career – it could also save you a lot of time and money. 

Financial Benefits 

The positives of summer jobs aren’t solely reserved for your future career – earning your own money is a reward all in its own! What you do with it is up to you. You could save for college, buy something you’ve been wanting, or contribute to family expenses. Learning how to budget is a skill that will support you now, even if the benefits will last long after high school.

Summer Jobs for High School Students 

As discussed, ideally, your summer job will help you build skills, gain relevant experience, and make connections that will flourish into career opportunities down the road. So, where does that leave you? What jobs currently align with your career interests and aspirations? It’s okay if you aren’t sure! Whether you’re looking to explore potential career paths, develop specific skills or gain general work experience, here are some options that provide both immediate and long-term benefits: 

Retail and Customer Service 

Jobs in retail and customer service teach valuable skills in communication, problem-solving, and customer interactions. Potential employers who have previously worked in customer service will recognize you are likely to have talents directly translatable to management or sales. 

Administrative Assistant 

Working in an office environment provides insight into professional operations and administrative tasks and is excellent for developing organizational and time management skills. It’s a valuable experience for careers in business administration, management, or human resources. 

Camp Counselor 

Managing the health and happiness of groups of children while planning various activities showcases impressive responsibility and the ability to work well under pressure. Positions like this look great on a resume when pursuing careers in education, social work, or recreation management. 

Private Tutor 

Experience in tutoring shows the ability to explain complex concepts clearly and think creatively. While this is useful for experience leading to education or academia, it’s also perfect for any field requiring an informed mind and strong communication skills, such as technical writing. 


Determining which plants are suitable for cohabitation, monitoring plant health and designing outdoor spaces develops critical thinking, attention to detail, and strategic planning. Experience in this field is perfect for careers in horticulture, landscape architecture, and urban planning.   


Securing an internship, even a short-term one, is incredibly beneficial. They offer hands-on experience in a professional environment, exposing you to industry practices and networking opportunities within the company.  

Starting Your Own Business 

Whether it’s dog walking, crafting handmade goods, or offering creative design services, you’ll learn valuable skills like marketing, customer service, and financial management. Building and running a business also shows initiative and leadership – qualities that look terrific on resumes and college applications. 


While not commonly paid, volunteering demonstrates a commitment to community service and social responsibility, which can be very appealing to colleges and future employers. Experience volunteering also helps when looking for careers with non-profit organizations or public service. 

Quick Resume Tip 

You may now be asking yourself, “How do I write a resume when applying to my very first summer job?” Worry not! It’s important to keep in mind that employers offering first-time summer jobs do not expect you to have previous work experience. Your resume may be nearly blank, and that’s perfectly normal. Everyone has to start from somewhere. When applying for your first summer job, include your place of education, your GPA, academic achievements, sports clubs – anything that might demonstrate your ability to stay on task, or eagerness to learn. For more information on how to write a resume, visit our Writing a Resume resource page!

Make the Most of Your Summer 

In addition to working, summer is also a great time to focus on personal development and preparing for the upcoming school year. Remember to spend time having important conversations with your family and friends, and stick to a study routine that helps you maintain your academic momentum. Have fun, and remember to make the most of your summer break! 

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