Here’s the scoop on a variety of opportunities that are perfect for teens seeking summer employment so you can decide which is the right one for you.
Summer Job Options for Teens
Amusement Park Jobs
Amusement and water parks hire legions of young people as ticket takers, ride monitors, concession staff, maintenance workers, singers, dancers, musicians, and lifeguards.
Summer restaurant and hotel jobs abound for teens. Kitchen assistants help to prepare food, bussers clear tables, and waiters and counter workers serve food and scoop ice cream. Resort towns offer the most seasonal opportunities, including housekeeping and front desk jobs at local hotels.
Summer Camp Jobs
Teens can work a variety of summer camp jobs, as counselors, activity staff, waterfront staff, kitchen staff, maintenance workers, and office staff. Opportunities are available at day and sleepaway camps. You may be able to start as a counselor-in-training if you don’t have the experience to start out as a counselor. The American Camp Association website is an excellent resource for summer camp job listings. The site is also useful for finding camps by location and specialty, and it is safe to assume that all camps will be hiring teens for the summer.
Outdoor Summer Jobs
If you enjoy working outdoors, consider a seasonal farm job. Farms hire farmhands to help weed, water, and maintain crops. During harvest time, farm workers pick crops and help transport them to distribution points. Cool Works is an excellent resource for finding outdoor summer jobs.
Many local farms have retail outlets or attend farmers’ markets, where they employ produce stand workers to stock, display, and sell fruits and vegetables. Most farmers’ markets have websites where you can find a list of vendors to contact.You can also ask if the market itself is hiring. Jobs include social media and marketing, as well as handling produce and goods.
Working at a local nursery is another option for the outdoorsy types. Nursery workers help to dig, cut, and transplant trees, shrubs, and other plants. They water and weed plants; move and display fertilizer, seed, and other nursery products; and wait on customers.
Summer Jobs for Animal Lovers
Animal lovers might consider working for a pet store, veterinary clinic, zoo, animal park, equine center, or shelter. Animal attendants feed, groom, and exercise animals, as well as cleaning cages and housing areas.
Pet store workers arrange displays, stock shelves, assist customers, and care for pets. Stable hands at equine centers help to maintain the stalls and stable areas. They brush, groom, feed, water, and sometimes help exercise horses. If you’re interested in a career working with animals, a summer job is a good place to start.
Summer Jobs for Sports Fans
Stadiums, sports teams, race tracks, and other athletic venues hire seasonal workers as ticket sellers, concession stand workers, souvenir sellers, and maintenance workers. These types of organizations also hire interns (mostly unpaid) to help with communications, marketing, promotions, and other administrative functions. These positions are ideal for young people with an interest in sports management careers.
Many youth sports teams are in need of umpires. If you have basic skills in the sports you’re interested, check with local teams and leagues for opportunities to umpire.
Summer Jobs at the Beach
Want to spend the summer by the water and in the sun? Most waterfront communities hire ticket takers, beach monitors, and lifeguards to work on their beaches. Maintenance staff help to clean beaches, bathrooms, and other facilities. Concession workers stock merchandise and sell refreshments and other beach necessities to customers.
Jobs at Resorts
Resorts often hire young people for jobs in cleaning, food preparation, bussing, refreshment sales, activity leadership, gift shop sales, front desk assistance, housekeeping, kids’ clubs, and waterfront assistance. Some resorts provide housing for staff, so these jobs provide an opportunity to spend some time in an exciting location where you will meet lots of other young people. Apply early, because jobs in prime vacation spots go fast. Check out the resorts section of Cool Works for some listings.
Jobs at Stores
Retail jobs, particularly in summer resort towns, are commonly held by young people. Retail sales clerks will stock shelves, arrange displays, tag items, return items to shelves, and assist customers. In some cases, you may be able to continue your job on a part-time basis during the school year, or even turn your experience into a retail career.
Start Your Own Business
Enterprising teens can make money by starting their own businesses and performing services for local families. Based on your interests and talents, you might consider babysitting, washing cars, mowing lawns, walking and caring for pets, creating and selling jewelry, freelance writing, watering lawns/gardens, cleaning windows, seal coating driveways, painting, tutoring, teaching sports skills, or buying and selling items on Etsy or eBay.
Work for Your Town
Your local town will usually hire park maintenance workers, recreation staff, and lifeguards. Towns also often hire students as office workers to fill in at administrative offices while permanent staff members are on vacation. Check your town’s website for application details and deadlines.
Check out Internships
Young people are exploring career fields through internships at younger ages than ever. Approach local employers in fields that pique your curiosity, seek help from your guidance counselor, and use websites like Internships.com to cultivate opportunities.
Before You Start Looking
If you’re under 18, you may need working papers that certify you’re eligible to work. There are limits to what types of work a younger teen can do, but there are employers who hire 14- and 15-year-olds. If you’re even younger, you may be able to work on an informal basis or start your own business.
Start Your Summer Job Search Now
It’s always a good idea to start looking for summer jobs early, since the search can be a very competitive process. A thorough and creative approach to searching will ensure that you line up a stellar job for this summer.
Also take the time to prepare to fill out job applications, so you’re ready to start applying.
You may not need a resume and cover letter to apply, but it’s a good idea to have one ready just in case. Reviewing samples and writing tips is an excellent way to get started.
But, don’t panic, there will still be jobs available if you’re just getting started. With a little effort, a great summer position is well within your grasp.