10 Last-Minute Summer Jobs
Seasonal jobs, school breaks and the ever-present need for some extra cash make summer a great time in which to explore job opportunities while getting experience doing something you really love.
There are two things to take into consideration. First, what are your interests? And second, what needs does your community have that aren't being met?
For example, you may find you have a passion for cooking and would love to gain some experience that will help pave the way to your dream job as a chef. Check around for restaurants or catering companies that tend to get busier in the summer months (think weddings or places with popular outdoor patios) for an idea of businesses that may be to scrambling to fill some much-needed extra positions.
On the other hand, maybe your dream is to become an entrepreneur. An attractive option might be to start your own service — the process can be fairly painless with very little startup cost, and the best part is it can be created as soon as you set your mind to it.
Hard workers can almost always etch out a position doing what they love on their terms. Whether it's about gaining experience, earning extra money or simply wanting to spend the season doing something you enjoy, there is a last-minute job for everyone this summer.
Here are 10 great ideas to get you started. Also check out our article on the 6 Summer Jobs that Fit Your Schedule.
1. Babysitter/Summer Nanny
If you love working with kids, consider a job as a nanny or make yourself available to pick up babysitting gigs over the summer. It's perfect for earning a little bit of extra cash, whether it's what you do every day with your child - hello, free playgroup - or a great way to gain solid references for prospective jobs in your dream career as a teacher. Word of mouth is popular for finding sitters, so talk to friends, co-workers and relatives to get an idea of where your services might be needed, then check out a babysitting rates calculator to determine the most appropriate hourly wage to charge. Neighborhood flyers or advertising through social media can also be resourceful. Keep references ready, and remember rates vary depending on how many children need to be cared for, whether they have any special needs, and what hours you're available.
2. Pet Sitter/Dog Walker
If you were constantly grounded for bringing stray animals home as a kid, have PetSmart on speed dial or are known for carrying doggy treats in your pocket or purse, you may want to consider working with pets as your summer job. Besides the obvious perk of getting to spend the summer with lovably furry critters, dog walkers also get the added of incentives of plenty of exercise and enjoying being outside all day. Another option is pet sitting, which can be a more lucrative position when working with pet owners who need house sitters or regular visits for weeks on end. Startup costs are minimal for printing flyers or advertising on free online sources. Remember to research your costs and price services for what customers are willing to pay. Find local pet sitting services to see if they are hiring, or advertise yourself as an independent contractor.
3. Web Consultant
While social media sites like Facebook and Twitter may seem second nature to you, there are many individuals and companies who who would like to start using these tools to network or advertise but just don't know how. That's where you come in. Teach individuals how to set up their own Facebook pages, educate companies on social media etiquette (no one likes getting spammed) or try your hand at building relationships for a business via social media marketing. Check for startup businesses in your area that might need some help developing a website. Believe it or not, even a sizable number of well-established businesses are lacking websites or have ones that are outdated or sub-par. Draft a solid list of the positive effects a well-executed and SEO-friendly website can produce. This way, you have something to present to prospective clients, and once they see all of the benefits, you'll be designing webpages in no time.
4. Creative Freelancer
Whether you're a writer, designer or proofreader, there may be a way to make some cash off of your talents. Why not consider contracting yourself out as a freelancer? This is a great way to earn money while in the comfort of your own home, setting your own hours and avoiding an unruly commute to work. Best of all, you determine your own hourly rate and fees. Freelance work is offered through sites like UpWork, and you can apply for freelance positions in everything from magazines to Fortune 500 companies. While graphic designers may be experts at creating eye-catching websites, sometimes they need a wordsmith such as yourself to convey the portions of the site that will be in print. Masterfully create mission statements, outline a list of a services or edit/publish a company's weekly newsletters — the possibilities are endless.
5. Independent Contractor
If you're looking to spend the better part of your summer outdoors soaking up the sunshine, getting some exercise and making money in the process, consider becoming an independent contractor. Landscapers, pool maintenance companies, carpenters, painters, forestry services and construction companies all have one thing in common: their business picks up big time in the summer months, which means they need some capable and willing new hires to help pick up the slack.
While summer can often be a welcome reprieve from homework, many parents see it as an opportunity to bring their kids' next year's grades up. Not only is there an ever-present demand for tutors who can help students struggling with school, but there are also opportunities for people with special skill sets. If you excelled in a certain subject in school, happen to be on summer break from teaching or college yourself, or can play an instrument or speak a foreign language, you may have just found the perfect last-minute job. Tutors can set their own hours, locations and prices, making this ideal for adults with a little bit of patience and a lot of skill in academia, language or arts. Post flyers in places where your skill set might be needed: school bulletin boards, online help forums, open mic venues or local music stores; the opportunities are endless.
If you have a great driving record and know the city grid like the back of your hand, consider applying to be a delivery, personal service driver or working with ride-sharing companies like Uber or Lyft. These are great options for punctual people with a valid driver's license and a knack for managing schedules. Keep in mind that depending on the service, some drivers may be required to handle light to heavy lifting while other positions may request open availability for weekends and evenings. If use of your car is required, you should also be prepared to provide proof of insurance and a clean driving record. Fuel-efficient cars net more money, but tips are a plus in this field, as well. Benefits range from discounts on food if you deliver for a restaurant to lasting friendships made while driving for seniors.
8. Serving and Bartending
If you love the nightlife scene, enjoying a job that keeps you on your toes or have fun in an environment where you can interact with co-workers and customers face-to-face, serving or bar tending may be right up your alley, and the timing couldn't be better. Most restaurants' business picks up in the summer, so they welcome additional employees over the season. Depending on your position at the restaurant, hourly wage will vary, but many servers can make a killing off tips alone. If you're looking to save money, decide on a percentage you'd like to stash away at the close of each shift. Make it a habit to take that percentage out of your tip money and store it in a place other than your wallet until you can make it to the bank. Having a constant flow of cash has its perks, but it makes it a little trickier to build up your savings.
9. Personal Trainer or Sports Coach
If you have a passion for fitness, a love of sports and a desire to motivate others, becoming a personal trainer or coach is a job that will get you pumped. Instructors do need certification, which can be acquired through the American Council on Exercise, and CPR courses through the YMCA or Red Cross. Yoga, Pilates, aerobics, spinning or strength-training instruction are growing in demand, and experts can earn some good money working part time. Fitness clubs and gyms that hire instructors typically offer free membership and use of their equipment as an added bonus. Or snag a position coaching kids' soccer, swimming or just about any summer sport kids will be lining up to play in warmer weather.
10. Event Planner
If your long-term goal is to one day own your own business, why not get a head start in the entrepreneurial game? If you have a passion for parties, becoming an event planner or an assistant to one who already has an established clientele can be a really fun way to spend your summer. 'Tis the season for graduations, family reunions, weddings, outdoor birthday bashes and other celebrations, so event planners are in high demand over the warmer months. Ask around the neighborhood to see if anyone needs some extra help getting their summer get-togethers planned, or search out some local planners who will more than likely need an extra set of hands this season.
Sheila Szabo is a freelance creative writer in Northern San Diego.