Employment and HR | Students

Summer Jobs For Students: Tips For Finding The Perfect Job

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Hire Me Student Summer Job

By: Katrina

Now that school is over, at least for College and University students, it’s time once again to find those perfect summer job opportunities.  For the majority of students, the summer means 4 solid months of money-making time that should not be wasted. So, what can you do to make the most of those months to save up tuition money and expenses for the following school year or to start paying down OSAP loans or other school debts?

If you are University or College bound prepare your finances now rather than later because money can mount up fast when you don’t have a plan. It’s also a great way to plan ahead for your student budget before heading back to University or College if you know how much money you have earned over the summer months.

Below are some tips that I’ve learned over the years which worked for me or others that I know to find summer season jobs to make money. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, after all most employers are looking for employees that are creative, go-getters and want to work hard for their organization.

Seasonal Jobs

Many landscaping, painting, and window washing companies as well as city works just to name a few, hire seasonal employees every summer. One popular company in Ontario being Student Works Painting which have employed students year after year since 1981. Being a student and only available for the summer months in most cases,  hiring students can be a costly move for a company.

Thankfully, the government has the ‘Canada Summer Jobs’ program and will provide some funding to these companies to help with the cost of paying summer students. These companies WANT to hire you as the government pays a significant portion of your wage….why wouldn’t they want to take advantage of this?

Stand Out In The Crowd

Summer time means lots of competition for these job opportunities. When applying for a job really take the time to create a résumé specific to that job position. If you have skills that qualify you for the job, make sure to highlight and concentrate on those more so than other irrelevant skills.

For example….I have many years of landscaping experience as well many years of retail and customer service experience. If I was applying to a landscape company I would focus a lot more on my landscaping experience and touch only slightly on my retail experience. Dealing with customers on a landscape job happens often so I would still mention that I do have customer service experience.

Job Research

Besides making sure your resume is in top-notch shape know the people you are applying to as well as the position applied for. Show some interest and they might just see how much you want the job and how you may be a perfect fit for the organization.

Do plenty of  research about the company and the name of the person you are applying too. Avoid writing a cover letter to ‘Whom ever it may concern’, take the time to find out their name. If possible find out their first and last name to avoid incorrectly using Mr or Mrs/Ms.  Showing that you took the time to look into the position shows how serious you are about wanting the job.  Give the company a call a few days or maybe a week after to see what the status of the position is. Don’t call everyday as you want to avoid annoying them, but calling to inquire will again show your interest and determination to get the job.

Job Network

Talk, talk, talk don’t be afraid to speak about what you are passionate about.

Something I have mentioned before in regards to making your own work is talking about what you do, talk about it a lot!! Just the other day I was approached by a couple who is leaving for the summer. They had heard that offer I landscape services and asked if I would be interested in maintaining their property for the summer. You bet I said YES!! Every job I do get, I always mention that they are more than welcome to pass my information onto others. I even managed to find a job simply by guest blogging here at Canadian Budget Binder from a fan who was interested in my skills and abilities.

If you can’t find job opportunities….make them!

If you have read some of my past posts you will know all about how I make extra money on the side from my full-time career. I offer to help people create, install and maintain their landscapes and gardens. Although I am no longer a student, a lot of what I’ve done could be applied to a student trying to find a summer job and having no luck. The idea of starting your own business can be terrifying! Believe me, I was scared even at the thought of it. But it doesn’t have to be, I’ve learned that running a business can be pretty simple.

Keep an eye out in your neighbourhood, many retirement aged people and seniors spend a lot of time away from their homes in the summer. In the spring you could pass out flyers offering to help maintain their gardens, cut their grass, water their plants etc. while they are gone. If you offer a reasonable price you would be surprised how many people will take you up on it! You could also put up signs on posts or billboards in offices or shopping centres that allow it advertising your service, what you do with a phone number tear-off at the bottom.

Business Ventures

Things to keep in mind while creating your own job opportunities…..

Don’t be afraid to jump into a new business venture if you feel you have an idea coupled with the skills needed to earn some extra money this summer.

In Ontario, as long as you operate your business as your own name, nothing fancy added, you are not required to register yourself as a business. Also if you operate as your name you do not require a business banking account, you can avoid the fees for registration and business bank fees. It’s a great way to save a little while starting up. You can always register and change your business name later if desired.

You are not required to pay GST/HST in Canada until after a revenue of $30,000 (before expenses) in one year, calendar year or any 12 consecutive months. This allows you to advertise your services as tax-free, if you are not paying it to the government you cannot charge for it.  Remember you still have to pay your income tax.

Training and Leadership 

Training and leadership based job opportunities are a great way to build confidence and skills in anyone wanting to take charge in their future. As a student, thinking about your post-education career can be terrifying. Are you going to be able to find a job in your field? Are you going to have enough experience? Do you have the skills and confidence to really win over an employer?

There are companies out there whose main goal is to teach you the necessary skills that you need to succeed. An example of this is a company called Student Works Painting as I mentioned above. They help College and University students run their own summer painting business.

Painting may not be what you plan to do with the rest of your life but this is a great way to learn how to run a successful business that you can apply to whatever field you choose. They will teach you leadership, management and business skills while supporting you every step of way to ensure you have a successful business. Not only are you left with some great knowledge and training, but also some excellent experience to add to your résumé.

Focus Groups

A focus group refers to an organization or institution looking for people to contribute their knowledge and or experiences to a research study. Most often I see focus group studies offered by Colleges and Universities or even organizations that help businesses with new product lines or potential product lines and want input from potential consumers in certain demographics. This is a great way for a business to see what improvements they need to make for a product or to find out if the product might even do well before they spend any more money moving forward.

Last summer I stumbled across an ad on Kijiji I (search jobs or under community category) looking for young females who endure physical labour on a regular basis. The study was regarding females and what was a suitable weight for lifting repetitively throughout a work shift.The study offered a rate of $15/hr, it took 4 hours and I made $60! I’m not going to lie and say that it was easy because I worked up a pretty good sweat doing this one, but it was an easy opportunity to make some money.

It was pretty cool too, I was hooked up to a bionic machine and being able to see on a computer every move I made was neat.  Schools will quite often have posting boards where they will regularly list paid current studies in which they are looking for participants.

Although participating in a focus group or online study that pays you money is not on-going income for the summer don’t pass up easy ways to make money when they fall in your lap. Money is money after all whether it’s  $5 or $5000 especially if you are not yet working, so make time to make money when you can.

Smile and Be Confident

Don’t get yourself down if you don’t get that phone call for that perfect summer job you were waiting for, think about what you can you do….and what job opportunities you can make for yourself! There is a lot of  summer work out there for students, just keep looking. It’s a great way to understand what you may face once you are finished your education so you can plan moving forward.

What other tips can you offer to students looking to find the perfect job this summer?

katrina cbb

Post Contribution By: 

Katrina is regular contributor for Canadian Budget Binder and is as passionate about personal finance as she is gardening. Katrina is a horticulture graduate with over 10 years experience with landscaping and greenhouse production.

Her goal is to share her knowledge and experiences blogging about gardening and her continued passion for personal finance in hopes of motivating others. While being a single mom of two and an in-store marketing representative  for major retail shops she also runs her own Landscaping Services in Southwestern Ontario.

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  1. In the summertime, there are lots of seasonal jobs that will get you outside, and allow for you to spend time in the sun.. Landscaping, Painting, Moving, and Best of all– Lifeguarding, are all great choices.

  2. I just hired a 13 year old to do some filing a few hours a week because she was assertive enough to ask. She wants a pair of headphones that her mom says she has to buy herself. (Her mom works for me). I liked her attitude and so far she has been great. I think once you get a good reputation, it’s easy to expand on that for jobs down the road.

    1. That’s great Kim! Good on that 13 year old for having the courage to ask! I am lucky enough right now to only have to pay a sitter for 4 hours a week so I decided to look for a responsible teenager. I have a 15 year old who comes and shes not only happy making some money but shes at that age where she enjoys playing with my 2 and 4 year olds. I know her aunt.

  3. I really enjoyed this article Katrina!!!! I think I’ll talk to my niece and see if she is interested in reading this…. Not quite sure what she is doing this year but I think she might be going back for her Masters in Sept…. I’ll look into it….
    These ideas would be good for anyone that is looking for work as well. Given how the economy has been the last few years every little bit of help getting a job can be good for some one…..

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Christine! Let’s us know if your niece read it and if any of it worked for her!

  4. Great tips Katrina! I think a lot of it really does come down to networking and making yourself stand out from the crowd. The one thing about networking that many forget is that it’s a two way street…be genuine and if you can help someone out then go for it as you never know how it’ll benefit you in the long run.

    1. Thanks John…you may be just as qualified as the next person but what is going to make that company want to hire YOU!
      Helping others is also rewarding in the warm fuzzy kind of way too!

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