Building a Resume over the Summer, Part 1: Jobs!

You might find that moderately priced soaps are your calling!
You might find that moderately priced soaps are your calling!

Summer is just around the corner, and, if you don’t already have a summer packed with camps, volunteering, and summer school—or even if you do—it’s time to think about getting a summer job.

Yes, as you make the transition into “adulthood,” carefree summer days will unfortunately start becoming filled with that awful “R” word—responsibilities (*shiver*). But if you want your resume to be competitive, you’ll need to show colleges that you took initiative even when school wasn’t in session. Besides, summer jobs aren’t all that bad! You can make new friends, gain new skills, and, if you’re like me, acquire new stories about the crazy people you encounter that you can tell later in college. And you’ll be more financially independent than your friends who didn’t get summer jobs! But what kind of summer employment is best for you?


Obviously, if you can snag an internship relating to what you plan on majoring in in college, this is the best option! This will show colleges that you’re skilled, ambitious, and experienced, while allowing you to get a sense of whether or not you’re going down the right career path. But you’d better start looking NOW! Like really, click on a new tab and start researching on a site like!

Pros: looking like a star on your resume,  acquiring skills that are applicable to your future, testing the waters of your desired career path.
Cons: finding one may be difficult, getting paid in “experience,” getting coffee

Retail Associate

Most retail stores are looking for extra hands during the summer season, so if you already spend half your time at the mall (or even if you don’t), why not ask around to see who’s hiring. Retail jobs aren’t always as easy as they seem: one part customer service, one part store maintenance, one part putting up with a manager/assistant manager who’s drunk on power (there’s always one).

Pros: possibility of future seasonal work, developing people skills, employee discount
Cons: usually minimum wage, awkwardly seeing friends/acquaintances while at work, retail horror stories


Disclaimer: Lifeguarding alone will not get you a Baywatch body!
Disclaimer: Lifeguarding on its own will not get you a Baywatch body!

The quintessential form of summer employment is still a solid choice! Life guards have to be responsible, hard-working, and kind, but they get to work outside and carry around a whistle! If you’re a good swimmer, you should look into a course like that of The Red Cross; you’ll want to be certified as community pools start to open up for summer!

Pros: working on your tan, the possibility of saving a life, adult swim
Cons: long periods of staying alert, huge responsibility, “NO RUNNING”

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Camp Counselor

Remember how cool the counselors at sleep-away camp were, back in the day? Do you realize that you’re now old enough to be one! Relive the adventure of sleeping in a cabin and singing cheesy call-and-response songs around the campfire, but from the other side of things! As an Eagle Scout, I’ll admit that summer camp (even boy scout summer camp) is absolutely one of the best places to be during the summer. Besides, not only will you have a job to put on your resume, but you’ll get out of the house for free all summer!

Pros: plenty of time outdoors, arts and crafts, working with kids
Cons: bugs, variable camp chores, working with kids


Yes, you too could be in the babysitter’s club this summer! It may sound like a juvenile summer job, but really babysitting is anything but (I mean, you’re taking care of a child, there’s really nothing more adult than that)! Unlike other summer jobs, babysitting can provide a much more flexible schedule if you have other summer commitments to work around. On the other hand, babysitting can also be a full-time job! Plenty of working parents need help during the summer, and some of them are willing to pay pretty handsomely for it—I have a friend who’s put herself through college by nannying during summers and breaks. Also, the internet has changed the babysitting game; websites, such as sitter city, can help you get your babysitting biz out there!

Pros: flexible schedule, negotiable pay, plenty of opportunity
Cons: keeping up with a child all day, watching children’s movies on repeat, being a disciplinarian

Odd Jobs

You can’t really just put “odd jobs” on a resume, but if you don’t have a ton of time this summer and you’re looking to score some extra cash, there are probably a number of people in your neighborhood or community who would pay you to clean their pools, detail their cars, clean their gutters, take care of their house/pets. In fact, if you’re industrious enough, you can probably find enough clients to make a small summertime (or even year-round) side-business, which you can put on your resume!

Pros: flexible schedule, negotiable pay, possibly meeting adorable pets
Cons: finding clients, mostly manual labor, no HR department to report creepy bosses

Whatever you do this summer, don’t just spend it on the couch! Yes, you can get into college with some holes on your resume, but if you want to have your pick of schools, you probably don’t want to have to admit that you played PS4 and watched reruns of How I Met Your Mother all summer. So get out there. Get a job. Learn some responsibility. Have a boss to hate. It’s the American way.

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If you don't have to greet customers by telling them it's a "nutty, nutty, nutty world," you're already ahead of Daria!
If you don’t have to greet customers with, “It’s a nutty, nutty, nutty world,” you’re already ahead of Daria!

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