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Summer Jobs, What to Do When Your Search Has Failed

Updated on October 20, 2021

As a student not getting a summer job can be a big deal. Whether you’re in high school and saving for post-secondary studies, or in university and need to pay for next year’s text books and fees not getting a summer position can be stressful. Even if you don't absolutely need the money, extra cash in your bank account is always good to have in case of an emergency or unexpected expense like laptop repairs. Then there is also the boredom factor. Without a job there is a long and boring summer ahead, let’s face it daytime TV sucks for the most part, Netflix binges are just plain unhealthy, and who wants to be stuck to the couch all summer anyway? Not to mention your friends for the most part likely have jobs and without an income you’re not going to even be able to chip in a couple of bucks for gas for a trip to the beach. As if an unemployed student doesn't feel bad enough, there is often the nagging of parents, especially when you live at home. So if you've looked for a job and failed there are still ways to have a productive summer.

Employ Yourself

If you can't find a job there is always the option to make one for yourself. What are you good at? What are your interests? Take your skills, and interests and make them marketable. If you like animals you can pet sit or walk dogs. If you are artistic and like to make crafts or jewellery you can sell those, there are many online markets that make it easier to do so. If you like kids, baby sit. If you're good at certain subjects you can tutor, early summer is a great time as many high school students have exams in May or June. If you like writing you can look for some freelance writing jobs, or set up a business that helps others write resumes (many good examples and tips can be found online), offer proof reading or typing for those who would rather pay others to do it for them. You can offer to do cleaning, other house work and junk removal/ organization for people. With junk removal anything that people get rid of it in decent shape could always be part of a garage sale, though you may want to be upfront with customers if you are doing this- many people don't have the time or energy for garage sales of their own and may happily part with things they may have thrown out anyway.

If you can't come up with any ideas off the top of your head there is an internet full of inspiration and ideas out there waiting


If you can't find a summer job you can volunteer to keep busy and to have something to add to your resume. There are always places looking for volunteers, even when there is no paid work to be found. Some hospital gift shops employ volunteers as sales associates, which would give relevant experience for a part time job in retail in the future. If you like animals volunteer at a shelter, you could later use this experience to get a job at a pet store, doggy daycare or pet sitting jobs (you could work this last one around your fall classes). If you’re an English student or studying to become a teacher, volunteer helping children learn to read. Any volunteering usually looks great on your resume and you may be able to use your supervisor as a reference, but be sure to ask first.

Expand Your Knowledge

Spend your time learning something. You could read up on subjects for the courses you plan on taking in the fall, learn a new language, write a novel, take a course on how to use Photoshop or other computer programs. Find something productive to keep you busy and if possible, learn a new skill you can add to your resume.


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