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    Why Teens Should Really Get a Job This Summer

    Posted January 23, 2019, 1:00 pm by Jason Patel
    Coffee shop worker with digital order screen

    “What are your plans this summer?” is a question that you have likely been asked already or will be asked as the summer gets closer. If you haven’t already dedicated your summer to following your favorite band around the country or an exotic vacation with your family, you are probably considering a summer job.

    Why should I get a summer job?

    There are multiple advantages to landing a summer job. You’ll have some or extra spending money. You might make a good connection with someone in an industry you want to work in one day. And, a job can improve your college applications by showing schools you can be responsible.

    Here are some ideas for what types of jobs you can search for during the summer and how to show colleges that it helped shape your skill set.


    If you excel in a particular subject and enjoy it, consider tutoring in that subject. You can offer your services to younger students as well as your fellow classmates, especially any you know who might be retaking a class in that subject over summer school. Ask teachers or counselors if they will refer any students who need extra help to you.

    You might even score some bonus clients if you are talented in a subject area that is featured on the SAT or ACT. SAT and ACT prep is a growing interest area that is sought after so students can be more competitive when applying to their dream colleges. If you’ve already received a high score on that subject portion of the SAT or ACT, use that information to attract clients.

    Pet and House Sitting

    If you love animals and are viewed as trustworthy, offer yourself as a house or pet sitter. Homeowners want to know their house and pets are looked after with care, and most are willing to pay to ensure that.

    You’ll have to negotiate with your neighbors on the frequency you should check on their homes and/or pets. Here are some questions to ask before your new client leaves for a trip:

    • How often should I visit your home?
    • How often would you like an update? What’s the best way to contact you?
    • When does is your pet get fed each day and how much?
    • Are there any special instructions for plant or pet care?
    • What is an emergency number I can call if something happens to your home or pet?
    • What day and time will you leave/return?

    Food Service

    Jobs in the food service industry are great for those who have exceptional people skills. You might start out as a dishwasher, but if you impress your boss, there are opportunities to be promoted and earn more money.

    If cooking is more your passion, becoming a line cook could even help you hone your skills as a chef and give you insight into to working in a kitchen.


    Similar to the food industry, you can quickly move up in the retail world if your work ethic is spot on. Most retail workers start out as sales associates or stockers in a store before being trained on a register. Once you’re deemed trustworthy, then you can start handling money as a cashier. Being trained as a cashier will give you an additional skill set you didn’t have before.

    Even if the job starts out as part-time, you might be able to get additional hours. Taking on and covering shifts for coworkers is a sign that you’re dedicated to the workplace, and that makes you look really good in the eyes of your boss. If you’re flexible, you might find yourself working full time some weeks.

    Child Care

    Whether it’s for a camp or as a private nanny, child care opportunities are likely available wherever you live. Parents don’t get the luxury of summer’s off, so they need someone to look after their kids while they are working.

    Parents also enjoy a night out once in a while. If you’re free at night, you can babysit then, too.

    Start Your Own Business

    If you’re looking to major in business, starting your own business, no matter how small will look great on your college application. You’ll be in charge of the hours, finances, and communication to keep your business running. Even if it’s pet-sitting, you can approach it professionally by making sure you take time for marketing, invoicing and tracking your hours.

    How can I make my summer job look good to colleges?

    Once you have some work experience under your belt, you’ll want to show it off to colleges on your resume. Here are a couple ideas to help showcase the skills you developed over the summer while you were employed.

    Create a Resume

    If you didn’t have one before, you can now start a resume. You can list your educational interests along with your new job experience. You’ll want to highlight the skills you learned in bullet points. If you are a successful employee and can express that through your high school resume, colleges will be more likely to assume your academic integrity in similar to your work ethic.

    Here are three examples of skills you’re developing by having a summer job and that you can tout to colleges:

    • Time Management – If you arrive on time each shift and consistently meet deadlines, then your time management is becoming stronger. This will benefit you as a college student when you need to develop a schedule that involves getting to class, studying and allowing time for socializing.
    • Organization – When you’re restocking clothes or keeping track of coffee orders, your exercising your organizational skills and ability to follow directions. As a student, this shows colleges that you can sort through the material that is taught to learn what is important to be successful in a class.
    • Communication – Whether you’ve decided to start your own business or are speaking with your boss, you’ll practice communication in every job you’ll have. To have a successful business, you’ll learn what communication practices are best with your clients to make sure they are happy customers. As an employee, good communication means your boss knows if you need time off with enough notice or if you have a question about one of your job duties. College admissions officers see, for example, that you won’t be shy with talking to a professor if you need clarification on something.

    Use Your Experience in Your College Essays

    If your summer job is somehow linked to your future career, write about what you learned from the work experience in the personal statement that’s part of your admissions application. Being able to relate this experience will show that you are dedicated to this career path and have already taken steps to show how serious you are about pursuing it.

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    Jason Patel

    Jason Patel

    Jason Patel is the founder of Transizion, a college admissions assistance and mentorship company. Transizion donates a portion of profits to low-income students in need of college and career assistance. Jason has been featured in the Washington Post, NBC News, BBC, Bustle, Forbes, Fast Company, Fox Business, Reader’s Digest, and a number of other outlets.