Tips for Finding a Summer Job

Despite what the weather might tell you, summer is fast approaching, which means that it’s time to start applying for summer jobs. Whether it’s to save for tuition, or just to make sure there’s enough booze money for the upcoming year, a lot of college and university students find themselves taking on a job or two during summer break. Unfortunately, finding a summer job isn’t always as easy as it may seem, but hopefully you can use these tips and tricks to find something worthwhile.


Cover Letter & Resume

No matter what you kind of job you are applying for, chances are you will need a resume and cover letter. There are tons of websites that offer advice on how to write the best cover letter or the perfect resume, and, if you went to high school in Ontario, your Civics and Careers class probably taught you all you need to know about formatting. Your resume is particularly important because you will reuse it for most, if not all, of your applications, and if there’s one mistake on it, you could have blown all your chances.


Two tips that I have found notably useful is using volunteer experience to flesh out my resume, and handing in a cover letter, whether it’s requested or not. Before I had any work experience, I found that listing any volunteering I had done satisfied the employer. You can also use the volunteer supervisor to be one of your references, if you don’t have any others. Additionally, if you are handing out resumes in person, be sure to attach your cover letter when you hand it over. Lots of people only hand in their resume, so including a cover letter will set you apart and show your dedication.




Government Work

Although the deadlines for these jobs have already passed, you should definitely keep them in mind for next year. You can apply for student summer jobs with the federal government through FSWEP, provincial student jobs through Ontario’s website, or municipal summer jobs through Toronto’s website. If you don’t live in Ontario or Toronto, you can also look at your own province’s or city’s websites. These jobs are great because you are often guaranteed a full-time position with regular hours and good pay. Also, you usually just have to apply through one interface and they respond with offers they think will suit you.


Source: Cris DeNito


Smart Serve

Some of the best summer jobs come from restaurants, specifically those in the front-of-house staff. Not only do you get paid by the hour, but you have the opportunity to pick up a lot of shifts and a lot of tips! These jobs are usually very competitive to get, however, and if you want a fighting chance, I would highly recommend getting your Smart Serve. In Ontario, you can serve alcohol when you are 18, but you can take the Smart Serve training at any age, and once you are certified it does not expire. The training costs $34.95 plus HST, but is a great investment because any restaurant you apply to will ask if you are Smart Serve certified. Also, being Smart Serve certified is a great embellishment to add to your resume.

Source: Burst


Online Applications

I usually take a day in March or April to bang out a bunch of online applications for big corporations. The advantage of this is that every application becomes faster and easier to fill out than the last. Big corporations usually have a high-turnover rate, so they are always hiring, and usually don’t require a ton of experience from their employees. These jobs also look really good on your resume, because employers know that they are usually fast paced and give you the chance to learn a lot of new skills.


If you are interested in working in the fast food industry, you can look into McDonald’s, Starbucks, or Tim Hortons. Retail and department stores often have online applications as well, such as Walmart and Costco. I actually worked as a cashier at Walmart last summer, and I would highly recommend working there, as it is a very motivating and skill-building environment. If you are applying for retail stores, it is always a good idea to apply for your personal favorites first and foremost, because the employer will be able to see your passion through the application.

Source: Vojtech Okenka


Handing Out Resumes

Another option is to hand out resumes and cover letters in person. This is usually for smaller or local businesses that you are interested in working for. I usually print out a bunch of cover letters and resumes, and then choose a day to drive around and hand them out. Physically applying to jobs gives you the chance to make a great first impression and meet the manager. It also gives you quick results, as they may immediately tell you if they are currently in the hiring process or not. They might even give you an application to fill out on the spot, so make sure to keep your work history and reference information with you while you’re handing out resumes.

Source: iPrice Group


Job Search Engines

If you are having a hard time finding companies or businesses that are hiring, you can always use an online job search engine, such as,, or The great thing about these websites is that, once you build your account, you have a generalized resume that you can send out to any positions that interest you. They also keep track of the jobs you have applied to, and the current status of the applications, so you don’t have to.

Source: CC0 License


The Phone Call

One of the most important parts of the application process is the follow-up call. A week or two after you’ve sent in your application, make sure to phone the company or business. This proves that you’re eager to work for them, as well as keeps your name in their minds. It could also mean that someone digs out your resume and places it on the top of the pile while talking to you. And, it will get you faster results than just sitting around and waiting for a decision from the employer.

Source: Pexels

Keeping a Spreadsheet

During my job search, I find it helpful to keep a spreadsheet of all the jobs I have applied to. I have four columns to check off for each job; the application, the phone call, the interview, and the final decision. This way, I can keep track of the stage of each application so I don’t accidently call one employer twice, or completely forget about another opportunity. It’s useful for the next year too, so I don’t have to start the job search from scratch. I also save all my cover letters to use the next year, with a few modifications and updates, as I had already tailored them to specific businesses.

Source: Olu Eletu


Freelance Work

If, in the end, you cannot find any summer jobs, another option to make money is freelancing. As a famous clown once said, “If you’re good at something, never do it for free.” Websites like and give you the perfect platform to market your skills and find potential clients. And, if you don’t have another job, then you will have plenty of time to work on projects and build a clientbase. Even if you do find a summer job, freelance work is a great way to make some extra cash, as well as a good way to fluff out your resume.

Source: Caio Resende

Now that you’ve read my article, it’s time to stop stalling and start applying to some summer jobs! Hopefully you can use this advice to not only find a job, but to secure one that you will enjoy. Good luck on your hunt!