The ultimate student summer job guide

It’s that time of year again: you need to start considering how you’re going to start saving (or fuel your spending) over the summer period.

It can be hard to know where to begin when looking for a summer job but the key is knowing where your strengths lie and weighing up your options.

Getting started

Before you apply for anything make sure that your CV is up to scratch. Without a professional looking resume it’s unlikely a potential employer will put you first in line. If you are unsure of how your CV should look there are plenty of online tutorials that can help you out or check out our handy guide.

If you’ve ever looked for a job you’ll know there are countless online search engines. Using one that is geared towards students, like E4S or Just Student Jobs, can help save you some time instead of trawling through a whole load of vacancies where you don’t meet the requirements.

Applying online is great, but it isn’t all digital. If you are applying for any retail or hospitality jobs, print off a bunch of CV’s and go hand them in yourself. Putting a face to the application can often help employers make up their minds on a suitable applicant. Don’t forget to ask any family and friends if they know of jobs going – it can be an untapped well of opportunities. 

Customer service

Working in customer service – whether it be retail or hospitality – is a popular route for many students seeking work. The hours are flexible and there’s no shortage of places looking for staff to cope with the summer rush. That however, can also be the downside. Be tenacious – go out on foot and hand in your CV in person as this could very well make you stand out from the huge number of people applying online.

Call centres can also be a great option. Companies like Wescot, Esure and AXA hold open days where you can go along and see for yourself if you are suited for this kind of work. Many companies also provide paid training courses: good news if you don’t have much experience and need money fast.

High street chains and supermarkets like ASDA, Sainsburys, McDonalds, Burger King and Primark are a great starting point. 

Festivals and events

Working at a summer festival or event can bring a whole load of perks along with earning some extra cash. You’ll get to see live music, revel in the atmosphere and maybe get to sample some free food along with it. Your best bet with this kind off work is to register with an agency. Agencies are always on the lookout to recruit staff for various events, including sports events, horse racing and catered events like conferences and theatre productions.

Have a think about what events are coming up or are nearby and contact the organisers directly to ask how to get involved. They will either recruit staff themselves or let you know which agency they use.

Try agencies like HAP Recruitment, G4S, Compass Group, ASA Recruitment and Blue Arrow.

Camps and summer schools

Want something a little more proactive than just sitting behind a desk or serving food? Try a summer camp and get paid for having fun outdoors. There are a lot of day camps and residential summer camps in the UK to choose from.

While these jobs can be physically demanding and draining, they look great on your CV. If the camp is impressed with your efforts you are almost guaranteed a spot for the following year as well: bonus! 

Organisations like Outward Bound, Camp Indy, ISSOS and Camp Cooper are worth a call.


Any kind of office work is an excellent addition to your CV. You’ll pick up some essential skills and qualities while on the job like good telephone manner, how to prioritise your workload and general organisational skills. The best way of finding this kind of work is to phone any local employers yourself or go through a temp agency

Tailor your CV accordingly and start hitting up as many agencies as possible – the big ones like Reed, Office Angels and Hayes are your best bet. Job search engines like Indeed and TotalJobs are always a great place to find full-time or part-time positions.

Internships and volunteering

If you want to make the most of your time over the summer with work that is directly related to your chosen career path, start looking for an internship. The downside is that student internships are often unpaid – however, they offer invaluable experience and always look great on your CV. Make sure you know upfront whether it is paid or not and if not, how will you support yourself financially.

Volunteering is also a great option. There are countless charities and a variety of fields that you can find work in, from marketing and finance to event organising and fundraising.

When searching for opportunities try Volunteer Scotland, RSPB, British Heart Foundation, Oxfam, Victim Support, TARGETjobs or Glassdoor.


Care can be demanding and challenging work but making a difference to people’s lives is fulfilling work. It’s worth bearing in mind that care can involve long and unsociable hours and the demand for staff can sometimes mean working in a few different places.

Time, travel and expenses need to be taken into consideration before applying for a care job. On the upside, many care agencies provide training courses which cover the job requirements, including moving and handling, first aid, health and hygiene and how to care for people with epilepsy.

Real Life Options, Living Ambitions, Quarriers, Cordia and Brightwork are all care providers. 


Words by Kyle Reid. 

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