Odd jobs

Summer Jobs for High School Students

June 4, 2015

By Sheryl Smolkin

School is almost out, and high school students are looking for summer jobs. But most of the good jobs have been taken by college or university students who hit the ground running at the beginning of May. Even summer camps staffed up in the spring, so it’s generally too late to apply for these positions.

Students who are prepared to continue working part-time through the school year may find this is the ideal time to look for positions in fast food restaurants or retail. Some summer resorts may also still have openings.

However, this could be the time to hone their entrepreneurial skills by creating their own jobs. Here are some ideas for enterprising teenagers who need to make money this summer:

  1. Babysitting: I remember when my daughter was born and suddenly I no longer had time to eat, sleep or take care of the house. I was delighted to hire a high school student to walk the baby in her pram and provide back up at home. Parents with a second or third child are often even more in need of assistance.
  2. Lawn care: Lawn care companies often hire seasonal help. But if the family has a lawn mower in good repair, neighbours and friends might be happy to have a dependable young person cut their lawn, water it and weed the flower beds, particularly if they are going to be away for all or part of the summer.
  3. Pet care: We have a dog and a cat and travel often, especially on summer weekends. One year when a teenager lived across the street, he fed and played with our cat and boarded the dog at home for a few days at a time. It was certainly more convenient and less expensive than having to drive and pick up the pets from a kennel.
  4. Car washing: There is typically one or two cars parked in every driveway. They are a virtually unlimited market for an “at home” car washing and detailing service. Here are some FAQs from Consumer Reports on the do-it-yourself car wash including products to use.
  5. Odd jobs: Everybody has small jobs around the house that need to be done ranging from garage cleanup to painting fences, or laying new walkways. Seniors who are still living in their own home are a great source of clients.
  6. Temporary agencies: Students with keyboarding and other administrative skills may be able to obtain short-term placements in interesting settings. Some Saskatchewan temp agencies are listed on this website. Students can also search online for openings in their area or network with family and friends.
  7. Tutoring: Students who are a whiz in math, science or other subjects may be able to offer peer tutoring for students who are challenged by the summer school curriculum or want to get a head start on the next year. 
  8. Birthday parties: When my husband was a student, he and his brother did magic shows at birthday parties. The possibilities are endless for talented young people whether they excel in art, music or drama.

With colour laser printers in almost every home, it’s not difficult for teenagers starting a mini-business to print up flyers, business cards and invoices. Creating a simple website or blog for free has also never been easier. Prospective clients will be more receptive to neatly dressed young people with references and even pictures showing examples of their work.

The experience students gain by taking the initiative to create their own job is a great learning experience and a valuable addition to their resumes. However, in all cases the health and safety of young workers is paramount and parents should “vet” their “business plan” and provide necessary support.