If you’re still in college or just graduating high school, you’re probably looking forward to summer vacation. This year, instead of lying around the pool all summer, you could use your time to gain skills and experience for your resume.

The truth is, it’s hard to get a job right out of college if you don’t have both experience and a strong skill set. Use your summer vacation productively, and you could have both!

Here are ten things you could do this summer to prepare for your launch into the real world:

1. Get a job

The obvious thing to do to improve your resume, gain experience, make new contacts, and learn new skills this summer is to get a job. It doesn’t have to be a horrible, soul-sucking job, though. You can find a job that lets you enjoy the summer sun and have a bit of fun, too. Here are a few job ideas to get you started:


You can make money sitting beside the pool or the ocean with a job as a lifeguard. You will need to take a Red Cross certification course, but they’re easy to find in most every area. This job comes with perks like getting to use the pool everyday, gaining valuable prioritization and life-saving first-aid skills, and a killer tan (wear sunscreen kiddos. Skin cancer is a bummer).

Camp Counselor

If you’re into arts and crafts, campfire songs, and s’mores, you could find a job as a summer camp counselor. Most offer on-the-job training, but you’re ahead of the game if you have first-aid certifications. You don’t necessarily have to live at the camp all summer, either. You can find day camps pretty much everywhere these days.

Theme Park Ride Operator

If you love roller coasters and cotton candy, you can find work this summer in one of the many theme parks across the country. Outside of Florida and California, most theme parks operate on a seasonal basis, which means they have hiring blitzes in May, just before school is out for the summer. The perks with this job include free theme park admission, unlimited rides, and discounts on food and merch.


If the hot sun and summer mosquitos aren’t your thing, you can sit in the cool air conditioning with a tutoring gig. Check with your local library, community college, or high school summer programs for tutoring positions in your strongest subjects.

If you’re traveling this summer and looking for an online tutoring gig, try VIPKid. They help children overseas learn conversational English.


Online shopping hasn’t killed the retail market yet. A job in your favorite store can be a great way to spend the summer. You can network with people from all walks of life while scoring an excellent discount on your favorite stuff.

2. Take an Internship

Internships are one of the most valuable things you can do to improve your resume and network with people in your industry. It’s a great way to try on a career before you commit. You can find internships at places like internships.com, and if you’re majoring in education, communications, or graphic art, you can always intern online with our parent company, Escape the Classroom. Email your resume (no judgment) to info@escapetheclassroom.com if you’re interested.

3. Start a Side Hustle

You can show your future bosses that you’re a disciplined self-starter by starting a side hustle this summer. You could mow your neighbors’ yards, babysit school-aged children, teach senior citizens how to use their phones, or walk dogs. The business opportunities are endless, and we found 15 ideas in our Summer Side Hustles for College Students post.

4. Learn to Cook

Learning to cook will benefit you in more ways than you can imagine. First, you’ll save money by not eating out as much. Second, you’ll be able to impress colleagues at office parties with your baking cred. Finally, you will always know what to do to welcome a new boss or greet new clients—you’ll bake them something delicious!

Check Groupon for deals on local cooking classes. Your local community college likely has a few, too. If you’re looking for a solid cookbook that will solidify its place in every kitchen throughout your lifetime, pick up theBetter Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. I use the 1953 edition,but it’s very hard to find.

I recently discovered the Thug Kitchen cookbooksand love them! If you’re into tell-it-like-it-is language and very good nachos, try this cookbook series.

5. Volunteer

One of the best ways to beef up your resume is to volunteer for local charities. It’s a great way to network and help your community, and it shows that you’re willing to put yourself out there for a good cause. It’s also a good opportunity to explore your passions.

Help Disaster Victims

If helping people in crises sounds exciting to you, try volunteering with the Red Cross. They always have volunteer openings, and their trainings look great on a resume. You can volunteer as little as four hours per month!

Show Love to Rescue Animals

If you love animals, you could spend your summer volunteering with your local humane society. Humane societies take in animals of all sorts, including cats, dogs, horses, and livestock. They need help with everything from simply socializing rescues to bathing and feeding them.

Build Houses for Families

Habitat for Humanity has projects all over the country. Building houses can be a lot of fun, and you’ll learn skills that will help you as a homeowner later.

Help Your Local Charities

Of course, your local Rotary and Kawanis clubs have community interest projects, too. You can also Google to find local soup kitchens, homeless shelters, food banks, and special interest charities. My favorite places to volunteer are state and national parks. You’ll find plenty of volunteer opportunities if you do a little research.

6. Travel

We’re not talking about traveling two hours to see grandma this summer. Instead, think about traveling somewhere that you can volunteer, work, or meet people working in your industry.

A good place to start is with a Google search for “volunteer abroad.” You’ll find websites likeVolunteerHQ that put together trips abroad for specific projects like teaching, childcare, art, healthcare, community improvement, or wildlife conservation. The catch is that you have to pay your own way, which can cost $150-600 per week, plus a $300 registration fee.

7. Learn to Drive a Stick

Driving a stick is a solid life skill. If you can master this skill, it means you’ll be able to drive cars when you travel internationally. Some places reserve automatic rental cars for Americans, but they charge a small fortune for them.

Driving a stick opens doors to driving bigger and faster vehicles, and you’ll be able to drive any company car without the embarrassment of having to request an automatic. While it may not be a skill you list on most of your resumes, it’s still a productive way to spend a few hours (or days) this summer!

8. Build an Online Portfolio

Believe it or not, most people Jarell and I interview for our instructional design business do not have online portfolios. They rarely even have work samples to show us. Even though we’re open minded and glad to help those new to our business, we have a hard time hiring anyone who can’t show us they can do the job.

You need an online portfolio in a lot of industries. If you create anything at all, you need an online portfolio. The summer is the perfect time to start one.

If you don’t have a lot of web development knowledge, you can use a drag-and-drop tool to build your online portfolio. There are a lot of options, but our favorite is BoldGrid via our web host, InMotion Hosting. You choose a magazine-worthy layout and then just add your content to it. What could be better?

Other options include free tools like Weebly, or tools included with Adobe’s Creative Cloud. Remember though, the more professional your online portfolio looks, the more employers will want to hire you. As soon as you have your portfolio up and running, link it to your LinkedIN account and other social media.

9. Attend Job Fairs

You can learn a lot about many industries all at once by visiting job fairs this summer. If you are undecided about your major and your career path, a job fair is a great place to explore ideas.

Put on your favorite dressy outfit, upgrade your resume, and hit the job fair with an open mind. You’ll find job fairs listed on social media, on flyers at your library and community center, in your local paper, and on Craigslist. Your morning news may cover them as well.

Shake hands, network, and grab business cards and brochures. Even if you don’t find a job you want while at the fair, the networking you do there can get you a job later. Don’t forget to follow everyone you meet on LinkedIN when you get home.

10. Learn a New Skill for Free

Instead of letting your brain rest all summer, why not spend it learning something you really want to learn? You can learn most anything you want for free with just a few good Google and Pinterest searches.

Is there a piece of software that’s used throughout your target industry? Grab a book about it from your library or watch Linda.com videos to learn it. Most schools have memberships to Linda, so check your college library for information.

Do you need quick roll-out-of-bed hairstyles to make your life easier when you go back to school this fall? Pin your heart out and watch YouTube videos to master any ‘do. The Freckled Fox is my favorite blogger for hair tutorials. She makes it easy with videos and step-by-step picture tutorials. In fact, here’s an easy bouffant bun for if you decide to take my advice and go to a job fair.

Your local library offers free classes every week about technology, books, and the community. Look at their list and see if anything appeals to you.

The point is, do anything but nothing this summer. Time is too valuable to squander. It’s the students who use their time wisely that will score the good jobs at graduation. Build your resume while you have the time.

Save to Pinterest

15 Things You Can Do this Summer to Build Your Resume Before You Graduate College

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that if you’re a college student, you are in eternal need of both money and resume-building activities. Your summer vacation is the perfect time to earn cash and gain skills for your resume, too.

Employers like to see that you have an entrepreneurial spirit. It shows that you can set goals, reach milestones, and manage yourself. Having a summer side hustle on your resume sets you up for fantastic, engaging job interviews that lead to the career of your dreams. Here’s a few ideas to make cash this summer:

1. Tutor

While you’re in college, information is fresh in your mind from the numerous courses you’ve been taking. That knowledge can be immediately valuable to you if you start your own tutoring business.

You can tutor fellow classmates, high school students, or even adults. It’s not hard to find customers for your tutoring business; all you have to do is advertise your services. You can advertise for free on Craigslist, or with a flyer at your local library or community center. You can also post flyers around your college campus.

If you have a few dollars to invest in advertising, try posting a Facebook ad that targets parents in your area, or place an ad in your local paper.

Online tutoring services like VIPKid also hire college students as tutors. They help children from foreign countries learn conversational English. If you like being up late at night or early in the morning, international tutoring may be a good fit for you.

2. Drive People Around with Uber and Lyft

If you have a car, put it to work for you. It only takes a few minutes to become a chauffer with Uber or Lyft. You can conduct your entire business from your phone and work only the hours you want to work.

If your parents will let you borrow their mini van, you can become an UberXL driver and make even more cash by offering a bigger vehicle to haul more people. Whatever car you drive, you will need to keep it super clean. Some Uber drivers earn better reviews by offering their customers snacks, candy, and bottled water.

Uber and Lyft drivers do best in tourist areas and big cities, but small towns need them, too. It’s a good quick-start business that you can take with you when you go back to college in the fall (if you want to).

3. Deliver Food

Take out is awesome and a major time saver—as long as you don’t have to go pick it up. You can make extra money picking up food orders for people who order takeout from places that don’t deliver.

Uber offers takeout pickup and delivery services through their app, so even if you aren’t comfortable inviting strangers into your car, you can deliver their food and make some quick cash.

Retailers like Walmart have started curbside grocery pickup services. Uber used to have a service for picking up these orders, but have announced they are discontinuing it, which leaves a lot of angry people who like their groceries delivered. These are customers just waiting for your services!

You could start a side business on your own for picking up and delivering groceries. All you need to do is post an ad on Craigslist and Facebook, or post flyers at your local community center. Make sure you have business cards ready to give customers so they can spread the word about your magnificent delivery services.

[bctt tweet=”The summer is the perfect time for college students to side hustle. Kids are out of school, so you can babysit. Neighbors go on vacation, so you can house sit. Grass grows, so mow yards. You can do this! #sidehustles #summervacation” username=”perfectlyemploy”]

4. Be a Local Tour Guide

Summer is travel season, and no matter where you live, there’s probably something of local interest that tourist flock to see. You can make extra money escorting tourists around town and showing them the sights.

You can capture a niche market in your tour with a bit of creativity. You might give a food tour of a group of local restaurants, or a shopping tour though local antique stores. You might give a tour of the best local Geocaches. Think about a unique angle you can bring to a tour of something special in your area, and you will make money by the handfuls.

You can advertise your tour services on social media, like Facebook, but you can also set up a full tour booking experience for your customers on websites like ToursbyLocals.

5. Babysit

Since kids are out of school in the summer, you can start a side hustle babysitting school-aged children with relative ease.

Parents look for babysitters who are responsible and know something about childcare, so if you are an education major, make sure to emphasize that in your advertisements. You might also consider taking a basic first-aid course and CPR certification to put parents at ease with your crisis-handling skills.

The major challenge to babysitting in the summer is keeping the kids busy. Come up with a list of activities you can do with them, and share that with parents, too. Parents may be happy to help you with supplies for science experiments and art projects, and they may be open to you taking a few field trips, too.

You can advertise your babysitting services on Craigslist, or your can sign up for Care.com. Parents look for strong recommendations for babysitters, so have family and friends give testimonials on your baby-sitting abilities.

6. Become a Senior Companion

If children aren’t your thing, consider becoming a companion to an elderly person who needs help with daily tasks like running errands and preparing meals. Healthcare majors do well in this side hustle, but anyone with a compassionate, helpful spirit can become a senior companion for the summer.

You can advertise your services on Care.com, but also try local Moose and Elks lodges, as well as your local VFW.

7. Walk dogs

Nothing makes pet parents feel more guilty than leaving their fur babies alone for 8-10 hours while they go to work. If you love animals, you can start a business walking dogs in your neighborhood and make quick cash.

You can advertise your services just about anywhere, from Craigslist to your local community center and post office. Talk to dog owners who walk past your house everyday. Mention your services at your local pet store and with local dog groomers, too.

8. House Sit

Summer vacations are an American tradition. You can earn money taking care of people’s homes and pets while their out of town by starting a house-sitting business.

Offer services like bringing in the mail and newspaper, walking the dog, and maintaining the yard. You will want to check the house daily to make sure nothing is out of place. Some house sitters live in the house while the family is out of town, so offer this option too.

You can advertise your services in the normal places: Craigslist and the local paper. Have your references ready—your customers will want to know that you are trust worthy. This is a business that does will with word-of-mouth referrals, so make sure to tell your friends and family that you’re looking for houses to sit, and to recommend you to anyone they know who is going on vacation this summer.

9. Teach ACT/SAT prep classes

If you’re going to college, it probably hasn’t been very long since you took college entrance exams like the ACT and SAT. The summer is the perfect time for high school students to prepare for these exams, which should lead you to a fantastic side business teaching high schoolers how to improve their scores.

Create a few study games for your potential students, then advertise your services on social media. Offer to teach students online through Skype or Google Hangouts, and offer a wide range of hours to fit all schedules.

10. Mow Yards

Everyone who owns a home needs to cut their grass frequently in the summer. Borrow your parents’ lawn mower and make some quick cash cutting your neighbors’ grass.

This side hustle is an oldie but goodie, since the only overhead cost is gas for the lawn mower. You can make $50-100 per hour with good time management and only work a couple days per week!

11. Clean Pools

The biggest complaint pool owners have is that they have to constantly work at maintaining the pool. Even with an automatic pool vacuum, the pool still has to be manually skimmed and cleaned every few days. The water must be checked and balanced, too.

Put on your bathing suit and start a pool-cleaning business. It’s a good summer-only job because unless you live in Florida, Southern California, or another hot state, pools are a strictly summer thing. Like mowing yards, you can make $50 per hour with good time management, but you’ll stay cool all summer.

12. Teach Senior Citizens to Use Smartphones (and other tech)

Many senior citizens have smartphones but don’t really know how to use them. Use your tech-savvy to show them how to talk to their grandchildren on Facetime and you could earn some serious cash this summer.

Seniors Citizens want to learn how to use apps, read ebooks, and take pictures with their phones, but the opportunity doesn’t stop there! You can teach seniors to use their computers, sell things online, buy things online, download eBooks to various devices—you name it!

Local places seniors gather like libraries, bookstores, and VFWs look for people to teach classes in tech, so this side hustle is yours for the asking.

13. Sell Stuff on eBay

People will buy most anything on Ebay. You can create a good side hustle buying stuff at yard sales and thrift stores and selling it online. All you have to do is browse thrift stores and yard sales, look up objects as you find them, and see how much they’re selling for on the eBay app. Choose objects that are selling for more than you can buy them and voila! You have a side hustle.

If you are truly ambitious, you can try drop-shipping as part of your online sales business. It takes a bit of research to figure out which products sell best, and the summer is a great time to think about it.

14. Sell Crafts on Etsy

If you have a talent for making things, you can start and Etsy shop for less than a dollar. Etsy is for more than quilts and t-shirts. You will find printable files and patterns, custom logos for new businesses, and even website design. Browse Etsy’s listings and think about what you could create to make someone’s life easier. The things that sell best are the things that are either highly personalized or solve a problem.

Related Posts You Might Like:

15. Become a Virtual Assistant

If you are good with social media, have relatively decent writing skills, and are highly organized, you could become a virtual assistant for a small business.

Not every business can afford to hire a full time administrative assistant, so they outsource administrative tasks like managing Facebook pages, answering emails, and organizing files. You can find this kind of gig on places like Fiverr and Upwork, but if you could also start your own local business by placing ads on social media and Craigslist.

Bonus Side Hustle: Rent Out Your Belongings with Fat Lama

You may not have a car or a spare room, but you can still take a slice of the sharing economy this summer by renting out something almost all of us have: stuff.

Fat Lama allows you to rent out your possessions (fully insured) to people nearby and make money from your unused stuff. Your stuff doesn’t have to be fancy. You can list anything from a hammer to a chocolate fountain. However, the slightly higher value items tend to attract more rentals.

Take a look around your house or dorm for unused bikes, cameras, or projectors to start making serious money. The great thing about Fat Lama is that since you are renting, you can keep making money out of the same items (unlike eBay where once it’s gone, it’s gone) so you only really need one item that rents well to make ongoing income.

The platform is easy to use; just sign up and list your items for free. You will be notified when you have a rental request–all you need to do is approve it and arrange the handover directly with the borrower. Of course, this doesn’t need to happen at your house; if you are more comfortable meeting in a public place, you can. Fat Lama manages all the payments so there’s no need to extract cash off people either, it’s all prepaid and will be paid directly into your bank account 24 hours after the start date of the rental.

Sign up here and get a $25 credit to spend on your first rental!

Save to Pinterest

15 Summer Side Hustles for College Students