The ultimate student summer job guide

Student working in coffee shop

Need some advice on how to find a summer job? You've come to the right place

The end of the summer term marks the perfect time to crack out the beach ball and barbecues. But for students, it's also the perfect time to start a summer job.

You can find all kinds of summer jobs that offer you the chance to earn money and boost your skills, all while leaving you enough time to soak up the sun. All you need to know is where, how and when to look.

How to find a job

Job-hunting can be a long and daunting process when you don't know where to start. So here are a couple of tips to get you going:

  • Get your CV up to scratch before you do anything. There are loads of templates available online to get inspiration from
  • Get started as soon as you can; most companies start recruiting for summer a few months beforehand
  • The easiest way to find a summer job is online! Some good places to start are Student JobE4S Student JobsGumtreeIndeed or Fish4Jobs
  • Try your college or university career services, and don't forget your local Job Centre
  • If you're interested in retail, try applying in person. Lots of places still put up ads in windows too, so you might see something you'd otherwise have missed
  • Ask friends with jobs if there's anything available at their place of work
shop scene

Retail and leisure jobs

Lots of students choose to go down this route, so the best advice for retail would be to apply early as it's very competitive.

As well as big retail employers like supermarkets and department stores, you could try local tourist attractions – like theme parks, national parks, theatres and bus and ferry companies. 

Royal Mail also employ extra staff in the summer and especially at Christmas, but be prepared to work unusual shift patterns.

Festivals and big events

Who doesn't love a festival? Imagine working at one – you get to see live music, enjoy the atmosphere and even get free food!

If this sounds like your kind of thing, look up your favourite festivals online to see if they're recruiting for volunteers, or apply to event staff agencies that help recruit staff for both voluntary and paid festival jobs.

Have a think about what big events are held near your home or uni during the summer – sports events, county shows, beach events, food festivals etc – and contact the organisers. 

young woman leading activity at summer camp

Camps and summer schools

Working at a summer camp is heaps of fun – you get to work outdoors, make new friends and get paid for having a good time. 

There are both day camps and residential summer schools to choose from and lots of them are based in the UK. It can be hard work, but it looks good on your CV.

Applications appear from the beginning of December and can stretch right up to May, depending on the company.

Universities and student housing

Yep, university work still goes on even when students aren't there! Most universities require temporary staff over the summer for things like clerical work and helping in the accommodation office.

Some work may just be a one-off but other jobs may last all summer. Take a look online at the uni's jobs section and see what takes your fancy.

Private student housing companies like Unite also often need people to staff their call centres or process paper work during the summer, especially around early July up until November. 

smiling woman at work as intern

Office work

Administration work can be great for your CV. Learning new IT skills, report writing and general organisational skills give you a respectable sounding reference and an insight into a particular industry or career path before you graduate.

Write yourself an office-oriented CV – in particular highlighting your IT skills and relevant work experience – and hit up as many agencies as possible. Stick with the big agencies like Reed, Office Angels and Hayes etc, and avoid any that ask you to pay an upfront fee as this is illegal. 

If you fancy looking for positions yourself, a good place to start is on Indeed. Just search keywords like summer, office work, admin, clerical, temporary and enter your location. 


If you're looking for experience directly in your field, an internship is a better option. But they can be hard to bag because of the amount of people applying, so get in as soon as you can! 

Your university's careers service will know about application deadlines and can offer you advice on applying.

Student internships are sometimes unpaid, but they do offer invaluable experience. Just make sure you know upfront whether you'll receive any payment – and if not, have a plan for supporting yourself financially over the summer.

young woman working

Tips for college and uni students looking for a summer job

  1. Decide if you want career-related experience or just some extra cash - this will help you narrow your search.
  2. Research the companies and roles you're applying for. You'll have a better understanding of who you'll be working for and it'll give you an advantage if you get an interview.
  3. Don't be afraid to follow up after interviews. You can send a thank-you email to the interviewer, and ask for feedback so you know how to improve.
  4. Beware of taking on work that only pays on commission. Charity street-fundraisers and certain call centres can work like this, so make sure you discuss the amount you'll be getting paid before you sign a contract.
  5. Check vacancy websites every week. You can also set up job alerts that email you if the right job comes up.
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