10 Best Summer Jobs for Teens

Two teen students viewing a tablet device.

Overview

As recently as the year 2000, nearly 52 percent of teens held summer jobs. But today? That number is much lower. Indeed, less than 37 percent of young folks brought home a paycheck during their summer break in 2021.

Summer jobs for teens may not be quite as commonplace as they used to be, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a good idea. In fact, pursuing a part-time summer job can be a great way to earn some extra cash. Even better? It can set you up for future success.

In this guide, we put all the information you need about summer jobs in one place. We include a summer job’s advantages, tips for finding one, and some potential positions to explore. 

Why Take on a Summer Job?

Summer offers a chance to rest and recharge after all of the demands and expectations of the school year. So, why would you want to take on a job that cuts into time dedicated to leisure and fun?

Well, summer jobs for teens offer several convincing benefits! Read on to learn more.

Summer Jobs for Teens: 4 Key Benefits

1. Money

Let’s start with the most obvious benefit first. Taking on a summer job means you can earn some spending money. And then? You can use that money to fund your passions, hobbies, and social activities.

2. Transferable Skills

Even if your summer job isn’t in the career field you ultimately want to pursue, you’ll still build soft skills that you can use to impress future employers. Soft skills include everything from communication and teamwork to time management and problem-solving. And did you know that a whopping 85 percent of job success comes from well-developed soft skills and people skills?

3. Work Experience

Beyond the skills you pick up, you’ll also gain work experience and learn what it takes to thrive as a professional. This can improve your resume and help you land future jobs. That’s right: 91 percent of employers admit they prefer candidates who have work experience.

4. Connections

Have you heard the “it’s not what you know, but who you know” cliché? While it might seem worthy of an eye roll, it’s also true. Summer jobs offer the opportunity to build professional relationships with people who can offer advice, act as references, and boost your future career in other ways. 

Sure, a summer job means a little less time for relaxation and fun. But, this isn’t a zero-sum game. Even a job that requires just a few hours a week is a great outlet to earn both money and professional experience. Better yet? It still leaves you plenty of time to enjoy your summer break.

Even a job that requires just a few hours a week is a great outlet to earn both money and professional experience. Better yet? It still leaves you plenty of time to enjoy your summer break.

Where Can Teens Find a Summer Job?

So, you admit that a summer job sounds like a good idea. But now you’re faced with this question: How and where do you find one?

There are different routes you can take to find a summer position that’s the right fit for you, including: 

  • Job boards: Online job boards (like Lensa) have plenty of summer job options for teens.
  • Networking with others: Connecting with your teachers, friends, parents, and other family members could alert you to suitable job opportunities that aren’t advertised on traditional job boards.
  • Starting your own business: Teens with an entrepreneurial spirit might opt to start their own business or side hustle, as opposed to applying for a job with an employer. 

What Are the Best Summer Jobs for Teens?

Before you kick off your search for a summer job, you’ll want an idea of what type of position you’re looking for. 

A lot of that will depend on your interests, skills, and availability. But we’ve compiled 10 popular summer jobs for teens to give you a starting point below. 

1. Camp Counselor

  • Average hourly rate: $10.90 per hour
  • Great fit for teens who: love the outdoors and are interested in working with children
If you’ve ever attended summer camp yourself, then you’re familiar with what a camp counselor does. In this role, you’d be employed by a summer camp and help younger kids with various programs and recreational activities.
Kids at summer camp roasting marshmallows/

2. Babysitter

Many families need childcare over the summer months while their younger children are out of school. You could babysit sporadically for a variety of families, or even find a more steady and permanent nannying position with one family. 

3. Pet Sitter

Summer vacations are a common occurrence, and people can’t always take their beloved pets with them. In those circumstances, you could step in as a pet sitter to care for a family’s companions while the owners are out of town or otherwise occupied. You could also pursue dog walking, bathing, and other pet-related services. 

4. Lifeguard

  • Average hourly rate: $10.56 per hour
  • Great fit for teens who: love to be outdoors and/or active
As a lifeguard, you’d work at public or community facilities to keep a watchful eye on the pool area and ensure that swimmers and visitors stay safe. Keep in mind that you’ll need to complete a training or certification program. You'll also need to get some first-aid training so you’re ready to help when needed.

5. Grocery Stocker or Bagger

Grocery stores need a lot of staff to assist customers and keep food on the shelves. This makes them a great place to look when you’re searching for a summer job. You could stock shelves, scan items and complete purchases, bag groceries for customers, or all of the above. 

6. Tutor

If you’re a top-notch student or have a really strong grasp of a particular subject, tutoring is a great summer job option. You’ll work with other students (whether they’re younger or the same age) to help them get a better grasp of course material that they’re struggling with. 
A teen tutoring another student as a summer job.

7. Landscaper

  • Average hourly rate: $14.71 per hour
  • Great fit for teens who: love to be outdoors and/or active
For teens who want to spend the majority of their summer outside, landscaping is a great choice. From mowing lawns to pulling weeds, you can work as a landscaper for an established company. You can also start your own business and provide yard and garden care to families and neighbors. 

8. Retail Sales Associate

  • Average hourly rate: $11.96 per hour
  • Great fit for teens who: are interested in customer service
Whether you want to work in a big box store or a small, local shop, there are plenty of retail environments that rely on high school students and teens to meet their staffing requirements. It’s worth checking out which ones in your area are hiring for the summer.

9. Food Service Associate

  • Average hourly rate: $11.83 per hour
  • Great fit for teens who: are interested in customer service
Food service jobs are equally as common as retail positions. Whether they need staff to cook or prepare food, wait on tables, or seat customers, restaurants are almost always looking for more help. 

10. House Cleaner

  • Average hourly rate: $12.87 per hour
  • Great fit for teens who: are detail-oriented and like to be active
If you have a knack for making spaces sparkle and shine, think about taking on a summer job as a house cleaner. While you could work for families who need help with housework, you could also offer your services to clean office buildings and other large or commercial spaces. 

Tips for Finding (And Making the Most Of) A Summer Job

Your wheels are turning about the places you could find a summer job and the types of roles you could pursue. Before you click “send” on a job application, let’s cover a few more tips to make the most of your experience. 

Be Entrepreneurial

Remember, having a summer job doesn’t have to mean working for a traditional employer. A lot of the above jobs give you the flexibility to start your own summer business. This can be an equally great way to gain desirable skills and experience.

Keep an Open Mind 

Your summer job isn’t a forever career decision, which means you don’t need the perfect role right now. Focus on finding something that checks the boxes you need immediately, and resist getting too hung up on long-term details.

Emphasize Soft Skills 

As you brush up your resume or job application, remember to call attention to soft skills that make you a good fit for that role. This includes skills like communication or problem-solving. Employers don’t expect you to have a ton of relevant career experience and qualifications as a teenager, so draw attention to the other qualities that will help you succeed.

Employers don’t expect you to have a ton of relevant career experience and qualifications as a teenager, so draw attention to the other qualities that will help you succeed.

Do Your Best

Every job is worth your best efforts. Once you land a role for the summer months, commit to doing your best work and making a positive impression. That experience and those relationships will pay dividends moving forward. 

Find the Right Summer Job for You

There are plenty of summer jobs that are ripe for the taking when you’re a teenager. Start by thinking through some of the primary things you want out of that experience and jot them down. This will give you a list of criteria you can reference as you evaluate your options.

Next? Use this list as your guide and peruse different outlets — like job boards and even your network — to discover what opportunities are available to you. 

Find one that seems like a good fit and submit your application. Before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to a summer job that gives you experience, boosts your skills, and fills your wallet.

If you’re a college student, an internship might be a better fit than a part-time summer job. Check out our guide to summer internships here.

Kat Boogaard
Kat Boogaard
Kat is a Midwest-based freelance writer focused on creating content that helps people find and thrive in careers they love. Her byline has appeared in a number of well-known publications, including Fast Company, Forbes, and The New York Times.

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