Work ideas for students with a shortened summer

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I am going away for two months this summer and want to spend the remaining two months working. Is it possible for me to find a job for only two months?

It is certainly possible to find a job that will last only two months, but given your time restriction, it may take some creativity and persistence to find a job that will fit this short time frame.

One reason that it can be difficult to find a job that lasts for such a short time is this: when an employer hires a new staff member, they have to make a significant investment in them—in training and orientation, and the time that is need for them to “get up to speed.”

In general, for an employer, the shorter the time that that employee will be working for them, the less likely they may feel it is worth making that training investment.

That doesn’t mean it is impossible to find an employer who will hire you for two months, it just means you will have to put in some effort to find them.

Here are a few things to think about as you explore your options:

Might you be able to find a job that you have already done before? That way, you can explain that your “getting up to speed” time will be very short.

Might you be able to return to a workplace where you have worked in the past? That way, your employer already knows you, may feel that your “getting up to speed” time will be short and may be happy to bring you back because they like you and want to continue to support you.

Might you start your job search by networking? Would talking with potential employers who are people who you already know be a good first step? It might be possible that people who already know you may be more apt to be flexible and work around your restricted schedule.

Are you interested in continuing part time into the fall? If the employer can see that while you are only going to be available full-time for two months in the summer, training you might be more worthwhile if you want to continue to work for them part time into the fall.

There are also jobs which do not need someone for more than two months:

Camps. Some camps only run for eight weeks (or less)—remembering that elementary and high school students are usually in school until late June, just leaving July and August for camping time.

Events. There may be festivals and fairs that only require people for a short time

A job you create yourself. What about setting up your own business for the two months that you have available? Do you have any special skill that you could offer? The options are unlimited, but some popular tasks are childcare, dog or house sitting, landscaping—all things that people often need over the summer holiday period.

Other miscellaneous positions. There may be many other employers out there who, for one reason or another, only need someone for a short time. Finding these will just take a lot of looking through options till you find these shorter ones.

Having only two months rather than four to work over the summer does lower the number of opportunities for you, but there should still be several things you can look for. Best wishes for your summer job search!

Readers: Have any of you had summer jobs that lasted two months or less? What ideas can you share from those experiences?

Click here to check out more of Cathy’s answers to pressing career questions from students and new grads just like you.

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About the author

Cathy Keates is a career counsellor and trainer who has worked with university students and graduates for the past decade, helping them to strategically create careers they will love. She has worked as a career counsellor at Queen's University and was the associate director of the career centre at York University. Convinced that we can all create lives based on authenticity and integrity, she is the author of the new job search book Not for Sale! and shares her thoughts about finding work without losing yourself on her blog, Transform Your Job Search.