Outdoor summer job options for students and recent graduates

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Question: I’m looking for a summer job and I need to get outside! What kinds of outdoor work could I look for?

After eight months of libraries, labs and lectures, many students are looking forward to summer spent in the sun.

There’s a huge range of work that can be done outdoors. Here’s a list of some popular options:

Green space related

Camps – in town or out in the bush, day camps and overnight camps, camp counsellor is a popular summer job

Campgrounds – whether run by the municipality, province or a local owner, campgrounds need staff for maintenance, running the camp store, and other tasks

Parks – parks and conservation areas (including those without overnight camping sites) also often need staff

Tree planting – tree planting is a summer staple and a popular rite of passage for many students

Landscaping – there is lots of work to be done in the summer tending gardens and lawns

Farms – work as a farmhand or help with a market garden business

Water related

Marinas – docking boats, helping guests, marina staff are busy in the summer

Boats – possibilities here include sailing, canoing or kayaking instruction, cruise ships (not just in the Carribean—there are cruise ships in the St. Lawrence River, Toronto harbour and large lakes and rivers across the country) or white water rafting

Swimming – lifeguards and swimming instructors are needed at pools and beaches

Fun and amusement related

Amusement parks – water parks, theme parks and other places for children and adults to play usually require summer staff

Tourist sites – summer is usually the busy season for many tourist sites (think towers, historic sites and local museums) in Canada (ice castles and outdoor skating rinks excepted)

Fairs – there are a variety of tasks at a fair: staff a ride, take tickets at the gate, sell cotton candy, etc.

Events – summer is the season of outdoor concerts and festivals

Tours – these could be walking tours, cycling tours or bus tours

Building and maintenance related

House painting – many students spend their summers painting

Construction – there are often jobs in construction and other jobs requiring physical labour

So there’s a list of some possibilities to get you started. And depending on where you are in the country, there are surely some other unique things that happen around you in the summer. Summer is a busy time and creates a wide variety of outdoor job opportunities. Best wishes for your job search and enjoy the sun!

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.