How To Find A Job When You’re Home For The Summer


Home may be where the heart is but it’s not necessarily where the best summer jobs are.

After ploughing through a busy semester, many university students head from student house to hometown for a summer of rent-free living and a few home-cooked meals. Unfortunately, when students are only in town for a few months, it can be hard to find employment.

Ideally, you started early. Hit the Internet hard, applied to government positions and local listings. But times are tough, and with the youth unemployment rate sitting at 13.9%, maybe you weren’t able to land one of those coveted summer jobs.

If you now find yourself back in the dinosaur-themed childhood bed with no job to get you up in the morning, there are still some things that you can do.

Do some digging

Don’t follow the crowd; find a local company that you want to work for and contact their HR department directly to see if they have any openings.  Scan your local paper and community bulletin boards for any job notices and keep an eye out for “help wanted” signs around town. Always have a resume on hand if something catches your eye.

While most large employers tend to do their summer hiring in January and February, there are still some summer job opportunities listed on TalentEgg.

Hit the road

Everyone looks the same via email, but unless you have a twin roaming around, no one will look like you in-person. Print out copies of your resume, put on your professional business wear and your best “hire-me” smile and start applying to jobs face-to-face. Do your best to give your resume to whoever does the hiring rather than just leaving it with reception – allow employers to put a face to the name on your application.

Hometown helpers

As The Beatles once crooned, we get by with a little help from our friends. If you’re back in your hometown, use those networks that you created before university. Reach out to your family and friends, send out emails with your resume and let people know what you’re looking for. Additionally, call up people you worked for or volunteered with before you went away to university. You never know who might come through.

Widen your search

Limiting your search is only limiting the number of opportunities available. Work is work and every job, from office clerk to summer camp counsellor to fast-food chef, has valuable skills that can help your resume in the future. If the job you want isn’t working out, use the summer to try something new.

Be honest

Some employers hire summer workers with the intention of keeping them on throughout the rest of the year. If an employer asks you if you’ll be returning to school in September, don’t lie and say that you’re sticking around just so you land the job. Three months later when you leave, you will also be leaving behind any potential for a good reference or future opportunities with that company. Instead, let them know that this is your hometown and though you’ll be going back to school, you could be back for Christmas break and would be open to seasonal work opportunities.

Create your own job

Remember that time when you ran a lemonade stand on your corner? Well, maybe it’s time to bring that entrepreneurial spirit back.  When no one’s hiring, consider hiring yourself. Get creative, start your own business and advertise it around your hometown. Look at your skill set and see what people in your area need – it could be anything from babysitting for local families to helping elderly neighbours with errands. It may not be the typical nine-to-five summer job, but starting and maintaining your own business is a great addition to any resume.


If you can’t find any paid positions, consider volunteering your services. It may mean cutting back on the number of summer shopping sprees you can enjoy, but volunteer jobs could help you gain important skills and could lead to future employment. And volunteering for a summer definitely looks better on a resume than sitting around on the couch watching re-runs of Keeping up with the Kardashians.

 Photo credit: Help wanted sign by andjohan on Flickr


About the author

Ishani Nath is a proud McMaster alum, aspiring writer and current journalism grad student at Ryerson University. When she's not hammering out articles, she can usually be found on a patio or nestled on a couch trying to keep up with those crazy Kardashians. She hopes to one day have a job that makes her excited to get up each morning, or at least one that gives her free food. Intrigued? Enthralled? Learn more by following her on @ishaninath.