You can gain much more than just money from summer work. By considering positions where you may be able to try out a role, develop skills or gain industry insight, your summer work can be a viable alternative to an organised placement.
Listed below are a number of popular summer jobs with useful links. Many opportunities will also be advertised by firms in your local area, and remember to regularly check LSE CareerHub for summer jobs. Some large job-advert websites such as Hot Recruit allow you to filter search results for temporary contracts.
A large number of hotels and restaurants rely on student labour to fill vacancies during the busy summer period. You will need to speak the language of the country if possible and in return you will may get free accommodation, a salary and the chance to live in some of the most beautiful corners of the world.
You will be given the chance to visit great places, meet lots of people and improve any foreign languages you speak. Skills development may include commercial awareness, strengthening communication skills as well as your customer service and sales skills. Being able to work abroad shows high levels of flexibility and adaptability.
Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL)
Teaching English as a foreign language can be a rewarding job and can give you the opportunity to work in other countries. In the summer, TEFL work is available in children's summer camps in England or abroad. Most camps will offer bed and board in the contract.
Once you have taken a TEFL course most course providers will have given you a provisional grade to use ahead of getting your certificate. In the UK the market for TEFL work is highly seasonal (summer months), whereas in Spain, for example, you can easily find work all year by switching from cities to summer school work. Generally, March is a good time to apply for jobs. The British Council lists accredited schools. Remember to check on LSE CareerHub for the latest jobs posted under 'Summer Opportunities'. For those who have already qualified, teachers are in high demand throughout China and Thailand. Korea, Japan, Eastern European countries and Vietnam are becoming increasingly popular.
Apart from getting the chance to visit some great places, you will get the chance to demonstrate your communication and presentation skills as well as the ability to inspire students to learn English. If you think that you enjoy teaching, you can work part-time as a tutor when you come back. Find out more information on TEFL in our teaching webpages.
Employment at an activity camp over the summer is a great way to gain experience working with children while benefiting from the associated financial, social and developmental aspects. The skill and enthusiasm of dedicated staff at camps is the most important factor behind their success and is what makes a camp enjoyable for the children.
You are likely to receive useful training as most camps require staff to attend comprehensive training covering safety guidelines and site-specific risk assessments for every activity, and general safety topics including fire drills and security. You will be able to demonstrate your ability to work as a member of a team towards some common goals as well as the ability to work with children.
Work while travelling
The US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand all allow young people (dependent on nationality) to earn money while travelling; normally in fairly low paying jobs such as bar work, administration or agriculture. Details vary by country; for some you have to get sponsorship from an organisation which will cost a fee, but they will then organise your visa and help you find work. Literally thousands of such organisations exist. Be warned however, that if you do work one summer you may be unable to take a gap year there later.
The government webpages for these schemes are listed here, so that you can check the legal details.
If you decide to temp over the summer in London, you could attempt to find work by sector. Some firms have branches specialising in finance and accountancy, for example. Some firms may specialise based on their location; those around Bank and Liverpool Street cater mainly to finance and legal firms; agencies around Victoria may serve the government and civil service (though remember to sign up early so security passes can be processed).
Pay varies according to firm and your role. £8 - £11 an hour is typical, but will vary with each assignment. It is normally best to sign up in person at agencies rather than on online: you can choose which branch you work for this way, and are much more likely to get immediate work. They may ask you to complete I.T tests, so make sure you practice your typing, MS Word and MS Excel skills beforehand.
Temps are normally asked to only sign up with a single agency, but this is at your discretion. If you don't get offered work a few days after signing a temping contract, telephone the office when it opens to remind it you are searching for work. Employers for whom you temp are impressed by hard work, and sometimes offer work experience if you express an interest in their sector. Temping firms in London include:
In the summer, people shop more, staff go on holiday more, so retail shops recruit more! If you are looking for a full time summer job then showing a commitment to the company over a longer period of time, may well help secure the job.
Working in a shop is a great way of earning money and building experience. You will improve your face to face communication skills and be able to demonstrate commercial awareness as well as customer service skills. Many students start working part time in shops and other businesses and find that they can work part-time during term-time after the summer. Once you have been trained and are competent many companies will look to keep you and use the skills that you have acquired.
Call centres are everywhere these days, whether it is customer service support or active selling. Although the work may be quite pressured (you may well be monitored), the rewards can be good, with high basic rates and in some sectors, very good commission. Summer jobs like telesales, or call centre work have high turnover rates so are fairly readily available.
If you need some money and have a good telephone manner, then this could be the way to build up your bank balance fast. The hours are not as restricted as normal shop hours; many call centres open 24hours a day, so it is a flexible way of earning money. You will improve your presentation, sales and communication skills.
Acting as a steward, your tasks may range from directing and ushering people to their seats to acting as a security barrier to prevent pitch invasions. You need to be well mannered and approachable in order to provide this service to members of the general public who may have paid to attend the event. Your specific role in a position of this sort depends entirely on the event, venue and stewarding company who have employed you. Any basic training or instruction needed will be provided on the day to ensure you are fully equipped to tackle any problems that may arise.
Event stewarding may allow you to work outdoors at high profile venues with high profile events - this type of work is perfect for the summer months. If you are London-based, consider Wembley Arena, Wimbledon, The Arena Pavilion, Twickenham Rugby Ground, Lords and The Brit Oval Cricket Grounds, football clubs, Aintree, Cheltenham and Goodwood Racecourses.
Stewarding experience will help you to demonstrate your people skills as well as your ability to work with difficult customers and provide excellent customer service.