So you are a college student looking for a summer job. Well look at you, you’re finally swimming with all the other tuna, finally joined the poor-college-student trope that has consumed our lives for decades. From eating ramen noodles for dinner three days straight, to smuggling fruit under our hoodies out of the dining hall so we have snacks, to forgetting what Indian food tastes like because it’s been a whole semester since we have been awarded the luxury of creamy saag paneer, the poor-college-student-struggle has never ceased to amaze me.
Now you’ve come here to change your fate. To go from hotdogs-every-night to sushi-sometimes, you must put in grueling hours of work into jobs that require you to have absolutely zero experience, you can find ‘em in a couple fabulous locations. A lot of them pay minimum wage, a lucky and connecting few of us will climb to making $10 an hour, the rest of us will imagine the glory and save up for next year’s textbooks. So, without further ado, below is list of potential jobs you can be hired for as a college student with no previous work experience.
Work at a country club: Most of us don’t have memberships to these dolled up lands of high end food, “free” child care, and lawns that get mowed daily even when they already look perfect. Regardless, a lot of these country clubs thrive of low paid labor. Instead of hiring top waiters and event organizers, they have a few highly paid professional managers with a herd of college students that are good at listening and following directions. Sometimes who you know can give you a push into the system, so if you can pull some strings to get the job, that’d be an extra plus. Jobs vary greatly from working at the sports lounges to serving food in the restaurant. While job security isn’t one of their best attributes (basically they fire the weak and lazy because there’s a line waiting to get in), they’ll offer you a higher than average salary ($9-$10 an hour usually).
Get an internship: Paid and Unpaid internships are getting more and more popular among competitive companies who are looking to recruit semi-qualified students early in the game. Unpaid internships can usually get funding through your school (this might require more work on your end, maybe even an application *gasp*). These jobs sometimes require prerequisite classes or a major that matches the goals of the company, but if you can fit their mold you can receive a stipend or hourly wage that’s much higher than the minimum and experience to land a future career. Sometimes your school can get you connected with these internships, but otherwise a good couple of Google searches and snooping around on the internet with offer plenty of internship opportunities in your area and across the country.
Work as a bartender: Although semi-unconventional, I promise that the general trend is that drunk people tip well. They’re willing to throw money at beverages that make their heads spin and at the people who make that possible. Different states have different licensing requirements, but generally you’ll need to take an alcohol safety course and maybe attend a bartending school to learn how to serve drinks (safely) in style. Plus, bars are everywhere, even if there aren’t large metropolitan areas near you, I’m sure there is a bar.
Work where you don’t shop: If you’re looking to save money for the future, do not work where you shop. The discount is too enticing, and you’ll never save as much money as you had either hoped or counted for. Work at the grocery store (it’s hard to get a job at Trader Joes but if you can do it they pay their employees amazingly), CVS pharmacy or Walgreens, or a bowling alley; work somewhere you aren’t going to take advantage of your discount unless it's 100% or something you would buy without the discount. Most retail, and food service jobs require little previous work experience. It won’t exactly be the most engaging but, hey, if you’re looking for work that requires less brain power (like I am for a minimum wage, summer job) this might be your path.
Work as a tutor: So maybe you don’t have any work experience, so maybe you can’t get hired by the local bakery, you have taken classes haven’t you?? And if you’re in college you have obviously been in school for years. Take that previous experience and make it translate into an income. If you can’t build the connections yourself (say, with a neighborhood kid who’s trying to get ahead in math), post a free profile to find potential students in the area who are looking for someone who can teach what they are trying to learn, or work with a professional classroom setting type of company like Kumon.
It can not only be challenging but also extremely frustrating to find an engaging job that pays decently when you don’t have any previous work experience. The good news is that there are plenty of jobs that can meet your requirements—keep applying and keep connecting, send in a resume and an application and then follow up with the manager to ask if they need more information or references. You know you have the skills to do the job, now all you have to do is prove it.
Photo Credit: Kamal Hamid