6 Smart Summer Side Jobs for New Grads

By Brittany Lyte on 11 May 2016 0 comments

With a high school diploma in hand, you probably feel like the world is yours. And hey — you should! But you've still got to pay to play. It's a long, hot summer that lies between graduation and dorm room move-in day, and all the camping trips, summer concerts, and ice cream cones you'll want to enjoy during that time don't come free of charge. Someone's gotta pay for all that revelrie. That's where the trusty part-time job comes in. And, if you're lucky, you'll land a gig you can keep doing part-time once school begins. Here's a bunch of smart summer side gigs for new grads. (See also: 12 Great Side Jobs for Outdoorsy Types)

1. Score a Paid Internship

You can kill two birds with one stone in the side job department. Land a paid internship in your desired field to make money now and earn experience for your future. Whether it's engineering (inquire with the engineering and tech companies in your area), teaching (search for opportunities with summer schools and camps), or journalism (look for a gig at your local newspaper), there's probably an internship, apprenticeship, or regular part-time job out there that will pay you to get a head start on your career.

If you don't find any advertised gigs that appeal to you, utilize your go-getter attitude and call some local businesses that do work that you find appealing. Sometimes the best jobs are the ones we create for ourselves.

2. Make Money Tutoring

Fresh out of calculus, you're a prime candidate to prime the incoming senior class, especially those who are struggling with Pythagorean theorem basics. Or maybe you're a wiz at essay composition with the patience and creativity to help students who are looking to spruce up their college admittance essays. Whatever your academic strong suit, use it to bring in a little extra cash while aiding the scholastic pursuits of others.

And if you're not comfortable teaching academics, don't think you can't make money teaching skills you are comfortable sharing, such as computer word processing, social media basics, or a musical instrument. Lots of kids (and adults) need help in these areas. In addition to working face-to-face with students in your area, you can also tap into the deeper pool of students-in-need-of-tutoring online. Check out Student-Tutor and Tutor.com to get started. The going rate for a private tutor falls around $15 and $20, depending on your age and experience level.

3. Cash In on the Summer Festival Circuit

Summer brings a flurry of fairs, markets, outdoor theatre, and concerts to the neighborhood, and all of these activities need temporary employees to keep things running smoothly. From ticket salespersons to parking lot attendants, there are a slew of jobs available, and many of them come with perks such as ticket discounts or free entry to these events. Keep your eye on the local paper or contact event organizers and concert venues directly to inquire about part-time job opportunities.

4. Master the Art of Bartending

Bartending means big tips and — bonus — it's a gig that most often leaves you with your days wide open for sunbathing and river tubing, or however you choose to spend your final days before college. And if you need one more good reason why it's smart to learn the art of pouring the perfect cocktail: Time and time again, no matter where you wander in life, you can take up a bartending gig when you're in need of fast cash. Like when you land your first full-time job, but want to pay off those student loans faster than your salary allows. When you get laid off from that full-time job and need some time to calculate the next step in your career. Or when you decide to up and move to Paris for a year and you need to fund your new diet of fine wine and cheese.

To get started, find a small, locally owned bar that's willing to show you the ropes. The average hourly pay for a starting bartender falls around $16 per hour, including tips. Note that in some U.S. states you must be 21 or older to be a bartender — but in most states, 18 is old enough. Check with your local authorities.

5. Profit Off of Wedding Season

The American wedding industry is worth $60 billion and employs more than 900,000 people. Why not cash in on nuptial mania by picking up a part-time gig with a caterer, make-up artist, florist, photographer, or outdoor lighting company? Bonus: June is one of the most popular months to say "I do," thanks to the delightful early summer weather. Just in time for the post-graduation grind.

6. Try Your Hand at Landscaping

Sweet summertime. It's a season to be spent out on the lawn grilling up dinner for the family, basking in the sun, or playing a game of kickball with the neighbors. Of course, trim, green lawns and nicely sculpted hedges don't appear out of thin air. And many folks are willing to pay a sizeable wage to avoid doing all that mowing, watering, and planting themselves. That's where you come in. Join a landscaping business or score your own clients by posting fliers and Facebook posts advertising your services.

What are some other smart side jobs for new grads? Share with us!

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