Having a summer job can be tough—especially as summer vacation, relaxation and time with friends calls your name. Babysitting, working at a camp or working in an office or store each has their specific challenges, and it can be hard to feel motivated and prosperous when you’re only working for a season.
Enjoying and being successful at a summer job isn’t impossible, though. Take a look at the tips below for some fresh ideas to brighten up the day, boost your resume and make your summer job slightly more manageable.
In the Office: Surf The Web… Yes, Really
Summer office jobs or internships often fall into two categories: challenging or boring. Depending on the kind of office job you have, there are different ways to impress your boss (and pass the time).
Of course, basics like arriving early, dressing well and staying late that will always impress your boss. But those aren’t epic or glowing reference-worthy. Instead, focus on what you do best: staying on top of the trends in your industry. Try to drop some of what you learn about it into causal discussions with your boss.
This shows that you’re knowledgeable about the industry and actively trying to learn. If you have a great idea later — and you’ve already built rapport with your superior — they’ll likely be more open to your idea.
At Camp: Bring Fresh Ideas
“Summer camp counselor” is one of the most popular summer jobs. You get to spend the entire summer outside, having fun and hanging with other people your age. But when you run out of fun ideas for your campers after just a few weeks on the job, things start to look bleak (especially on rainy days).
Instead of boring your campers with card games, turn to trendier activities that you can enjoy along with them. Believe it or not, knitting actually ranked number one for top indoor hobbies of 2016—who knew? This is perfect when you’re stuck inside on a rainy day.
Other fun ideas include yoga, drone flying and rock climbing. If your camp doesn’t have the equipment for this, consider how you can improvise with field trips or items of your own.
While Babysitting: Creative Creations
Babysitting is like being a camp counselor, but without the fun of being in the woods. Thus, being creative is absolutely crucial as a babysitter, making the summer days fun for you and the kids.
While watching a movie is a great way to pass the time, and the beach or pool is your ideal location on sunny days, there are more exciting ways to spend a rainy summer afternoon.
For example, experiment with cooking with the kids as a way to teach them basic real-life skills such as following directions. Note that this can be messy (particularly if you’re babysitting very young children) and you should always check with their parents for permission before using any kitchen appliances.
If parents are excited, they may even be willing to buy ingredients for a specific recipe so you’re ready to go with the kids.
Other ideas include putting on a short play (kids love to dress up and you can even have them help write something if they enjoy making up stories) and craft days (just hit up your local craft store for all sorts of goodies and inspiration.
At Your Local Retail Gig: Become a Marketer—Or At Least Offer
Retail shifts can be long, and struggling through them, without checking the clock every 10 minutes can be a challenge on even the busiest days. If you’re looking to impress your boss at the local retailer you work for—whether it’s an ice cream shop or thrift store—and pass the time, use your digital native skills to suggest new and innovative marketing ideas.
Small business owners have minimal time to do anything other than make sure the business is running smoothly and making a profit. They may not even have the budget to hire a marketing professional. Use this as a chance to test and share some fun social media marketing ideas.
Think about business posts on Facebook or Instagram that you’ve loved and brainstorm how that can translate to the business where you work. Then suggest helping your boss implement one or two new ideas. If they work out, you may even be promoted to marketing associate—making your job a lot more fun and exciting.
With these new ideas, you’re sure to have a blast at your summer job, learn a lot and impress the people who may be willing to hire you again next summer. Plus, did we mention how great summer jobs look on college apps and future resumes?
About Jessica Thiefels: Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and is currently a lifestyle blogger. She’s written for Reader’s Digest, AARP, CollegeRaptor, Shape and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 for more great tips and advice.