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Best summer jobs for college students and grads

Date posted:  4/18/17 03:30:00 PM Summer camps can make a great destination for college job-seekers.

Seasonal employment is a major force in the American economy, particularly for millions of teenagers and young adults. With the end of the spring semester comes a surge in employment over the summer throughout the U.S. From April through July 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of workers age 16 to 24 rose from 1.9 million to 20.5 million. That means about 53 percent of people in this age group were employed during the summer of 2016.

Summer jobs may be seen as little more than an obligation, or something to stave off boredom. However, the right job could not only generate a good paycheck but also provide young workers with the skills and connections that will serve them well in their future careers. Both of these goals are attainable by thinking outside of the box when conducting a summer job search.

Higher-paying summer jobs

Much of the work that employs high school and college students tends to be low-skill and low-wage, but there are some exceptions. Business Insider recommended looking into employment at a summer camp.

Summer camps are a popular destination for kids around the country, which makes them great employment opportunities for older teens or young adults. A summer camp program coordinator is among the highest-paying jobs often held by college students or recent grads - average pay ranges from almost $10 per hour to more than $30 per hour. However, program coordinator positions also tend to be more skill-intensive. Many summer camps require leaders to have a high school diploma and be CPR certified. The best paying summer camp positions will prefer some college education and potentially experience in teaching.

If they don't fit the bill for the program coordinator position, students could still find work as a camp educator, assistant or even in the camp kitchen. These jobs all tend to pay above minimum wage but are still attainable for younger workers.

Internships

Particularly for college students, a summer internship is essential in many industries. With one or two high-quality internships under their belt, college graduates tend to have a much better time finding great full-time employment opportunities.

Some internships are paid positions, but many also function as part of a degree program and only confer college credit. In any case, interns have a host of opportunities at their disposal. As the Harvard Business Review explained, any internship can be worthwhile as long as the intern makes the most out of the experience. While it can be a great addition to a résumé, interns should also take advantage of the potential to forge their first professional relationships. These will prove invaluable in a very short time when they enter the workforce.

No matter what students do during the summer, their spare time is only as valuable as they make it. Any job or internship can be thought of like an investment that will pay dividends in a few short years.