U.S. Markets close in 2 hrs 46 mins

Where the Summer Jobs Are

Lindsay Olson

If you're a college student looking for summer work, or simply want a part-time job that challenges you for a few months, there are plenty of options to consider this year. Here's more about four of them:

1. Tourism

Whether it's lifeguarding at your local pool, waitressing at a summer resort, or coordinating activities at a hotel, tourism is a huge industry with plenty of jobs this time of year.

If you're interested in travel, look at jobs on a cruise ship or at a resort far from home, as they usually include room and board as part of your compensation. Just think of the stories you'll bring back after spending three months at sea.

Best for: If you are pursuing a career in hospitality or tourism, interning or working in this field will go a long way to impress potential employers once you graduate.

2. Entertainment for Kids

There are millions of children out of school, looking for things to do in the summer. Parents send them to camp, plan parties, and take them on excursions--all of which require employees. If you love working with children, consider these jobs this summer:

--Camp staff

--Party planner

--Zoo or theme-park worker

Best for: If you're pursuing childhood development or education, working with kids will give you the experience you need to know whether you're on the right track.

3. Nature

Kayaking. Surfing. Hiking. Boating. People love being outdoors during the summer, and if you do too, there are plenty of opportunities for you to monetize on your love of nature and outdoor experience. If you are certified as a rock climbing instructor or skydiving instructor, you can take others on tours.

Best for: Active roles like these are great as part-time jobs, and may not interfere with your 9-to-5 if you've got one. You can lead hiking trips on the weekends and score some extra cash on the side.

4. Personal Services

If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, you may be able to cobble together part-time work that pays the bills by doing tasks like babysitting, house sitting, dog walking, and errand running. You can typically set your own hours with work like this, which is great for flexibility. The key is finding work you genuinely enjoy. If you love mowing your own yard, why not offer your services to neighbors? Love pets but don't have your own? Become a pet sitter. Check places like Care.com for child, home, and pet-care opportunities, or TaskRabbit for odd jobs (only in select metropolitan areas).

Best for: If you don't need a specific amount of money earned from a job, this would suit you best. Your work level may vary based on the number of jobs you get, and you can always work to market your services.

Tips for Landing the Perfect Summer Job

Starting early is the key to finding a job for the summer. Lifeguards, for example, are hired long before school is out. You'll need to be proactive in searching for a job before summer begins.

If you're interested in relocating for the summer, you'll need to start your hunt early, as there are logistics to be arranged (moving, settling in, etc.) prior to starting the actual work.

Even if you don't have any experience in your chosen industry, make sure your enthusiasm shines through. For example, if you're applying as a camp counselor but have never worked as one, focus on your summer-camp years and fond memories of your counselors in your cover letter.

Highlight the skills you have that best relate to the work you want to do, even if it's not an exact fit. For example, while you may have never taken people on a hiking tour, perhaps you have held leadership positions in school or work that would apply.

Summer is a great time to learn new skills and make money. And with some luck, you can leverage your experience into future jobs.

Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs.com, a niche job board for public relations, communications, and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.

More From US News & World Report