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Being a student was hard work, but fun. Its only when you get into the real working world you can look back and realise how much fun and how much free time you had. Financing your lifestyle has never been more important and a key time for doing this is in the summer when you don’t have to worry about working effecting your study time.

Our top tips for student summer jobs are:

1. When it comes to successfully landing a job during the university holidays, preparation is everything. If you leave finding a summer job to the last-minute, you may end up missing out.

2. April or May is a good time for getting your CV up-to-scratch and to start researching your options and sending applications out.

3. A wide range of employers take on students over the summer months, with a massive variety of jobs out there each year. So look around.

4. Temporary office jobs are nearly always available, with high street recruitment agencies the best means of getting work that will both pay well and look good on your CV.

5. While working at summer music festivals may not look go good on a CV, it can be an enjoyable way of earning a little money, making friends and enjoying the summer.

6. Pubs, bars and shops are also good sources of summer jobs, though again, getting your applications in early is crucial also knowing someone who already works there helps.

7. Working abroad lets you see the world while earning a little money over the summer months; a number of organisations can organise placements for you.

Getting Prepared

When it comes to successfully landing a job during the university holidays, preparation is everything. Indeed, given the fact that there may be hundreds of cash-strapped students going for one job, it’s a good idea to do all you can to stand out from the crowd, with being prepared well in advance a great way of ensuring you do just this.

So, even though you may only want to start working in June or even July, you should start working on getting your CV ready in May, making sure you have several different versions that are appropriate for different types of job.

Similarly, you should start giving serious thought to where you would like to work, what type of job you want to do, and how long you want to work for, with the best-prepared students much more likely to succeed in getting paid work than those who leave it all to the last-minute.

Type of Summer Jobs Available to Students

A wide range of employers take on students over the summer months. While some will enable you to earn some quick money, others may give you the chance to gain some valuable professional experience, make new friends, enjoy the summer sun and even travel the world.

Here are just some of the type summer jobs open to students:

  • Office Work

With full-time staff heading off on their summer holidays, offices up and down the country are always on the lookout for reliable temporary workers to step in as cover. Unless you have contacts in a company, the best way to find temporary office work is through a recruitment agency.

The likes of Reed, Manpower, Pertemps and Randstad specialise in matching temporary workers to vacancies, whether it’s for a one-day contract or for several weeks or months.

Note, however, that you may be required to demonstrate at least some knowledge of office software systems and you will most likely be asked to attend a face-to-face meeting with a recruitment consultant before you are offered any work.

While office work may not be the most fun way of spending your summer, it may be the most productive. Not only do the hourly rates tend to be better (with office staff in London earning £8 per hour and upwards), but this kind of work will look better on your CV and may even give you the chance to build up valuable professional contacts for when you graduate.

  • Festivals

Festival work, meanwhile, offers the chance to earn money while attending a number of summer music festivals. While pay is rarely above National Minimum Wage (with some students working in return for just festival tickets and bed and board) and the work can be physically demanding, it can be fun and a great way of making new friends and enjoying the best of the summer.

Again, agencies are the best way to find this type of work, we have identified the following websites as listing hundreds of vacancies in the months and weeks leading up to major events:

  • EventStaffing
  • Festaff
  • Retail and Leisure

Pubs, bars and shops have long been favoured sources of summer work for students. While rates of pay are rarely much above National Minimum Wage, employers tend to be flexible, meaning you can combine work with enjoying the summer, and most will be happy to welcome you back at other times of the year so long as you prove yourself to be efficient and reliable.

Note, however, that the typical shop or pub will receive dozens, if not hundreds, of CVs and applications from students, so it pays to get in there early.

Another way of standing out from the crowd is handing your CV to the manager in person, making sure you look smart and confident, while applying to a large number of places will also increase your chances of finding paid work.

Also if you know someone who already works in place they could put you forward or tell you as and when vacancies arise, its worth asking them.

  • Jobs Abroad

If you want to have a summer break to remember but don’t have the money to go backpacking around the world, then consider working abroad for a few weeks or months.

A number of specialist organisations help students find work placements overseas.

For example, Camp America gives UK students the chance to work at a summer camp in the US and combine work with seeing the country, while Bunac offers a range of work, intern and volunteer programmes in the US, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Nepal.

Additionally, Disney International offers a range of Summer Work Experience programmes to international students. While it’s unlikely you’ll earn anything like the kind of money you can save up while temping in an office and living with your parents, this can be a great way of getting some professional experience on your CV, meeting new people and seeing some of the wider world.

The three sites mentioned above:

  • Camp America
  • Bunac
  • Disney International

Pay and Tax Issues

Unless you get lucky, the chances are any summer job you do get will pay relatively little. As such, it’s important you know what the National Minimum Wage stands at so you can be sure you are getting paid fairly.

Similarly, even temporary summer workers are guaranteed a number of rights, including rights relating to sick pay, holiday leave and maximum hours, so be sure to read up on these before you get started in a new job.

If you are a full-time student, and if you don’t earn more than £8,105 (as of 2013) then you will be exempt from Income Tax on any money you do earn through your summer job. However, you need to complete a Student Exemption (P38) Form and hand this into your employer to ensure that no tax is deducted from your pay.

Note, however, that you will still be required to pay National Insurance if you earn more than £146 a week through your summer job, with this usually deducted automatically.

Further Reading

UK Jobs Guide has thousands of jobs listed on it, so please search for what you are looking for with us, Alternatively a good resource for summer employment opportunities is at specialist student recruitment website The Big Choice.

We also have a section where you can find your for ideas.

Please let us have any comments on how we can make this guide better, let us know.

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