How to make the most of your summer break!

When the summer rolls around, wouldn’t it be cool to have some money that you’ve worked hard for, to be able to spend on whatever you like over the summer holidays? While your student allowance or loan is on hold over that period of time, sometimes life can become a little more difficult to manage, financially - so earning a bit of extra cash can make a big difference to the activities you are able to get up to! There are many benefits of having a summer job, beyond the income, too! It’s a great way to continue your learning outside the classroom, keep growing your overall skill base and abilities, as well as making new connections and networks for the future.

Summer job applications can actually be heaps of fun to put together! Collating all of your strengths, talents and experiences that contribute to your application, then spending a bit of time going from place to place with your Curriculum Vitae (CV) to get your face out there is a visual way for you to understand your own capabilities. You can get a real sense of making a big effort to contribute to your life and the world of work, in a positive way. Why not go out with your friends and support each other through the process? 

CV’s are also becoming so much easier to make than they used to be, and there are so many online resources to help you make one that sums you up in the best way possible (such as and! No longer are you required to write three pages of information about your background and everything you’ve ever done. Employers want to see clarity of intention on CV’s, with precise information that best describes how and why you’d be the best for the job. Short and sweet!

So, what kind of jobs are out there and worth applying for, as a university student? 

Retail is a great place to start - particularly over the Christmas period when everyone's out to buy gifts for their loved ones. You will have the opportunity to be on your feet (keeping active is always a good thing!) and interact with so many new people throughout the day - who knows who you might meet? An extra perk of a retail job is being surrounded by other shops and food places, which means you can spend your lunch breaks shopping or relaxing in a fun place, and sometimes you may even be allowed a staff discount on products! Gain knowledge about the world of retail, supply chains and suchlike, and understand how you can make your own shopping experiences run more smoothly, once you’ve had a chance to be behind the counter. The retail industry gives you the chance to develop your organisation and customer service skills, which are great for entry-level positions in any workforce! Additionally, you’ll establish a great foundation in marketing and merchandising, which, again, are great transferable skills to have in the working world these days! 

Cafes, bars and restaurants are another valuable option when it comes to choosing a summer job. If you are a people person, or want to become more of a people person, the hospitality industry is a great place to be! Learn how to make barista style coffees, perfect your waitress/waiter skills, and get to grips with how chains and fast-paced businesses work. Some places have additional perks such as staff discounts and free coffees! What’s not to love? If you enjoy people watching, serving others, being efficient, and creating a positive atmosphere, why not earn money while doing so in a cool, quirky cafe? These kinds of environments (focusing on hospitality) will help you grow your interpersonal skills, self and time management, and other key transferable skills such as effective communication and the ability to maintain across-the-board standards.

If you’re keen on upskilling specifically in your field of interest (in line with your degree somehow), or learning a thing or two about the world of work you’ll be hoping to enter into after graduation, why not spend the summer doing an internship? Test out your practical skills doing hands-on activities and jobs for industry professionals, and gain invaluable insights into what might be involved in your career! Right here on NxtStep we have our own range of internships available for all kinds of fields, and our team are passionate about helping you gain real-world experience. Check out what we have to offer! Additionally, Asia New Zealand has a whole array of opportunities available for the taking, for university students like you! Have a browse through what options might work well as an internship idea for your schedule and interests.

Then there’s good old fashioned babysitting, nannying, and summer camp leading! If you have a knack with children or want to improve your methods when it comes to working with them, these options are a great, easy-money way to do that! During the holidays, children just want to have fun! You could get paid to help them do that and even get up to mischief yourself, which is a great way to let go of a year’s worth of being a semi-serious adult trying to get through all the study. Take a look at websites such as Jora to find these kinds of jobs, or even ask around among your family and friends to see if they need a hand with their little ones over the summer. Let’s not look past the amazing soft skills you will develop in this kind of work! Dealing with children shows employers you are a compassionate and responsible person, who is keen to continue developing as a person. Also, you can show that you are able to work both on your own, and manage the demands of both children and other adults. 

For those who are financially able, volunteering is another great thing to do as a job over the summer period, and you can contribute to society and your own personal development in a different way. Anything from animal rescue centres, homeless shelters, childrens’ holiday programmes, or even something in the field of your study - there are so many different avenues out there to choose from. Take a look at our volunteering blog to read up on volunteering in more depth. Future employers love nothing more than seeing candidates who willingly do things for others, go the extra mile to achieve things, and put their hearts into worthwhile causes, so don’t underestimate the impact volunteering can have on your future!

So, now that you’ve read all these ideas about working over the summer, it’s time for some tips for applications and starting a new job! Here are five things to remember, to help you make the most of your opportunities:

  1. Be broad in your search! You never know where you may end up, or who might be able to help you get ahead in life.
  2. Be bold on your CV/Advertising! Put your face out there and show the world they’ll miss out if they don’t hire you.
  3. Ask! If you need help with your CV, want some guidance on places to apply to, or want some advice for interviews, talk with your peers, families and tutors.
  4. Be a good employee! Turn up on time, go the extra mile where and when you can, and wear a smile each day.
  5. Help others on their journey, too! Giving each other feedback on CV’s and pairing up to go job hunting is always a great way to feel empowered and supported.

These days, more than ever, students want to find their calling in life and engage in activities and work that inspires and empowers them. Getting yourself a part-time or even full-time job over the summer is a fantastic way to give you a taster of the working world, help you develop interpersonal skills, teach you about your own abilities, and make some invaluable connections with people who may be able to help you in the future.

Written By Ellie Bambury