5 Productive Ways to Spend Your Summer if You Didn’t Land That Summer Job

Featured Image Credit: Julie Walraven & Photographer Yolanda DeLoach

If you didn’t land that summer job you were hoping for after all that hard work put into searching, applying and interviewing – chin up and do not despair! There are several other ways to be productive and make the most out of your summer.

Before we get into the list of productive methods – take a moment to reflect on your job search experience. Sometimes we feel guilty or we blame ourselves for not being successful in our job search. Do not feel this way – first, because it is not a healthy mindset to have, and second, because anything you do in life serves as a learning experience! It is also important to mention that the job market for students and graduates across Canada is still pretty rough, even for those holding master’s and PhD degrees (check out this Globe and Mail article). Take some time to reflect and ask yourself honestly about your efforts and ways to improve in your next search. Talking to your peers, family, friends and even academic and career advisors are great avenues of receiving advice (and even a shoulder to cry on if needed). After understanding what went right and what you can improve on, stride forward and carry on! Below is a list of ways you can have a productive summer and add some important skills and accomplishments to your resume:

1. If it’s not the end of summer – keep searching!
Summer is four months long, and several companies could use a hand even for one or two months. If you had no luck in finding a position for the first half of summer, do not quit because there is a good chance that there are positions for the latter half! Several companies require even temporary administrative assistance, so keep searching, networking and doing your best to reach out to potential employers.

2. Consider retail!
Some students discredit retail experience as if it is something that is not worthwhile. I don’t believe in this at all, and I’ll even go to say that every student should take up a retail job some point in their career. Retail experience lets you develop your communication, customer service, negotiation, conflict resolution, and time management skills amongst a multitude of other skills. It’s great experience as it forces you to be on your feet and deal with people and conflicts on a daily basis. Don’t discourage yourself from applying to retail positions as many of the skills you learn are very much applicable in your future careers.

3. Volunteer
Did you ever want to volunteer for that cat rescue shelter or at that chiropractor’s clinic but you never had the time? Well now’s the time! There is no other great way to spend your free time than to devote it to a worthwhile cause in helping other people (or cute kittens). Find your passion, search up organizations within your area and contact them to see if you can donate some of your time. Volunteering is always a great past-time, through which you can also develop very valuable skills.

4. Take up summer school…or simply continue learning!
Learning is lifelong and you can never limit yourself in adding to your knowledge base. Summer school is a great way to continue your learning – it’s not as much of a stressful load in comparison to the regular school year and is great for catching up on or gaining credits. If you’ve been avoiding that required course for a while now, now’s the time to focus all your energy towards successfully completing it! Another option is searching up free, online courses that you can take at your leisure. Coursera is a popular site offering a variety of free courses from several well-established universities and colleges.

5. Start your own venture and dream up your own dreams!
If you’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit in you and needed the time to create your own start-up – here’s your chance. It could range from anything small to big – whether that be garden maintenance services to creating a new app. Use this time to work on your passion projects and ideas; ones you didn’t necessarily have time for during the school year. You never know where your ideas could lead you to!

And lastly, enjoy your summer! As students we become absorbed in our textbooks and worry ourselves about our grades and future for 8 long, tiring and stressful months. So, if you get the chance to have a summer off, then experience it so with great pleasure. Work hard towards achieving your goals but don’t forget to spend time with your friends, family and loved ones. Your undergraduate days will soon be over, so make memories and soak up the summer sun while it lasts!


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