The summer job has evolved.
Yeah, public pools still needs lifeguards. And that stadium snow cone machine isn’t going to scoop itself. But the low-stakes, low-paying gigs that once defined the dog days of summer have some serious competition.
This year, cash-strapped college kids—and others looking to make a little extra cash—will clamor for a range of summer jobs that dole out fat paychecks. By the end of May, 74% of them will be filled.
Here are some of our favorites.
Average Pay / Week: $1,800
Cities that swell with tourists during the summer months often pay handsomely for locals to show visitors around. The guides at “Free Chicago Walking Tours,” which give tours of famous spots like Michigan Avenue and Lincoln Park, make close to $45 an hour, according to owner Jeff Mikos.
Homebody types can snag a guide gig without ever leaving the house. Brie Weiler Reynolds, a senior career specialist at telecommuting staffing firm FlexJobs, says city guide writing jobs are among the best paid roles on the site. Projects are commissioned by travel and real estate companies, and pay around $50 to $100 for short guides on shopping, transit, and other topics.
Average Pay / Week: $700
A highbrow version of a pizza delivery driver, couriers get a fee (and usually a tip) to hand-deliver items from drug stores, malls, and restaurants that don’t deliver. Postmates, probably the best-known bike and car courier network, uses an Uber-like app to link drivers with clients. Earlier this month, Ross Lipschultz, a Chicago-based sports marketing professional, published a Medium post about his experience driving with Postmates for some extra cash. After gas and car-repair expenses, Lipschultz’s take home pay topped $18 an hour. An average work week brought in $700, but Lipschultz says he could have bumped that number up with additional hours. Traditional delivery drivers in his area only make about $8.25 an hour.
Average Pay / Week: $1,000
Some entertainment companies hire bonafide party starters to jazz up dance floors at Bar Mitzvahs, weddings, and corporate events. The starting hourly rate is usually around $25, but charismatic dancers with a knack for engaging lifeless crowds can make up to $100 an hour, says Richard O'Malley, owner of the production company the O’Malley Project. Jobs can often be found on the casting call database Backstage.
Average Pay / Week: $800
“Lead generation specialists,” or business-to-business telemarketers companies tap to cold call potential clients, make a starting wage of about $3,200 a month, according to FlexJobs’ Weiler Reynolds. Most of these positions can be done from anywhere in the world, and don't list sales experience as a prerequisite, so they tend to attract telecommuting entry level hires.
Average Pay / Week: $1,625
Alaskan crabbing is a dangerous job. But it pays well! According to the Houston Chronicle, rookie crabbers make about 1.5 to 5% of each harvest, or about $3,000 to $10,000 during the three-month crab season. A warning: the Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks crab fishing as one of the deadliest jobs in the country - but don't be afraid to try it if you're in a pinch for some quick cash.
Average Pay / Week: $800
Paid mentoring gigs can be lucrative, particularly for college students. CollegeVine, which connects high school students with tutors and mentors, pays $20 an hour and up for employees to work as application consultants, according to a spokeswoman.
Resume writing is another good option for students, as college campuses offer a steady stream of clients. Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, a professional resume writer, says the starting rate for novice writers is about $50 a resume (and can go up to $400 for those with experience).