Summer time. Sunny beaches, strawberry ice cream, hot evenings and endless nights. Memories of a lifetime.
Perhaps this is the first thing you imagine when thinking about finding a summer job abroad. Of course, there is much more to it–hard work, steep learning curve, long shifts and other things. Nevertheless, your first summer spent abroad can be unforgettable, and will certainly change you.
What’s more, it will be the first real thing on your professional resume, something that will help you immensely in a few years time, when you finally graduate and start looking for a first full time job. Surely you do not think about this boring period of life yet, but one day it will come :).
In this short article we will outline a few strategies how you can secure a summer job. Let’s start!
Apply in a recruitment agency, especially if you need visa or struggle with your language skills
In my book, recruitment agencies are the thing of the past, especially if we talk about summer jobs. And I know what I am talking about since more than ten years ago, I ran such an agency.
However, they still exist, and it can make sense traveling with them, especially in the following cases:
- Coming from a country where everyone needs visa to travel (or work) basically anywhere in Europe and Americas, you can’t just arrange something online and buy a flight ticket.
- You do not speak any foreign language, or you speak English just on a basic level.
- This is your very first trip abroad, you feel anxious, and you prefer someone else to organize the work for you (and to provide some security).
Good agency won’t cost you a fortune
If that’s your situation, browse recruitment agencies in your country (google it in your local language), and check their offers. Established recruitment agencies have a good system in place, will take care of all the administrative hassle, and will make it much easier for you to arrange your first summer job abroad.
However, I suggest you to look for agencies that do not charge high fees, or agencies that will take part of your earnings only when you successfully return home.
Cases when young and naive people pay high fees to recruitment agencies, just to earn peanuts in their destination, or, even worse, to find a non-existing job, are common each year.
Do your diligence, check the references of an agency, and be sure to be allowed to have a contact with the employer (or at least with someone from your country already working there) before you board a plane.
Websites for summer jobs (both paid and unpaid)
If you know the language, have decent communication skills, and prefer to do the search yourself, I suggest you to check the following websites:
- Gumtree.com – Jobs mostly in UK, both short term and long term, connection directly with the employers.
- Go Overseas – Teaching jobs in all parts of the world, you will easily find short term contracts for three months. If you are a native English speaker, you’ll find your opportunity here.
- Workaway.info – Only volunteering opportunities, but all around the world, and some are paid. You connect directly with the employers and can work on all kinds of interesting projects. What’s more, since there is no official payment for work, you enter sort of a grey zone, and you can get a job somewhere even without having working visa.
- Backdoor Jobs – For nature lovers. Many jobs in mountain huts, in the wilderness, or even in the jungle.
- Hostel travel jobs – Self explanatory.
Remember that job search on these websites does not differ much from a typical job search. You still need to submit an excellent job application, and potentially prepare for an interview, which typically consists in a short Skype interview.
Some employers advertising on these websites receive dozens of applications each week. Try to stand out, and prepare for the interview, if you want to stand a chance of succeeding.
Travel first, look for work second
Personal meetings will always beat any online communication. If you have great communication skills, feel confident about your ability to sell your skills, and have already chosen a locality for the best summer of your life, you can simply buy the ticket and start packing.
Once you land, book into a cheap hostel, and start networking with people. You’ll be surprised how many hostels do always look for new staff members. The same applies to restaurants and other players in hospitality business.
Just walk around and ask for work. I can assure you that if you do not aim too high, and if you look decent (and not desperate), and have a bit of charisma, you’ll get an offer within first three days.
Bear the risks in mind
Getting work is one thing, getting paid another. Traveling the world, I experienced many times how employers abused the naivety of young people.
Surely, you can work here, only six hours a day. You’ll enjoy the beach in the afternoon, and you can have breakfast for free. I’ll pay you at the end of your stay.
The end of your stay arrives. You ended up working ten hours a day, including weekends, but the season wasn’t as good as the restaurant/camp/hotel owner expected.
And so he tells you to pack your things and go home. There won’t be any payment. And since you have no contract, or a very shady one, or you even have a good one but are in a foreign country and your school starts in a week and you can’t mess around, you’ll do nothing about it. You pack your things and go home. With empty pockets.
Find the right strategy for arranging your summer job abroad
Each strategy has its advantages, and drawbacks.
Finding the job with a help of an agency will cost you more money, and you will likely earn less at the end. However, you have a certain protection umbrella, and if something goes wrong, there is someone to bear the responsibility, to help you out of trouble–at least when you travel with a renowned agency.
Finding a job using websites like workaway.info, or backdoorjobs.com is often very cheap (or completely free). However, you never know what will happen once you arrive at the place of work.
Maybe the hotel doesn’t look the same as it does on pictures, or once you land on the airport, your employer won’t answer your calls and messages… Even worse, you may end up in some shady place, with some shady guy, who’s primarily intentions aren’t to give you a job. Such things do happen in the world every day.
For this reason, it is crucial to double check everything, to have a Skype call with the employer, to ensure about the authenticity of their references.
The third option–traveling to your dream location, and looking for job at the spot, can sound like the most risky strategy. Surely, you may struggle to find anything, you may run out of money. However, you see the places and people in person–you can easily assess the job conditions, you can talk to existing employees, and basically get a good grasp of the job before signing up for anything. And that’s a huge advantage.
Finding a summer job abroad is no rocket science. You have different options (websites, job boards, recruitment agencies, looking for job at the spot). Think about the advantages and disadvantages of each one, and which option is the most viable for you (in terms of your language skills, confidence, security).
In any case, do not accept any offer without checking the authenticity of it. Many sad stories of modern day slavery start on one of the job boards… Remember that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is [too good to be true]. We wish you good luck with your job search!
May also interest you:
- Get a job on a cruise ship – A wonderful but tough job that allows you to sail the seas and get to know new places (in rare moments when you do not have to wipe the floor or clean the cabins). A step by step guide on how to get hired for this job.
- How to get a job in Europe? If you ask yourself this question, our simple step by step guide will help you to find the answer.