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Summer jobs are a great way to learn new skills, dip your toes into work life, and (best of all!) earn some money of your own. Summer employment also can help you learn valuable skills, gain a sense of your interests and strengths, and perhaps even set you on the path toward your ultimate career. It’s also a lot easier to find a higher-paying job after you have some work experience and some references. A summer job can help with both. Here are some summer job ideas to get you started:

Camp counselor. Is leadership a strength of yours? Becoming a camp counselor may be a great way to develop your talent. You’ll learn communication and conflict resolution skills that can help you throughout your life. Camps throughout the country hire young adults to help manage summer programs. Many have themes, such as music, sports and technology.

Golf caddy. Do you love the outdoors? Being a golf caddy could be an excellent way to spend the summer months outside. Plus, you’ll get a great workout (thanks to lots of walking and lugging of golf clubs). There also are jobs at gyms and at other types of sports outlets.

Food service. Jobs are plentiful in restaurants. If you’re a server, you’ll have the opportunity to earn tips. Restaurants often make it easy to get the training and certifications you need to fill available positions.

Grocery store. Food retailers, like restaurants, are often recruiting workers year-round. So are a wide variety of other retailers.

Lifeguard. If you’re a great swimmer, you’ll have plenty of sun and plenty of responsibility. Life guarding is a great jumping-off point if you’re interested in entering the medical field.

Nanny. Do you like kids? Are you patient? Being a nanny or babysitter might be the perfect summer gig for you.

Don’t wait until the last minute to start looking for a summer job! Start looking in mid- to late- spring and let prospective employers know when you’re available to start work and what hours you’re available to work during the summer.