A lemonade stand is perhaps the quintessential example of a seasonal job. A glass of cool and refreshing lemonade offers an oasis from the scorching summer sun and a hefty allowance in the pockets of the mini-entrepreneur.
Not all seasonal jobs require a make-shift table in the front garden, though, and for some of these jobs, the competition is fierce – but so is the compensation, making it a lucrative market, both for full-time and part-time employment.
Some of the jobs on the list could lead to full-time positions, but most are designed to respond to the busy season in each sector. The seasonality may range from a couple of weeks to a few months and past that, and many specialised seasonal workers may change location to respond to seasonal needs elsewhere in the country or, indeed, the world.
Hiring for seasonal jobs can start from a few weeks to a few months prior depending on the location, position and training needs, and the demographic varies from job to job with positions available for every skillset.
So, whether you’re a college student looking for a part-time job to make some extra pocket money or a specialised professional who moves where the job takes you, seasonal jobs are a great way to earn, travel and learn. Having said that, networking opportunities are abundant, and if you know what you’re looking to pursue in your career, it can be the turning point from a seasonal job to a full-time career.
Here are 12 of the best and most exciting seasonal jobs, and while the pay may vary from location to location, the excitement and potential are a constant throughout.
1. Santa Claus
Season: Mid-November to early January
Average pay: $100–$300 / £75–£225 per hour, depending on location, employer, experience and looks
Yup, it’s that season when jolly bearded men in red flood the streets and shopping centres, amusement parks and special events, ringing their bells and spreading holiday cheer. This is perhaps the most distinct of seasonal jobs, and the requirements are patience and a friendly, cheerful personality. If your appearance matches the role, kudos to you and your pocket, otherwise full costume and fake beard it is!
2. Elf / Santa’s Helper
Season: Mid-November to early January
Average pay: $10–$30 / £7.50–£22.50 per hour, depending on location and experience
Every good Santa worth his weight is usually surrounded by an array of elves and helpers, perhaps aspiring Santas-to-be themselves, but mostly industrious busy-bees that share Santa’s cheer and some operational skills like organisational skills, people management, timekeeping and mediating. These soft skills may sound simple, but they are strong transferable skills to many other positions.
3. Ski / Snowboarding Instructor
Season: 5 to 6 months a year covering parts of autumn, winter and early spring
Average pay: $12–$65 / £9–£50 per hour, depending on location and experience level
Mostly resort-based, ski and snowboarding instructors have become increasingly popular and essential. Instructing anyone from young children to adventurous older people, and at different experience levels, instructors usually have free room and board at the resort they work for – and they enjoy numerous cups of après-slopes hot chocolate. You need to have a minimum of a basic instructor qualification, a lot of energy, patience and a good sense of humour.
4. Retail Associate
Season: November through mid-January mostly
Average pay: $8–$15 / £6–£12 per hour, plus tips and commission-based bonuses in some cases
With the increase of sales traffic during the festive season, the most significant portion of seasonal jobs comes from the retail sector, and positions available may range from sales associates, cashiers, merchandisers and warehouse coordinators to gift wrappers and delivery associates. Some of these positions have the potential to become full-time and year-round employees, while others, like gift-wrappers, remain exclusively seasonal.
5. Landscaper / Gardener
Season: Year-round in some areas, but demand peaks in spring and remains at high levels through autumn
Average pay: $10–$20 / £7.50–£15 per hour, depending on your level of expertise
As the weather gets warmer, the snow starts to melt, and the days get longer, yards and gardens need to be cleared of the winter remnants and prepared for the seasons ahead. While this is essentially a year-round job, the seasonal demand skyrockets in early spring, and so does demand for both skilled and unskilled workers. Whether you work freelance or as part of a crew, one qualification is essential, and that is physical ability and strength, as it is quite a rigorous and demanding job.
6. Pool Service Technician
Season: Mid-spring through to early autumn, depending on location and weather
Average pay: $12–$26 / £9–£20 per hour
With the promise of warmer days, sun and vacation time coming up, pool maintenance goes into high-season come mid-spring when the outdoors become a welcoming venue and weekends move from the fireplace to the patio. You will need some technical knowledge of the equipment and the chemicals used, but it’s nothing that can’t be shown and instructed to you on the spot by an experienced technician.
7. Home Improvement Contractor
Season: Peaks during spring, especially if winter was particularly heavy
Average pay: $9–$15 / £7–£12 per hour or more for a specialised project
Going hand in hand with the previous two jobs, home improvement can be a year-round gig but tends to peak during early spring. It could be because of damage left behind by winter or merely a time for ‘spring cleaning’ and a fresh coat of paint. Home improvement ranges from the smallest of tasks to full-blown renovations, extensions and additions to buildings and yards. You need a bit of technical knowledge for the bigger tasks and projects, but a coat of paint on the fence or fixing the swing set in the yard requires just a bit of common sense and handyman tools.
8. Camp Counsellor
Season: Summer mostly, but some camps run additional mini sessions during other holiday seasons such as Christmas
Average pay: $100–$200 / £75–£150 per week, plus accommodation and meals
One of the most popular and in-demand summer jobs is that of camp counsellors. Usually in their late teens or early 20s, camp counsellors have previous experience working with children and are often talented in a field of interest depending on the type of camp. They may be an expert in a sport, a talented artist or an educator, and may spend anywhere from a few days to an entire summer on the job. Most are students who align their summer break with the camp duration. While quite demanding in the responsibility scale and usually lower in earnings, the perks include free room and board, and some travelling for those lucky few, both nationally and internationally, with all costs incurred being covered.
9. Au Pair
Season: Peaking during summer months when schools are closed, au pair jobs are usually contract-based for a fixed amount of time
Average pay: $100–$200 / £75–£150 per week, plus free room, board and travel
An alternative to a camp counsellor, but still working with children, is to become an au pair. A live-in nanny for a more affluent demographic, an au pair will care for the children and help with house chores in exchange of free room, board, travel and some pocket money. Whether seasonal or permanent posts, au pairs may help teach a new language or skill to the young ones, as well as travel with the family. It’s a great way to travel and experience other cultures while earning some spending money.
Season: Starting around mid-spring through to early autumn
Average pay: $9–$18 / £7–£14 per hour
Another very specific seasonal job is lifeguarding, with positions available in every hotel or public swimming pool, beaches and lakes, as well as amusement parks and resorts. Requiring lifeguard and first aid certification, it is a demanding job in terms of the level of attention and responsibility. That said, it can be quite fun and enjoyable, depending on the location and nature of the job. In some cases, especially at resorts or hotels, room and board may be offered in addition to the remuneration.
11. Resort / Amusement Park Worker
Season: Peaking during the busy tourist seasons, these are mostly summer jobs that can also become available during other popular tourist seasons such as holidays
Average pay: Depends on the position, level of experience and type of establishment
As resorts, amusement parks and festival areas open their gates to an increased number of holidaymakers looking for some R&R, the staffing needs of the establishments increase alongside. Be it service jobs, housekeeping or more specific seasonal posts such as babysitters, tour guides, entertainers and sports pros, it’s a great temporary employment opportunity that could even translate to a year-round position and work experience. Depending on the location and needs of the establishment, additional perks may be room and board or travel. There are jobs for every level of qualifications and experience, and the pay is varied accordingly.
12. Tutor / College Application Counsellor
Season: Autumn is the peak season for both jobs; however, tutoring positions may carry on until the coursework of the subject is complete
Average pay: $20–$40 / £15–£30 per hour
With schools back in session in late summer and early autumn, seasonal jobs in the academic field are widely available during this time. Be it a tutor for the academic year, a homework helper or someone to help with university applications, there’s a seasonal need that peaks in autumn. Qualifications may vary according to the level of tutoring, but an excellent command of the subject is necessary. University or college application counsellors are in demand especially in the autumn semester when admission applications are due.
There are many more seasonal jobs that have a shorter span, like apple picking or pumpkin carving in October, carolling at Christmas or being the Easter Bunny at Easter. Even more so, there are other occasional jobs that don’t depend so much on the season but rather an event, such as elections or a major sports occasion like the Olympics or the World Cup.
Do any of these ideas take your fancy? Can you think of any other exciting or highly-paid seasonal jobs? Share your ideas and experiences with us in the comments section below!