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10 Socially Distant Summer Jobs You’ll Actually Want to Do

College • August 9, 2020 • Chris Morrison


What you’ll learn

  • Discover different potential summer jobs that are available


Whether you’re currently enrolled in high school or college, COVID-19 has left many students without internships or summer job options this year. Summer jobs that were once the norm—lifeguarding, working retail, and waiting tables—are hard to come by during the pandemic. In fact, the April 2020 unemployment rate for teens aged 16 to 19 hit 32%—the highest since 1948.

Despite the circumstances, you can still use the summer months to earn some extra money and add work experience to your resume. There are many part-time, paid jobs you can do while staying safe and maintaining social distance.

Here are ten of my favorites:

  1. Virtual Tutoring

    In today’s world, you can easily turn your good grades into a business. Online tutoring is entirely remote and easy to set up with platforms like tutors.com. If there’s a subject you excel at, chances are you could help someone else excel, too—and get paid!

  2. Groom or Walk Dogs

    If you love dogs, there are opportunities for you to make money grooming or pet sitting. Many pet owners are desperate to have their dogs groomed after months in isolation. You can also find opportunities to take care of dogs as states open up and families hit the road on vacation. With services like Rover, Care.com, or Wag, you could get paid to play with and take care of someone’s furry best friend. These apps are always open for those who want to be caring and attentive walkers, sitters, and groomers.

  3. Give Your Opinion on the Internet

    In some cases, all you need is internet access to make extra cash. Some companies—like Qmee—will pay you to watch advertisements and provide your thoughts and feedback. Others will pay you to participate in surveys. Companies are always trying to understand what’s new, cool, and trending among young adults, so this is the perfect opportunity to share your opinions and get paid to do it.

  4. Start Your Own Microbusiness

    If you’re entrepreneurial and looking to be self-employed, start your own microbusiness. For example, if you like using your art skills to make custom products, turn to Etsy to create your own online shop. Or, if you are looking to create something new rather than repeating a project, consider creating logos and other materials on Fiverr.

  5. Help with COVID-19 Response Efforts

    A big part of our country’s efforts to fight COVID-19 have focused on states expanding their contact tracing operations. Consider becoming a contact tracer to track down those who may have come into contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. You could help reach out and encourage those who came in contact with someone infected to self-isolate for a few weeks to see if symptoms develop. The size and scope of the contact tracing operation depends entirely on the state, but depending on where you live, you could spend your summer helping others while you save up for college.

  6. Deliver Food

    Delivering pizza isn't new; people have just moved on to working for companies like Doordash, Instacart, and Uber Eats. In the midst of the pandemic, when most service industry jobs are in short supply, driving or delivering for one of these companies can be a great way to earn some extra cash this summer. You have to provide your own vehicle, be 18 or older, and follow the platform’s COVID-19 safety requirements, but it’s a good option for short-term employment on your own time.

  7. Clean Out Your Closet

    In the course of your spring or summer cleaning and annual wardrobe refresh, you might find a few items that you don’t wear anymore. But that doesn’t mean you have to donate or trash them—you could sell them online and make some extra money. Online thrift stores, like Depop or Poshmark, allow you to take yesterday’s clothes and turn them into tomorrow’s $$$.

  8. Write and Edit

    Chances are, you’ve done a ton of writing in your school courses over the last few years. That writing ability you’ve developed, believe it or not, is a sellable skill. Every written product, from articles to short books, needs a final set of eyes and someone to catch and correct mistakes. Freelance editing a short book can net you hundreds of dollars, even as someone with little-to-no experience. It’s a niche role, but there are some great online guides on how to get started.

  9. Data Entry

    In 2020, data is everything. Thankfully for high schoolers looking to make some extra money, businesses of all shapes and sizes need someone to input, transcribe, and manage data. There are countless freelance data entry roles on Fiverr and Clickworker. As an added bonus, you’ll get to learn about the back end of data management—a skill that could net you a full-time job later in life.

  10. Caption Videos

    If you’re addicted to Netflix, or someone who is passionate about TV, movies, or videos online, we found the perfect job for you. You can make money by watching videos and transcribing everything that’s said and every sound that’s made into closed captions for people with disabilities. Have you ever wondered who writes the “dramatic music playing” captions during the rose ceremony on The Bachelor? Now you know! Sites like Rev will hire freelancers for an average of $240 bucks a month, but if you’ve got tons of free time, you could make even more.

No one could have predicted what the summer of 2020 would be like, but we’re lucky to live in a time when many jobs can be done from home or without interacting too closely with others. Hopefully, these ideas can kickstart your summer job search and set you up for success.


Chris graduated from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, where he received a bachelor’s degree in business marketing. An analyst for Sallie Mae, Chris is interested in all things college, personal finance, and the Washington Nationals.


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