If you’re one of those people who plans a year in advance, writes reminders months ahead on their calendar and starts lining up their summer jobs in January, then you likely don’t need to read this. You’ve landed a plum gig for the summer of 2014 already.

You probably also started on your term papers during the first week of classes too. I was never one of those people. I was more of a pray for last-minute inspiration and then pull a caffeine-fueled all-nighter the night before the deadline. That worked out for me. I got decent grades. But I always ended up working the worst summer jobs every year throughout high school, Cegep, and university. Because by the time I got around to looking for my summer job, all of the good ones were already taken.

Summer jobs are your chance to gain some experience, earn some money and meet new people over the summer. They can be a stepping stone to a career or just a break from the books. Either way, it’s better to have a few options to choose from rather than to simply have to do whatever mindless backbreaking work is available to you. Like for example spending all day pulling bowling ball sized rocks out of a vast farmer’s field. (Yes, I’ve done this. The freezing/thawing earth forces them up from the depths, and they can damage the plow.)

Big companies, federal and provincial government programs, outdoor attractions and municipalities all start accepting applications early in the year, and they often have deadlines for submission that fall weeks before spring arrives. (And therefore months before some of us have given a thought to summer.)

So for those young people who are more like I was (and not like the enviably-organized types) this is your official wake-up call for 2014: Start looking for your summer job now.

A quick search on Workopolis for summer jobs shows that there are hundreds of summer job options posted already, more opportunities than you’re likely to find if your start looking when school lets out in May.

The federal government’s Working in Canada website is currently already listing many, many summer jobs that will start in April, but with looming application deadlines. View the full list of summer job options.

Parks Canada (and who wouldn’t want to spend the summer working in a national park?) has a student employment program. You can read the details and apply here.

Ontario’s Ministry of the Natural Resources has several hiring periods, in February, March and April. This is for jobs in provincial parks, offices and laboratories. Find out more about other summer opportunities with the province of Ontario.

How to apply for a range of summer jobs in Saskatchewan.

Want to work in Parliament for the summer. The deadline has already passed. They’ve actually already posted the guidelines to apply for a summer job on Parliament Hill for the summer of 2015. (Deadline January 2015.) Similarly, Canada’s Wonderland is now recruiting.

How about feeling the sun on your back and your hands in the dirt this summer with a job planting trees?

Please share your summer job tips and stories with us!


Peter Harris
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