What’s your summer job this year? Mowing lawns. Serving ice cream. Working at the mall. Organizing camp activities for kids. Loading shipments at a warehouse. Babysitting. The duties and job opportunities vary, but all share one thing in common: Great work experience.
“It wasn’t a real job, just something I did over the summer to make money.” Not so fast. In addition to the paycheck you’re earning, a summer job is great for building skills and gaining experience. So yes, it is a real job. And here’s a list of the eight items you’ll gain from it.
Skills. Future full-time job employers will hire you based on your skills set. You’re building these skills every day in your part-time summer job. The ability to work well and communicate with others, solving problems, managing multiple tasks at once. Employers value soft skills that are developed in any work environment.
A resume builder. Part-time and summer jobs are often the first jobs listed within the Employment section of your resume. Employers are more likely to contact applicants who have previous work experience.
References. References are people who can talk to future employers about your ability to perform your job duties. They are required for almost any job application. Past supervisors and coworkers that valued your contributions make great references.
Connections. When it comes to job searching, the phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is partially true. Developing a strong skills set is important, but you learn about many opportunities through word-of-mouth. Talk to your summer job coworkers and managers about your career plans. You never know who might know someone in the profession you’re targeting.
The ability to work with others. In every job you’re going to have to work with people who are different than you. Different personalities bring opportunities and challenges to each work setting. Your summer job may be your first experience with this fact.
A peak at money management. With your first paycheck, you’re going to learn about taxes, social security and W-2 forms. You’re also going to see how far your take-home pay stretches in between paychecks. Now is a good time to attempt a budget.
Multi-tasking. Your job duties will likely require juggling many tasks at once. Additionally, you may be managing your work schedule with other commitments, which is a good lesson in time management.
Learning what you like and don’t like. A summer job is a great time to find out what you like and dislike when it comes to job duties and work environment. Is it appealing if your job keeps you outside most of the day or would you prefer an office setting? Do you like that your work has routine tasks or would you choose a job with more variety? Observations like these are important factors when considering future career choices.
Don’t dismiss the importance of your summer employment. The foundation for your career development starts somewhere. Why not this summer?