While everyone else is going on vacation for the summer holidays, you’ve decided to take on a summer job. Maybe it’s to keep you busy during the college or university holidays, or maybe it’s a second job to help you earn some extra income. Either way, you want to make sure that you gain as much as possible from the experience.
Whether you’re going to be a waiter at your local coffee shop, or an intern at a prestigious company, these tips will help you make the most of your summer job:
Identify specific skills that you want to learn
No matter what type of work you’re going to be doing, you’re sure to have the opportunity to learn some transferable skills. Going to be working as a waiter? Then you could focus on learning customer service, communication, and problem-solving skills. Going to be working as an au pair? Then you might want to focus on communication, problem-solving, and negotiation skills.
If your dream career is that of HR Manager, for example, then these skills will all be highly valuable to you, even though you didn’t develop them in an HR environment.
Identify the skills you need to learn for your future career, and then figure out how your summer job can help you learn them.
You never know where your next big opportunity might come from. The person who’s working as your fellow waiter today might become the owner of a big company in the future, and you might want to apply for a position at that company. If this happens, it will give you a huge advantage if you take the time now to build a good professional relationship with this person. On the other hand, however, if you treat your colleagues badly, and one of them turns out to be the decision-maker when you apply for a business loan to finance your own company in the future, you’ll be unlikely to get their support.
Make an effort to start building your professional network early. And don’t underestimate the importance of being friendly to everybody – even those who are not in senior positions right now. You never know when your paths might cross again, or what your situation will be like when that happens.
Observe and take notes
Your summer job gives you the perfect opportunity to learn how the business world works. Pay attention to how people interact with each other, how decisions are made, and how procedures are implemented. At the end of each day, write down at least one new thing that you have noticed or learned. There are many unwritten rules in the world of work – rules that you will only be able to learn through experience. And while you might not be working in your preferred field right now, you will find that many of these unwritten rules apply in almost any working environment.
Don’t see a summer job as just a way to make some money to help you fund your studies (or to make some extra cash). Use the time strategically, and it could set you up for a successful career once you’ve completed your studies.
Looking for more ways to make the most of your summer?
Consider learning new skills with an online course.