These days when I counsel students I notice that an ever greater number of young people are shedding the “lightness of being” of vacations and opting to utilize the summer productively. A summer well spent on doing a course or a job will not only give you an opportunity to meet other young people with similar interests but also give you an opportunity to learn without the pressure of exams. So let’s have a deeper look at what you will gain by having a productive summer.
Build your résumé
Ships in harbour are safe but that is not what ships are meant for. I know the simplest thing is go to college, have fun, attend classes, appear for the exams and, hey, end up with a good degree. But don’t forget one of the most frequently-asked questions by interview panelists is: “What is your experience?” Getting work experience while you are studying is as important as getting a good degree. Working hard does cut into your social time and sometimes study time but the insights you gain during the jobs are invaluable as well. The insights you gain can give you a roadmap to eventually being a good employee. Every employer’s dream is a young person with experience. It seems a little oxymoronish because if you are straight out of college then having work experience can be difficult. However, a summer job can rescue you from this conundrum since it can be added to your résumé to indicate that you have used your vacations wisely and gained some valuable experience. While you are working at your summer job don’t forget to keep a small log of all that you have done there and take the time to reflect about what you have learned from the experience. This practice of logging will stand you in good stead when you have to finally go for the job interview. If you have attempted the summer job well you will be able to give examples of work done well in your first job interview and land that awesome job.
Learn good work habits
In the workplace you are not only required to be technically sound, but also possess the ability to work in a team. A summer job is a great way of learning soft skills and building interpersonal relations which are important in the business world. During a summer job you can practise and demonstrate self-discipline, time management skills, the ability to work hard, etc. To maximize the benefits from the summer job it is important to take your job seriously and be earnest about the tasks allocated to you. Reaching the office on time, meeting deadlines and targets are great way of demonstrating to the employer that you are job ready. In fact, volunteering to do something extra in the work space is another great way of getting noticed and being allocated something more substantial. All employers ideally want candidates with initiative and willingness to work hard. There is always a chance if you do your summer job well then the employer might be tempted to hire you on a long-term basis.
Document your work with reference letters
When you are finally leaving the job don’t forget to request a recommendation letter. The recommendation letter should include the duration of your work in that company, the projects that you have been involved in and mention your tasks accomplished in the office.
Shivani Manchanda, a post-graduate in Counselling from the USA, is a warm and vibrant counsellor. Her expertise lies in counselling students on career development, stress prevention and international education. She is an enthusiastic speaker with over two decades of experience.