After three semesters of sitting in a classroom, buckling down behind another desk for work is often the last way you want to spend the summer. However, as the cost of living and the cost of a college education continue to rise, for many college students there is simply no better option.
Working during the summer semester prepares you financially for the coming academic year. It also preps you for work in the real world, when you graduate. Still not convinced? Here are five ways sucking it up and working in the summer can benefit you in the long run.
1. Builds Experience
Even with a college degree, one of the biggest obstacles to landing your dream job is experience. Some jobs require as much as ten to twenty years of experience in the field to be even worthy of consideration. Even lower positions or smaller companies often require at least some experience to land the job.
The sooner you start working towards that the better, and summer provides the perfect opportunity to get started. In fact, many college graduates land permanent jobs at the companies they worked at during the summers.
2. Looks Good on a Résumé
Let’s be honest. Many of us have worked summer jobs at places belonging to family and friends where we got a nice title but spent the day playing video games and surfing the net. But even if you got no worthwhile experience on the job, it still looks great on your résumé.
Know how to market yourself via the employment history on this document. Turn “fetched coffee” into “assisted the general manager with day-to-day tasks”, and “surfed the web” into “conducted online research”.
3. Great Networking Opportunities
College is a great place for networking – and so is work. Even if you pack bags at Walmart, while working towards your degree in anthropology, you never know who might walk through that door. Attend company events and meetings when you can, and make casual conversation with customers when the chance arises.
Leave a lasting impression, and never miss out on the opportunity to let others know you’re working towards a degree. They might not have use for an anthropologist on aisle 5 when you graduate, but they might know someone who does.
4. Helps with College Applications
Colleges no longer want to be your only source of education, and very few provide any real world experience to prepare you for work. Thus, when it’s time to advance from a bachelor’s to a master’s, or a master’s to a PhD, having experience in the area you wish to go into gives you a certain edge over other applicants.
This is even more important if you go to school in the big cities where competition for placement is stiff, or if you chose to apply to a school which has a very low acceptance rate.
5. Makes Money
Of course, the most obvious reason you would want to work in the summer is to make money! What better reason is there? None really.
Ensure you save up as much as you can to put towards books, tuition, living expenses, or even just emergency funds. If you’re not very good at saving, consider giving a percentage of your money to your parents to keep during the summer, or create a fixed deposit which prevents you from touching the money any time soon.
While making money is the most obvious benefit from working during the summer, it is still only one of many. However, if you don’t save as much as you can all that money will be for naught.
Either way, you can at least benefit from a boost to your resume, getting real world experience, networking with amazing people, and putting yourself in a position to get picked above other candidates for prestigious schools. These far outweigh the benefits of being a bum all summer.
Regardless of how you spend this summer break, we wish you all the best for the semester ahead!
About the Author
Alexis Chateau is the Founder of College Mage and Managing Director at Alexis Chateau PR. She is an activist, writer, and explorer. Follow her stories of trial and triumph at www.alexischateau.com.