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While its tempting to take the summer off from university or college, getting a summer job is the smart move to make. Working a summer job helps you build an attractive resume while growing your professional network.

While it can be competitive looking for a summer job, the benefits will make your search more than worth it. Not convinced it’s worth it? Check out our 9 reasons to apply for a summer job.

1. Gain valuable “relevant work experience”

It’s hard to gain “relevant experience” when you don’t already have experience. Worse, many employers require previous experience for roles they’re hiring for. Summer jobs allow you to gain this valuable relevant experience without disrupting your academic goals.

Having hands-on experience will allow you earn a competitive salary once you graduate. It also shows you are able to balance work and academic commitments at the same time. Your college degree will be more valuable paired with a resume full of experience.

2. Test a career path

It’s not often that you get to trial run a position before you apply for it. A summer job allows you to do just that. It gives you a chance to fully understand what certain roles looks like in different industries. They also allow you to work out what work environment is right for you.

Your summer job is the perfect opportunity to determine what you do and don’t like. Learn what you excel at, and what roles might be right for you. This will help steer your job search once you graduate.

3. Expand your professional network

While you are a student, your network is often small. A summer job is a great way to expand your professional connections for your career post graduation. A LinkedIn survey showed that 70 percent of people were hired at a company where they had a connection.

Networking is an essential part of the job hunt. It’s about getting in front of people, so they get to know you as a person, and learn to trust you. Your network is made up of the people that you meet at work, professional events, and even in training sessions. You take your network with you no matter what career changes you may make. That is what makes it so valuable.

4. Score good references

References are integral to finding a good job. As a student with no professional experience it can be incredibly difficult to provide these references when you are interviewing. Reference give you a competitive edge – a professional in your chosen career is praising your abilities and skills.

Request references from managers that you worked closely, co-workers that trained you, or even a direct report of you were in a supervisor role.  This way you will have a good stock of references to use once you start your job search post graduation. Consider also using the reference section on your professional social media platforms.

5. Land an ongoing part-time job

Depending how demanding your schedule is when you go back to school, your summer job could turn into a permanent part-time role. Employers often use temporary summer jobs as an extended probation period. If they are impressed with the work you do, there is a strong possibility they will ask you to stay on.

Just because you get offered a permanent part-time role, doesn’t mean you should take it. If your schedule won’t allow for it, then decline politely. Let the company know why you cannot accept and remember to ask if you can return during your next vacation period.

6. Develop soft skills that improve your performance

The soft skills you learn in your summer job will help you in your academic life and future career. These skills such as time and project management, communication, multitasking, organisation, and customer service, will all serve you well for the rest of your career.

You will also become aware of your natural skills and have confidence in your learned abilities. While working a summer job, make sure to take any constructive feedback and improve your performance. Your reputation isn’t just built on your skills alone, but also on your ability to adapt and learn.

7. Gain a competitive edge post graduation

Graduating with experience under your belt can put you light years ahead of your graduating class. Employers are always eager to hire candidates that will require less training to get them up and running. Even a junior role has the power to develop skills you won’t learn in a classroom. Leverage every advantage you can get.

8. Get all the perks of a full-time job

There’s no denying the perks that come with a full-time summer job. It allows you the benefits of stable working hours, with a set work duration. In addition, a full-time summer job often comes with vacation pay, statutory holiday pay, and onsite office benefits (like a gym) that full time employees have access to.

9. Work on your side hustle

It’s a competitive job market, even for students in niche programs.  If you aren’t able to get a summer job or internship at a company, consider exploring personal projects or developing your side hustle.

Side projects facilitate learning new techniques and skills that you may otherwise never learn. They encourage creativity and are an incredible source of self-development. Just being involved in a side project can increase your confidence. All of these are important skills that are often not developed in a traditional work environment.

Side projects also benefit your career. Working on a side project will also put you in contact with people you may otherwise never have met, increasing your professional opportunities. By showcasing your side projects in future interviews, you are enhancing all the skills you have developed. It shows dedication and perseverance to potential employers while increasing your chances of being hired.

10. Final thoughts on summer jobs

Getting a summer job can feel like a job itself. Working on your resume, applying for roles, and lining up interviews can all feel like hard work. It can be hard to motivate yourself to even try.

While it’s tempting to avoid a summer job, the pros outweigh the cons. Focus on your interests and goals and find a summer job that closely matches them. Don’t let this time go by without taking full advantage of opportunities available to you. You never know what doors your summer job will open in the future.

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