6 tips to help you get the most out of your summer job

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Take full advantage of your summer gig before school starts.

You work hard during the school year, and you keep up the hard work during the summer, too. Summer jobs can bring you several opportunities and benefits in just a few short months — many more than you’d get if you spent your vacation scrolling on your phone.

Tip #1: Pad your savings account

Summer serves up many enticing ways to spend your money, but saving is smart, too. Securing a safety net for future expenses can make checking your account balance a more positive experience.

Set a savings target based on your goals, and consistently save a percentage of each paycheck — at least 5% to 10% is recommended. Not only can you see your savings grow, but you can also feel confident knowing that, in time, those savings can help you achieve things that make you happy. And, if you’re living at home over the summer, you may be able to save the money you would have spent on rent because your family has housing expenses covered.

Tip #2: Make connections with your coworkers

Generating a good rapport with your boss should be a top priority, but don’t neglect to connect with your coworkers, too. Networking — which is basically a fancy way of saying making contacts in the professional world — can lead to many opportunities down the road. You can network at any job, whether you’re scooping ice cream or working a remote internship at an accounting firm.

Set some goals to meet up with your boss and coworkers, whether it’s a one-on-one video call or a socially distanced coffee. Having good professional relationships can be crucial for your college and professional career: You never know which reference can be helpful when applying to college, grad school, scholarships, internships, and future jobs after college graduation. Plus, it’s a good way to potentially lock in a summer job for years to come.

Be proactive about networking, and at the end of your summer job, ask for everyone’s contact information — if you don’t have it already — to stay in touch. Don’t just ignore your professional social media accounts when you get back to classes; check back in from time to time to see what your connections are up to, congratulate them on their accomplishments, or share a news article you think they might find useful.

Tip #3: Get involved in professional organizations

Speaking of networking … consider joining a professional organization. If your summer job or internship is at a larger company, you may be able to join employee networking groups aligned with your identity. For example, at Wells Fargo, Employee Resource Networks promote education, growth, and outreach for thousands of employees coming from diverse backgrounds.

If you’re working at a smaller company, look for organizations that support the industries or professions you’re interested in. Many offer student chapters, financial assistance to cover dues for collegians, or special discounts on dues for students. Other groups may be completely free to join. The benefits? Not only can a professional group help you feel more connected to those in your industry, but it can also open doors and strengthen relationships that can help make you successful in college and beyond. Many offer free webinars or other resources that can help you build your job-hunting and workplace skills, or postings of jobs and internships you may want to land in the future.

Tip #4: Learn about your paycheck options

Payday can be exciting! Here’s what you need to know about saving and spending your first paycheck.

Learning these actions early in your career can help give you a solid foundation for jobs post-college.

Tip #5: Make decisions about your career path

Use your part-time summer job to help choose what you might be interested in. For example, working at a summer camp might teach you whether you enjoy interacting with children — and help you decide if you want to pursue an education major. You might find satisfaction helping guests in your job at a hotel front desk, and that might steer you toward hospitality and restaurant management coursework. Or your job at a gym may verify that you want to continue in the fitness field as a physical therapist. What you love and what you don’t love at your part-time job can be extremely telling, so make sure to take stock come summer’s end.

Tip #6: Sharpen your people skills

Whether you’re working retail, running a cash register, or serving lattes, a part-time job can help teach you important all-purpose skills such as teamwork and collaboration, which are essential in most jobs and industries. Building your people skills includes learning about ways to successfully interact with customers, managers, and fellow employees — lessons that will also apply when it’s time to embark on a career after college.

Want to read more about applying to jobs and networking?

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