Choose a Summer Job That Helps You on Your Career Path

Making money and having fun are the top two reasons students give for taking a short-term, temporary or part-time job over the summer. But that job could be doing so much more for you!

Note that both those reasons given above are about instant gratification — benefits in the present. The right summer job can also deliver benefits in the future — experience that employers will love seeing on your resume when you’re ready for a full-time job after graduation.

Here are some important employment skills you can learn on your summer job, if you choose wisely.

Industry-Specific Skills

If you’re already working toward a degree in your chosen field, your first choice may be an internship arranged through your school’s guidance program. Interning at a company is a great way to get the inside track for later employment there.


This skill is necessary for nearly every career or workplace you can imagine. Your future success will depend on being able to work well with groups of people toward a common goal. Keywords for your resume would include significant contributions to team activities, collaborating with diverse people and personalities, negotiation skills, and being dependable.

Customer Service

Dealing well with your employer’s clients is important not just for CS types of roles, such as sales rep, but for anyone who aspires to management level in their career. Customer-facing skills include communication, problem solving, ability to stay cool under pressure, and a professional appearance and manners.

Task Management

If your future career will involve a fast pace with multiple ongoing projects, several people giving you assignments, and critical deadlines, look for a summer job that puts you in a similar situation. You’ll develop the essential skills of prioritizing tasks and organizing your day for maximum efficiency and productivity.


This doesn’t only mean telling other people what to do — a rarity in your typical summer job. Other key leadership skills that you can acquire (and add to your resume) include motivating the team, coming up with creative solutions, resolving conflicts, giving/receiving feedback in a positive way, and taking responsibility for/learning from both successes and failures.

As you start hunting for your summer job, keep these skills in mind. Targeting your growth in one or more of them will bring you great rewards not just in this one job, but in the better jobs you’ll be able to land in the future.