The long break after the summer term is the perfect opportunity for students to earn some extra cash, test out potential career possibilities, and gain some valuable work and life experience. The thought of simply relaxing for a few weeks will obviously be an appealing one to some people, but to really make the most of your summer and to help financially support yourself through the coming terms, a summer job can be an equally appealing option.
To make the most of your summer job you need to plan ahead, there’s no point getting to the last day of term and starting to think where you might like to work, as by this stage most of the desirable jobs will have long since been taken. You should really start thinking about the summer right at the start of the year, particularly if you are looking for an internship role or to gain some unpaid but essential work experience in a particularly competitive industry such as media or law. If this is the case you should do your research early and find out exactly which companies are willing to take on interns, this research could be done via the internet, using local libraries, or talking to other students or individuals within the sector you are interested in working within.
Some companies may have a formal application process, in which case you should make sure that your CV is as strong as it can possibly be. Other organisations may not have a formal application process in place, in which case you should still write a formal application letter and then perhaps follow it up with a telephone call, to demonstrate your keenness. Be sure to apply to companies that will allow you to achieve your goals; these may be earning a great deal of money in a short space of time, gaining industry contacts that will help you progress your career, or simply opening your eyes to a new career.
Once you’ve found the right company and secured the right summer role you should approach the job as if it were a permanent position. Just because you will be leaving the post in September doesn’t give you an excuse to underperform or to not apply yourself one hundred percent. Many students find that if they work well within a summer job they are often asked back either on a temporary basis throughout other holiday periods or indeed in a permanent capacity at the end of their studies. As such, you should always treat the job with respect and as if it were a permanent position, you never know where it could take you.
Finally, if your summer job is an opportunity for you to gain experience of a particular industry sector, then don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask how other departments function, find out the best ways into the business, and find out what the company looks for in permanent staff. Hearing and seeing the answers first hand will be extremely valuable to you and will arm you with knowledge that your potential competitors in the job market may not have.