30 August 2023
How to Make the Most of Your Summer Job
The sun’s out! Well, sorta kinda. But with the summer break, comes a summer job.
If you’ve managed to land some work experience for the summer, good for you. It’s a fantastic opportunity to sharpen your skills, gain an insight into the working world. Looks damn good on your CV too.
It’s also handy when it comes to looking for an internship or placement.
We want to make sure you get everything you need out of your experience, so here are a few tips and tricks to help you make the most out of your summer job.
- Make a good first impression
- Establish professional connections with your colleagues
- Do everything and develop new skills
- Set goals and actions for yourself
- Ask for feedback
1. Make a good first impression
Before you think about anything else, you want to make sure to come out the gate swinging.
First impressions are lasting. No one’s asking you to walk in with fanfare and presents to give everyone. Making a good first impression is all about being your authentic self, asking questions, being friendly with everyone and having a “can do” attitude.
This can go a long way. If your summer job regularly looks for interns or placement students, you could be fast-tracked to a position if you work hard enough.
Not secured a summer job yet? That’s okay. There are still loads of insight programmes with some of our Best Student Employers in the UK. Click below to find out all about them.
2. Establish professional connections with your colleagues
Network. Network. Network!
Your summer job is the perfect opportunity to get to know your colleagues. If you’re working in a role that’s directly related to the industry you want to get into, this is invaluable. Why?
- They are industry experts with knowledge rivalling Tony Stark
- These are the people who will vouch for you when it comes to finding a placement or internship by being a reference.
Remember that your colleagues are still people, so looking at them as just a leg up in the career world is wild. It’s also really nice to have people to talk to at work. People are a lot more willing to help out those who are genuine and aren’t just looking for the next big thing.
3. Do everything and develop new skills
The best way to learn is by throwing yourself into projects and doing everything you can. Summer jobs are temporary, so it’s up to you to make sure that you experience everything.
Naturally, you’ll develop and pick up loads of soft skills, which can be used in every career.
- Time management
- Computer skills
- Attention to detail.
Is there a particular task you don’t do that you’d like to try? Ask to get involved. Ask for more training where possible. It’s your opportunity to develop a truckload of industry-relevant hard skills, especially if your summer job directly relates to your dream career.
You’ve probably heard 1001 tales about soft and hard skills, but what are they? Find out how to use and develop these below.
“Through getting firsthand experience in doing legal work, I learned how to draft documents according to term sheets, gained an understanding of technical concepts such as securitisation and legal research. On top of work-related skills, I also developed soft skills such as teamwork and networking.”Vacation Scheme Participant, Latham & Watkins
4. Set goals and actions for yourself
This is probably one of the most important. Whether you’ve already started your job, or are yet to, think about what you want from your summer job.
- Are you looking to develop and pick up new skills?
- Do you want to get involved in a certain aspect of the role?
- Do you just want to work hard, secure the bag and save your earnings?
Whatever your goals are, write them down and look to achieve them. If your job offers one-to-ones with your manager, discuss these goals with them – they’d love to see you take initiative and admire your drive.
Are you looking into a placement or internship? Learn more about how you can make the most of your work experience.
5. Ask for feedback
Feedback is hands down the best way to improve.
Asking for feedback shows that you care about the job you’re doing and self-improvement. Employers really like that. It’s also a great way to keep track of any of your goals and reevaluate any strengths and weaknesses.
Although you’ll likely be discussing feedback with your manager, there’s nothing wrong with asking the colleagues you work the closest to for feedback.
Sometimes you’ll be offered feedback, during tasks or projects – accept it and take it on board. You’ll notice improvements very quickly.
Take the time to enjoy your summer
Ever heard of the saying “work hard, play hard”? Well, it’s true.
Work-life balance is something that a lot of your peers care about. In fact, 26% of you admire the ability to balance work and life priorities according to a study by Deloitte.
While getting work experience is important, so is enjoying your summer break. So make sure to make time for your family and friends, take holiday (you’ll 100% have holiday entitlement at work, even if you’re working for a short period) and do all the things that make you happy.
Even if you haven’t managed to secure yourself a summer job, why not join an insight day? They’re short work experience programmes that typically last between 1-10 days where you’ll find out what it’s like to work for a particular company.
All-in-all, a summer job is the way to go and we wish you luck!
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Written by Melchi
Melchi is a stan of the written word and joined the RateMyPlacement team as a Content Executive in 2021. Melchi started his career writing culture content for WeAreCollision magazine before completing an MA in International Journalism at City University and interning at Insider Inc. He now uses his head-thesaurus to write inspiring content to help young people make great career choices. These include everything from blogs about how to survive your placement year to industry guides outlining the latest placement and internship opportunities. Outside of writing, Melchi loves all things music and is currently learning how to DJ.