This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Why You Should Care About Your Summer Job

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Although a summer job is often seen as "just a paycheck," it could turn into a real career or come with a pay raise if you take the position seriously. Experts say the skills you're learning and the people you're meeting could be your ticket to something great. Check out the top five reasons you should take your summer job seriously.

1. You're going to need your boss as a reference.

Treating your summer job as simply a vehicle to make money sends a signal to your boss that you can't see the bigger picture and don't value the experience you're gaining.

"Current managers can serve as references for your next position, says Tom Gimbel, president and CEO of LaSalle Network, a Chicago staffing firm.  

"Job-seekers not only have to perform their best while on the job, they also have to leave on good terms to list managers as references for their next positions. It's a small world and you never know who someone may know," he says.

Even if you aren't interested in working long term in your summer job, your bosses are likely well connected in the community or in their industry.

"Your name can be brought up in a casual conversation, so it's important to always put your best foot forward," Gimbel says.

2. You'll gain experience that will translate to any career.

Summer jobs help you develop professionally by teaching you about a new industry and allowing you to learn things that will be useful in a future position, such as dealing with different types of people or handling an upset customer, Gimbel says.

"At the end of the day, even if the job has nothing to do with the job-seeker's career track, these opportunities provide chances to network and become better equipped to land the job they really want," he says.

Paul Millard, co-founder and managing partner of executive search firm The Millard Group says some of his company's best hires have been those with experience working as a server in a restaurant or in construction.

"It's obvious that these people were not afraid of hard work and that they were go-getters who did what it took to make the money," he says. "Little things like showing up early, staying late or learning on the fly are huge whether you worked in an office setting or McDonald's."

3. At the very least, you're eliminating future career options.

Even if you hate your summer job, it's a good lesson in what you don't want to do for the rest of your life. For example, if you always thought you'd like working with animals, a summer job at a veterinarian's office might let you know otherwise.

"Temporary or seasonal employment can act as a test drive to see if the job is the right fit, Gimbel says. "If someone doesn't like the position, they can end the assignment and search for other opportunities."

But every temporary role should be treated as if it's a permanent position, he says.

"Temporary positions are 'working interviews,' in the sense that while on the job, employees need to go above and beyond to prove their worth and that they are indispensable to the company."

4. You're gaining another role for your resume.

In today's ultra-competitive job market, a summer job is less about filling time or your wallet during the summer and more about filling in the experience portion of your resume, says Joe Weinlick, vice president of marketing at

"Summer jobs can lead to invaluable training for future careers. It's hard sometimes to see the bigger picture, but each new experience is a new opportunity," Weinlick says.  

During interviews for future positions, employers will want to talk about real-life work experiences more than educational experiences, says Paul Millard, co-founder and managing partner of executive search firm The Millard Group.

"Employers are looking for what makes a person unique, and a summer job can be that thing," he says. "It is crucial that the person extracts all of the valuable lessons from the position they held and that they can discuss this with a would-be employer."

5. You never know who you'll meet.

A lot of CEOs started out delivering pizza. Be aware that your colleagues may one day offer valuable contacts or job opportunities.

"You should always aim to make a positive impression in the workplace, even in a summer job, because you never know who might become a valuable long-term contact," says Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam.

Never burn bridges during a summer stint. If your assignment ends, thank the manager and keep in touch.

"This person could be a reference for you later," Hosking says. "Be positive with everyone you meet and adopt a service mindset."

Use your summer job as an opportunity to collaborate with a diverse set of individuals, he says. This is critical for broadening your experience and building a network of professional contacts -- and can be quite beneficial during a search for full-time employment.

Don't hesitate to develop relationships with your customers, either, says Thomas Claxton, CareerTagged advisory board member.

"Networking opportunities are abundant and you never know who you are going to meet," he says. "Look at every interaction with your customers as an impromptu job interview. You never know who you are interacting with, and they could be your next boss."

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,086.63 -26.91 -0.16%
S&P 500 1,987.01 +3.48 0.18%
NASDAQ 4,473.6970 +17.6810 0.40%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs