Most college students seek employment opportunities during the summer. They do this for two primary reasons:

- To earn money for college
- To gain experience in their field of study

Because college is extremely expensive, finding work during the summer is a priority for students today. If the student attends a community college, the money earned from summer employment may represent a significant portion of their tuition and books. The expense of attending a four year college, either public and private, can be much higher, so summer earnings may only cover a small portion of the total cost. However, paying as much as possible "as you go" is always preferable to coming out of college with a larger debt than necessary.

Other students are more interested in gaining experience in their chosen field of work. They initially limit their summer job search to employers that meet their requirements. If they are successful, their summer job will give them some real world work experience that is directly related to the work they will seek after graduation. In that case, success on the job may lead to full time work in their field after graduation, often with the same employer.

However, students should have four goals for their summer jobs:

1. Learn something new
2. Grow by accepting responsibility
3. Contribute to the goals of the organization
4. Build relationships with the people at work

Learn Something - Students should view their summer job as an opportunity to learn something new. The job may provide the opportunity to operate computers and equipment, write, speak, negotiate, sell, purchase, supervise, work with job-related technology and meet the needs and expectations of a supervisor. They will begin learn about life skills such as: deadlines, quality, money, people, problem-solving and goals.

Accept Responsibility - If a student is willing to accept responsibility and show their supervisor that they are reliable, they become more valuable to that organization. When people know that they can count on an employee to get something done, meet the deadline or prevent a problem, that employee gains respect from others, builds trust and adds value.

Contribute - The best employees have a clear understanding of organizational goals and do their best to see that those goals are met or exceeded. They actively look for ways to make something better, are willing to help other employees, contribute ideas, exhibit creativity in problem-solving situations and work hard to improve productivity, quality and customer service.

Build Relationships - Building good relationships with the people who work within the company should be a goal of every employee. Summer employees who can be trusted, do a good job, help other employees, are good listeners and take the time to get to know needs and wants of other people are laying the groundwork for building solid relationships. People who like and trust one another are more likely to work well as a team and find enjoyment in their work. They may someday help the students who worked in summer positions to find a job after graduation or serve as an enthusiastic reference.

Summer employment should be viewed not only as a job where students can earn some money for college, those same summer jobs give students the opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities and gain the experiences that can impress future employers and graduate schools. If students achieve these four goals, they are likely to lay the groundwork for future employment opportunities.

Visit Bob’s web site: Bob Roth is the author of The 4 Realities Of Success During and After College -and- The College Student’s Guide To Landing A Great Job.

Author's Bio: 

Bob Roth, a former campus recruiter, is the author of The College Student's Guide To Landing A Great Job -and- The 4 Realities Of Success During and After College. Known as The "College & Career Success” Coach, Bob also writes articles for more than 175 College Career Services Offices and Campus Newspapers. Additionally, Bob has developed 20 Self-Scoring Learning Tools™ that help college students find success. He has been interviewed on numerous radio programs across the country and also by many newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal. Lastly, Bob serves as an Adjunct at Marist College, teaching a course in Career Development.