Four goals for summer employment

Most college students seek employment opportunities during the summer. They do this for two primary reasons: to earn money for college and to gain experience in their field of study.

Because college is extremely expensive, finding work during the summer is a priority for most 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 or private, can be much higher, so summer earnings may only cover a small portion of the total cost. However, paying as much as possible at each step of the way would always be preferable to coming out of college with a large debt.

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.

Whatever a student's pursuit may be, there are four goals worth keeping in mind when seeking a summer job.

1. Learn something new

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.

Students can learn essential life skills such as deadlines, quality, money, people, problem-solving and achieving goals.

2. 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 deadline or prevent a problem, that employee gains respect from others, builds trust and adds value.

3. 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, and they are willing to help other employees, contribute ideas, exhibit creativity and work hard to improve productivity, quality and customer service.

4. 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. And they may be a great resource to provide jobs, references or recommendations in the future.

Summer employment should not only be viewed as an opportunity to earn some money for college, but as an opportunity to gain experiences that can impress graduate schools and employers in the future. Achieving these four goals can open up a future rich with employment opportunities.

(Bob Roth is the author of The Four Realities Of Success During and After College.)