3 reasons why a summer job is just as good as an internship

Connect with your customers to expand your network. Source: Reuters/Thomas Peter

As school ends, you are faced with this nagging question: What do I do now?

And for many, that question leads to a dilemma: Should I get a summer job or an internship?

If you are lucky, you have a choice between the two options. But some may be less fortunate – a summer job may be the only option to earn some cash during this period whereas a few others could have missed out on the window to apply for an internship or been declined one.

Don’t fret if you fall into any of these categories or feel you have “settled” for a lesser option.

A summer job is just as good as an internship. Here are three reasons why:

1. It’s the same

An internship is where you get the feel of a company or career path, boost your resume and learn workplace etiquette first-hand. A job is really the same thing. For example, waitressing isn’t just all about serving food – you get to learn about the F&B industry and what being a front-line contact for customers are. Future employers will see your stint as you having experience with responsibilities as well as practice with the coveted real-world “soft skills”.

If your current role does not offer this, try to negotiate with your boss to find out if you can take on a small project at work and completing it with his/her supervision, such as researching how to present the new menu or change item prices. Like any productive internship, if you can execute a non-critical but useful project, you would reap the same gains as your friends who are interning.

2. Colleagues = connections

A big part of internships is the connection you stand to make from the people in the company. These people will then be the gateway for you to connect with more people in the industry. At a job, your colleagues aren’t just people you work with and grab a drink with after work. They, too, are a professional network for your future career – the same goes with the customers you serve.

3. Real world skills

With all jobs come real responsibilities – yes, even for a summer stint. And while your duties can be stressful, they will pay off in the long-term. After all, there’s no better way to learn than through the school of hard knocks. Unlike an intern, you have less room to fail, which means you will pay more attention to learn the essential workplace skills faster.

Getting to work on time and juggling multiple tasks will teach you time management skills. Getting your message across to colleagues and superiors while remaining polite will hone your communication and other interpersonal skills.

Now that you know, go ahead and reap the full potentials of your summer jobs!

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