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Five Skills a Summer Job Adds to Your Professional Future

By Julie Bechtold, Career Development Center Manager at Waubonsee Community College
You are waiting for fall to begin your college career, and may wonder how just any summer job can fulfill your future career goals. Can lifeguarding at the local pool, waiting tables or babysitting lead you on the path to becoming an investment banker, environmental engineer or information security analyst? Securing a summer job can give you experience with five resume-building soft skills for the future!
Skill #1 — Reliability
Employers look for references that affirm applicants are going to show up for work. Simply said, just being reliable is a huge value. Making sure you are showing up to your summer employment regularly and in a timely manner can build your references and character. If there is no lifeguard at a pool, no one can safely swim!
Skill #2 — Communication Skills
In a world filled with all types of communication devices — from texting to e-mail and beyond — demonstrating that you can effectively communicate with others at any summer job is highly sought after. Make sure to learn as much as you can about your employer and how they use communication to better their sales or productivity. Being able to take a detailed food order from a customer and convey that order to the kitchen successfully are the first steps in mastering solid communication skills.
Skill #3 — Team Player
Most likely you will never work alone – even if you own your own business! Getting hands-on experience with different personalities and methods of work is priceless. Take note of how many different people employers hire — especially how employees work together to accomplish the mission of the business or organization. 
Skill #4 — Coachable
Building your résumé would not be complete without developing a relationship with your supervisor. It is imperative that you connect on a professional level and satisfy their goals for you by listening to feedback and implementing it in your work. Being able to take criticism professionally and learn from your mistakes is a valuable life skill.
Skill #5 — Problem Solving
This may be the most important career-readiness skill you can take away from your summer job! You may not realize your role as a problem solver when babysitting, but that's exactly what you are when playing games with a child to keep them from crying or adjusting a lunch meal to get them to make healthier choices. These small situations are very important in building decision-making skills and adapting your brain to find solutions to even larger problems in the future.
Keep busy this summer and make some money with a summer job. You will not regret it when you are applying for a job after college and you have soft skills to fill your résumé. We can help you build a successful future career! 

Find out more about Waubonsee’s Career Development