What can you gain from summer employment?

Youth that seek a diverse work environment for a summer job can gain an edge in the workforce.

As summer approaches for young adults, the job search is on. Michigan State University Extension recommends considering the diversity of the company as you think about employment opportunities. As you gain skills and experience through summer employment, don’t forget that more than likely this is a stepping stone to your future career. You can view this as a time and place to gain knowledge and experiences that will benefit you in years to come, so look for an ideal environment to learn and not just to earn a paycheck.

The environment in today’s workforce is becoming more diverse, and this can be a benefit to you if you see it as an asset. Many of us are encountering a more diverse workforce now and it will continue to be that way in the future. Therefore, youth and adults will need to have skills and experiences working in such an environment. Hopefully you can seek out and collaborate with a diverse workforce early on in your employment career. These skills are often sought after by employers and are also part of 4-H Common Measures.

Highlighted below are some key points you can gain from a diverse work environment and by looking to collaborate with others.

  1. Everyone is important. Each of us has a role in the company. That goes for the supervisor, maintenance staff and marketer. For example, there are sports teams that will give out championship rings to the trainers and other support staff because they understand how all the roles added to the success. In addition, you may encounter age variations at all levels of the company. Older generations may be reporting to younger generations. Older and younger generations may be working alongside each other, but just know that each of us is important and beneficial to the success of the business.
  2. You can contribute. Even if you think you have no experience or don’t think you can offer any benefit to the company, think again. You do have skills and you do have fresh perspective. How you see things and how you approach them is unique. Don’t be afraid to express your ideas or demonstrate your skills to your employer. You were hired for a reason. Yes, you will have much to learn at your first few jobs, but even with the little experience you do have, you can contribute. Even if your contribution is only your hard work and a desire to learn, you are making the company or business run better.
  3. Respect the different strengths of others. Observe what others do well and what they bring to the organization. Seek out the proven leaders and what skills they possess or employers see an asset and try to learn from them. In essence, find out what these successful employees do well at, and try to learn or copy that. This is a great time to gain knowledge and practice new skills. Also note that even if it is not your strength or your style, you can respect and learn from others.
  4. Encourage everyone to give their best. No matter what you do or who you are with, you need to give your best effort. It will truly pay off in the long run. If you are digging ditches, mowing lawns or pounding in rivets, be the best at it you can be. The employer will notice and that can lead to references. The consumer will notice and that could lead to other job opportunities. Your co-workers will notice and that can lead to respect. You will notice and that can lead to self-esteem. All of which puts you in a better position for future employment. You may not like what you are doing now, but do it well and encourage others to do the same. Your attitude can influence everyone around you.

People often remember their first jobs and can reflect back on the learning curve that took place. As you enter the workforce or head out to a summer job, keep your eye open to new opportunities and experiences that will benefit you in the future. Seek a diverse workforce if you can and see the benefits of learning from others who bring diverse perspectives. This will help build a better you and give you that edge for future employment and keep your future as bright as the summer sun.

For more information about job skills and careers, check out the Careers and Entrepreneurship page on the MSU Extension website.

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