No offense to Willy, but it’s not always about internships when you’re in college. It’s totally ok to take a summer job or (gasp!) a job during the school year. Money matters, and sometimes you just cannot afford to spend the summer making copies for no pay. I know there is a lot of pressure to build up your resume and gain real world experience, but there is nothing wrong with working at a camp, a resort, or a local restaurant to earn some money. Especially during your first or second summer of college.
It’s all about how you approach it. You can learn a lot about yourself and gain valuable skills working as a nanny, camp counselor, or serving ice cream. These jobs might not excite your parents as much a summer internship in finance, but you can learn and practice leadership, responsibility, money management in an hourly job too.
There are plenty of places to look for good paying summer jobs. Our site, myfirstpaycheck.com has tons of job openings, but you can also find job postings in the classified section of the newspaper and on sites like craigslist.org. Going door-to-door always works too. If you are trying to find places to apply, think of places that you like to go. Do you have a favorite hoagie shop? Clothing store? Pay attention to who’s working behind the counter! Are they people your age? Classmates? These places would all probably love to have a responsible college student work for the summer.
I run myfirstpaycheck.com, and since I’m 23, people always ask me about what kind of experience I have that allows me to run my own company. I could talk about plenty of internship experiences, but I generally talk about how I spent my first college summer. I had always mowed lawns and shoveled snow for spending money, and in high school I worked at a plant nursery hauling mulch and selling flowers so while I tried to figure out what I wanted to do with myself, I started a landscaping company. A few neighbors hired me to clean up and beautify their yards, so I put my siblings and a few friends to work.
It was a great summer. I spent most of it outside, working my own hours and able to spend a good chunk of it at the pool goofing off. But I also figured out that I was a born entrepreneur, and I got to spend a productive summer practicing those skills in a way that I wouldn’t have at most internships.
Do you have any interesting summer job experiences? Please share them in the comments. We’d love to hear from you.