Finding yourself in a summer job

Preparations for summer activities are well under way for families across Shelby County as the school year winds down this month. Summer trips to the beach or to visit distant relatives, church and athletic camps and plans for summer jobs are all finding their rightful place on family calendars.

Here are a few suggestions for you as you search for that summer job or internship.

Find a job doing something that interests you. Doing so will make for a more meaningful work experience and will make those long, hot summer days seem a little shorter.

Work for someone you respect. Following this advice will pay dividends for your entire life, as you will learn life skills of great importance “in the real world.”

Be willing to work for free if it means you get valuable experience in your field of study with an organization you know will invest time in your training. This is even more important in the current economy.

Don’t be afraid to ask for more work. Employers and their businesses may be stretched thin by the challenging economy and your contribution will earn you a glowing and valuable reference down the road.

Work to make yourself invaluable to the organization by getting your assignments done correctly and on time every time. Don’t wait for someone to ask you to do something. People who work like this get noticed and many times earn full-time jobs after graduation.

Learn something about those with whom you work and how they go about doing their jobs.

Try to find a summer job in the field you think you would like to enter after graduation. That summer work may teach you how much — or how little — you enjoy the job.

And finally, the most difficult suggestion: Don’t focus on the paycheck. Sure, the money you earn this summer is important, but not nearly as important as the lessons and practical work experience you can gain.