Think summer jobs are just about earning some cash? Think again! While making money may be your primary goal, a summer job can actually be a bigger influence on your future than you may realize. Check out the long-term benefits of working during the summer.

Learning Work Ethic: A strong work ethic is vitally important no matter what job you pursue, and having a summer job allows you to develop those values. Work ethic can include being dependable, taking initiative and having a positive attitude. Make a habit of showing up on time, focusing on your daily tasks, being optimistic, and going above and beyond what is required of you. Employers place great emphasis on having a reliable work ethic, so gaining that ethic now will benefit you significantly in your future career.

Building References: Obtaining summer employment is a great opportunity for you to build references for future jobs. For each summer job that you have, be sure to network and develop positive relationships with employers, supervisors and co-workers. Before leaving your summer job, ask your managers or coworkers if they are willing to be a reference. If they agree, get their contact information and keep in touch with them from time to time.

Appreciating Other Jobs More: So granted, the summer position you currently have my not be your dream job. If you are working in a restaurant, you may hate busing tables and cleaning up after people. That office assistant job you thought would be interesting has turned out quite boring. However, by working these summer jobs, you will have the chance to find out what you do and don’t like. Years from now, you will appreciate your chosen career even more if you have worked in multiple summer positions.

Showing Dedication and Longevity to a Company: Instead of disliking your summer position, you may have a summer job that you absolutely love and can see yourself pursuing a career in that field. If this is the case, then the summer position that you have now can help you dedication to the company. By showcasing your strong work ethic and being an exceptional employee summer after summer, you will prove your commitment to the company. In turn, this may help you achieve a full –time position at the company after graduation with opportunity for advancement.

As you can see, there are many long-term benefits to having a summer job; the extra cash to buy all those back-to-school clothes is just a bonus. Have a fun and productive summer!

Written by Marissa McCredie, volunteer