By Malala Penn

As we all know, the end of the semester is quickly approaching, which for many means getting summer work experience.  Summer break is the perfect opportunity for you to gain professional experience through a paid job, community service, volunteer opportunities, an internship and other fun summer activities.

At the Vantage Point we brainstormed five skills to develop and then leverage in the future.  Because, it’s all about learning and leveraging!

Technical Skills. Take the opportunity to improve your IT skills.  If your summer work experience requires you to learn new software or a computer language you should dive-in and make the most of the experience.  Computer skills gained in summer jobs can secure you a full-time position later on. As workplaces go paperless, more employees than ever need to be technically proficient. A wide variety of employers look for resumes listing experience with the more basic Microsoft and Adobe suites.

Interpersonal/Listening Skills. Having good interpersonal skills means that you are good at maximizing effective and productive human interaction. Having the ability to relate to others and their position or overall viewpoint is crucial in any field of work.  A key to having great interpersonal skills is being a great listener.. Being an active listener allows your team at work to achieve better results.

Research and Information-Gathering Skills.  Every company and organization requires people who know how to collect and organize important information, so embrace your inner research assistant and help the place you’re working to gather vital information.  Whether it’s looking for potential new clients or researching an upcoming article, you can add a lot of value by doing research. Clerical work and data analysis are useful ways to put these skills into practice.

Teamwork Skills. Being the leader of a team is impressive, but your ability to work well within a group can be just as valuable. An experienced team player not only helps projects move faster, but also creates a more pleasant work environment for everyone.  Compromise and cooperation can be tricky skills to master, so take every opportunity to practice.

Networking. The relationships you make during your summer jobs are invaluable. No matter the job, networking will bring you a long way into your career and future. Having someone vouch for you when it comes time for a letter of recommendation or a better job next summer, are just two of the benefits of extending your network. But don’t just connect with your colleagues, customers/clients and the people you serve can become members of your tribe as well.  Remember, there are connections everywhere!

Developing these  skills will not only benefit your summer experience, but it will also enhance your personal growth.   Before you know it, summer will be here and in a blink of an eye, it will be fall again. So, get yourself ready, increase your skill set, and gain an experience of a lifetime.

What other skills can you develop this summer?  What skills have you learned in the past on the job?  Leave your comments below-we’d love to hear from you!

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