On the last day of school, you can hear a collective cheer from students across the country. Two months of no homework, tests, or projects has finally arrived. For the high school student, a productive way to spend your time over the summer may be working at a job or internship.

On the job, you are assigned a sequence of tasks to complete in exchange for an agreed upon price. Similar to a job, an internship consists of assigned tasks and projects; however, internships may be paid or unpaid. An unpaid internship is intended to provide an experience that enhances your knowledge and awareness of an occupation. There are plenty of benefits to a summer job or internship, including the ones listed below:

Application Process

Completing a job application can be a little intimidating if you’re doing it for the first time, but don’t let that stop you! Applying for an entry-level summer job can give you a good understanding of how to navigate the application process. This process includes completing the job application, providing references, and interviewing for the job. You are often required to submit a paper application in person or an electronic application online when applying to a job.

A job application incorporates the following sections: your contact information (name, address, phone number, email address), education, work experience, references, and availability. Work experience can include volunteer work, community service, and school club involvement. The reference section requests names, phone numbers, and email addresses of people you know. Professional references are previous work and volunteer supervisors, colleagues, teachers, or professors. Personal references include family members and friends. When applying to a job, it’s better to include professional references when possible, and ask each reference for permission before sharing his or her contact information on a job application. The employer will most likely contact each of your references and ask questions about your character, so choose your references wisely.

After the employer reviews your application, he or she may request an interview. If the interview goes well, most employers will then call your references. If you are hired, the application process is complete, and you will begin the onboarding and training process.

Work Experience

A summer job is an excellent opportunity to gain work experience. Regardless of what industry you work in, you will learn how to follow instructions, manage time effectively, resolve conflicts with colleagues if they arise, and gain social awareness and empathy. Along with work experience, you can cultivate a positive work ethic by arriving to work on time, in the correct attire with a positive attitude, and taking initiative on the job.

Likes and Dislikes

You can learn a lot about yourself from your first job, even if it’s in a field you’re not planning to pursue after college. For example, you might realize you love helping customers and solving their problems, or you would rather avoid them at all costs. You might dislike operating the cash register but really enjoy organizing merchandise on the shelves. Determining what you like and don’t like about a summer job can provide insight into the type of career you might enjoy in the future.

Money management

Of course, one of the best parts of a job and paid internship is the paycheck. Along with that paycheck is an opportunity to manage your own money. You’ll have to open a checking or savings account and determine how and when you want to spend your money. This is a great time to create a personal budget and practice sticking to it.

College applications

A job can also look good on your college application- as long as it doesn’t negatively affect your grades. A job demonstrates your ability to manage time effectively, accept responsibility, collaborate with co-workers, follow specified rules and regulations, develop a strong work ethic, and commit to one employer. These attributes can portray to college admission reps a glimpse of your character and abilities.