Summer job: make money and contacts

Collect references and sample work along the way

Katja Mayer 26.06.2013
A summer job is the perfect way to improve your financial situation. Ideally, improving your purchasing power during the semester will allow you to concentrate on your studies. It’s even better, though, to use the employment relationship as a chance to launch your career.

It’s not even that difficult to do when you know what you expect from your commitment. Ask yourself what you want to achieve. Like internships, summer jobs offer a good opportunity to get acquainted with possible future fields of activity and employers. So take time to consider what industry or field of work you’d like to get to know and what people you’d like to establish contact with there.

Summer jobs with added value

It is generally true that the more your summer job has to do with your later career, the better it is for your resume – and it offers suitable references and a sample of the work involved. Especially suited for this are jobs in ...

  • Specialized departments: These are the perfect stepping stone to a job later on. Your degree program should be somewhat more advanced for a position in this area, however, so that your assignment also pays off for the company.
  • Staff positions: Some departments – such as controlling and HR –  function as an interface within a company and are therefore highly suitable as a way to gain insight into the entire company. They are ideal points of contact for humanities scholars and social scientists to prepare for the transition to business and to get oriented.
  • Manufacturing: A job on the assembly line or elsewhere in manufacturing is a classic when it comes to student jobs. It can also be interesting with regard to your career – after all, you can also make valuable contacts there and demonstrate your ability to perform future duties. However, this requires that you integrate yourself well into the team and perform good work while developing a network.

You can of course use almost any job for networking in one way or another. If you want to specialize in tourism or hotel management after earning your bachelor’s degree, for instance, a job waiting tables can serve as a way to open doors. Or if you work to help organize a trade show, you will be able to use the contact with exhibitors.

The situation is different, however, when it comes to those popular summer jobs as an event promoter or campaigner: you will (have to) make lots of contacts, but will only rarely be able to make use of them in your career. Still, if you want to go into marketing, these kinds of jobs dealing with people will help you understand various tactics later.

How to find suitable summer jobs

The really good summer jobs are also generally filled early. You should therefore get started looking for them right now. You can find information about available summer jobs at...

Job portals: There are a few job portals that specialize in jobs for students and summer jobs, such as Studentjob andStudentenjob24. However, these primarily advertise temporary jobs. You might have more success with meta search engines like Indeed or Kimeta. Because their links frequently lead to the job portals of the employment agency, you could of course also look there to start with.

Career pages: Less widely known: most companies now also advertise their summer jobs in their own job portals. There you can not only learn about vacant jobs and requirements, but you can also submit a speculative application if you don’t at first find a suitable position.

Job fairs: It’s not actually the purpose for these events, but you can still ask the HR specialists who attend about summer jobs with their company. This gives you a face-to-face opportunity to find out about the possibility for a job and other prospects.

Chambers: From professional organizations you can not only get information about which companies are active in which industry but also important tips on which companies regularly offer summer jobs – even when these jobs are not always advertised.

Direct queries: If you can’t seem to find anything in any of these places, you can of course inquire directly with the companies themselves. You can then use this opportunity to show what you have to offer to the company and why you are interested in a job with them.

As mentioned previously, once you have your foot in the door, you can earn money – maybe even right up until you take your final exams – and build your knowledge and list of contacts for a smooth start to your professional career.

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