Why an Entry-level Summer Job May Be Better Than an Internship

With summer quickly approaching, students’ news feeds are filled with posts of their friends plans – extravagant vacations, studying abroad. and fancy internships at huge companies are the norm.

While these are all fun ways to spend the summer, if you find yourself working in an entry level position over the summer, it might feel like you’re falling behind.

Will you get less out of working at Starbucks than your friend at their neighbours investment bank? Not necessarily.

There are a few reasons why working at a summer job might be better for you than an internship:

1)     Summer jobs develop your emotional intelligence + empathy

Less-glamorous jobs, like scooping ice-cream or flipping burgers, can help you boost your emotional intelligence and teach you empathy for others. Working in these customer-facing jobs will teach you how hard others work for their money, how rude customers can sometimes be, and it will allow you to master a very important skill - small talk.

It’s a real lesson on how to treat people.

Learning to see the world through an empathetic lens is a skill and challenge that many young people struggle to master – this makes it a fantastic topic to write about in your college admissions essays.

Admissions officers are always interested in the perspective you take on the world, and if you can capture it in your writing,even better.

It’s a lot harder to learn empathy when your summer job consists of shredding documents and going on coffee runs.

2)     More control over your schedule

Working an entry-level summer job will probably allow you more control over the amount of time you work.

Often, you’ll be able to work the hours that work best for you (evening shifts so you can sleep in? Yes! Work on weekends so you can hit the beach when it’s less busy on weekdays? Count me in!).

It’s often easier to request time off as well, so you won’t have to miss your yearly family road trip (or… you can use work as an excuse to miss your yearly family road trip – up to you!)

In an internship, students are normally required to work regular office hours, 9-5 Monday – Friday, just as every other employee at the organization does. And let’s face it, because they’re only there for a few months, bosses often take advantage of this and ask their interns to pull 10-12 hour days.

3)     Make money

This is a big one – while a lot of summer internships are unpaid, all summer jobs will make you money $$$.

The money you make in high school will go a long way when you start college. It can offset living costs, contribute towards tuition, or give you some spending money to hang out with friends and eat something other than ramen noodles once in a while.

Contributing money from summer jobs to college tuition will also mean less student loans you’ll have to pay back when you’re done.

4)     Keep the job over the school year (weekends)

One of the beautiful things about working a regular, entry level job over the summer, is that you may have the opportunity to keep the job (with reduced hours) during the school year.

It’s easy to keep working at a restaurant on the weekends during the school year, as long as you’re able to stay on top of your time management to get everything else you need to do done as well.

Bonus: Having a job for a longer period of time than a 3-month summer contract will look great on your resume. It will show that you’re employable, able to keep a job (aka, not mess it up), and that you’re stable and dependable.

These are all great qualities that your future college admissions team (or future employer!) will look for in applicants.

So if you find yourself working a summer job instead of the internship you were hoping for, don’t fret.

If you’re still in high school, you’ll have plenty of time to intern in your field of study.

For now, there is plenty for you to learn in an entry-level job, and with the extra money, flexibility and prospects of keeping the job during the school year, it may even be preferable to an internship.