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College students across the country are back at school starting the Spring semester. At the end of the semester comes finals and then the lengthy summer break. Now is the time to decide how you will spend that extended vacation.
For some, a summer job is an absolutely essential part of their college financing plan. For others, it’s more about getting experience that can lead to a better job when they join the workforce. To gain this experience, many students believe that an internship in their proposed career field is a better choice than a job. But is that the right choice?
Most job or internship searches start online. Spend some time researching both options. If you find an internship, be sure you understand the duties of the position. An internship can be very beneficial, if the tasks you will be performing give you a real opportunity to learn on the job. Unfortunately, some internships offer limited opportunities to learn and they do little to enhance your resume for future employment.
A summer job as a camp counselor could be your perfect opportunity to earn money and build valuable job skills. Today, more and more employers want to see more than a college degree. And even work experience might not be helpful if it’s not the right kind of experience. 21st century employers want to see well rounded candidates with skills that translate to the modern work environment. Leadership experience, communication skills, self-evaluation skills, time management, and problem solving skills are among the skills most sought by employers. A job at summer camp can give you experience in all of these areas and more. Leading groups of campers in daily activities demands the highest level of commitment. Being a camp counselor presents you with challenges that you must overcome under the watchful eyes of your campers. Being in this environment naturally develops important skills that will enhance your future job prospects.
An often overlooked practical skill that is developed as a camp counselor is public speaking and presentation skills. Vitally important in today’s workplace, these skills are naturally developed in an environment like a summer camp. As a counselor you will definitely speak, sing and perform in front of crowds large and small. The audiences at camp are very encouraging and forgiving so it’s a safe place to build these skills.
An important factor in considering the value of a summer camp job is the wide understanding of the role played by a camp counselor. It is likely that your future interviewer for a career job has experienced summer camp as a camper, counselor, or even a camper parent. Based on this, a summer camp position on your resume is easily recognized and valued by employers. They will understand the role and responsibilities much easier than trying to interpret what you may have accomplished in an internship.
Finally, consider the comparative impact of a potential internship and a summer camp job. The chance to have a long term influence on the future of the kids you work with may be the perfect deciding factor when considering your decision to take an internship or work at camp.