What to take away from your summer jobs
Food service is not for the faint of heart. It takes confidence as hard as diamond to respond calmly to angry and finicky customers, all while rocking a visor that went out of style in the sixth grade. I worked at a bagel shop the summer before college – my first job with a real paycheck – and the skills I sharpened that summer have guided me through years of internships and job experience. Your mission after that summer job is to translate your relevant skills to your resume.
1. Customer service
You know who I’m talking about – the woman who comes in every day and asks for a latte with extra foam, and then chastises you for the excess of foam in her frothy beverage? That lady. Maybe she will go on to casually mention your incompetence. Who knows? Whatever she says, you will always keep your cool and wish her a wonderful morning. Many summer jobs will allow you to hone your customer service skills; you will learn to navigate conflict and handle difficult people at their weakest point – the 7am pre-caffeine grumpies.
On your resume: Deeply customer-oriented, skilled in conflict resolution. Able to demonstrate quality in service and hospitality through strong interpersonal communication skills.
2. Working well under pressure
“Can I get two dozen bagels? Yes, in a bag. Actually, do you have a box? How late are you open on Tuesdays? Can I get muffins instead? How much are your bananas?” No one is comfortable watching a frazzled barista. Usually calm and collected, this employee digs around the fridge for the soymilk and looks around feverishly to see if anyone saw them spill those coffee beans onto the floor. And yes, everyone saw it. Staying cool and collected under the pressure of the lunch rush is a valuable skill that translates well to other professions during crunch-time.
On your resume: Crisis management abilities, time management. Able to maintain calm during periods of high volume to ensure the highest quality service.
3. Management skills
Everyone should, at one point in his or her life, work in the service industry. Wait tables at a diner, learn how to run the espresso machine, sell hotdogs with stale buns from the snack bar at your local beach. Learn how to be a good customer by being a good server. In the same way, learn how to be a good manager by working at the bottom of the totem pole. Watch and learn from your management and step up to the task whenever you get the chance. Offer to train new employees or organize a new inventory system. These experiences will provide tangible resume boosters.
On your resume: Able to manage, motivate, and develop staff skills. Willing to work as part of a team.
Don’t stress if you missed the internship boat this summer or lived at home to save some money while working – there are plenty of marketable skills to enhance your resume when the summer is over.