How to Sell Your Summer Job in a Professional Interview

Katie Drews

Chief Experience Officer


For job-seeking college graduates about to enter a competitive job market, every bit of experience can help pave the way to a future career. But while some of you may have entered the professional world upon graduation, others may be looking for work in the fall after seasonal employment ends.

You may not see much valuable work experience in typical summer jobs, such as child care, lifeguarding, serving/bartending, and other similar jobs, but these positions build valuable soft skills and emotional intelligence that transfer well to a professional environment. How you articulate what you’ve accomplished and learned on the job – in any job – can give hiring managers a good sense of your ability to learn and adapt on the job.

Here are some interview scenarios you can use to gauge how well you can promote your soft skills acquired as part of a summer job:

Child Care
Skills enhanced: Leadership, problem-solving, multi-tasking
Accomplishments to highlight:

  • Talk about a time when you made a difficult decision on the job
  • Discuss how you juggled priorities and made sure everything got accomplished
  • Share how you’ve handled and resolved criticism from an employer

Ideal professional roles: Project management, human resources, office management/administration

Skills enhanced: Responsibility, decision-making, accountability
Accomplishments to highlight:

  • Talk about a time when you had to make split-second decisions while on the job
  • Discuss how you helped your colleagues ensure a safe environment for guests
  • Share an example of a mistake you made on the job. How did you resolve it?

Ideal professional roles: Administration, compliance, accounting

Restaurant Serving
Skills enhanced: Working in a fast-paced environment, customer service, conflict resolution
Accomplishments to highlight:

  • Discuss how you’ve diffused a tense situation on the job
  • Talk about how you’d respond to customer criticism directed at you personally
  •  Share an example of how you’ve pushed back on a customer and said “no.”

Ideal professional roles: Customer service, sales, marketing, communications

Skills enhanced: Customer service, sales, multitasking
Accomplishments to highlight:

  • Share how you helped your store exceed sales expectations
  • Talk about how you learned to excel at the most difficult aspect of your role
  • Describe how your work helped improve the customer experience at your store

Ideal professional roles: Sales, merchandising, marketing and communication

When it comes to entry-level positions, hiring managers are increasingly looking for skill versus experience. In such a competitive hiring market, it’s more essential than ever for employers to consider a diverse range of candidates. That’s why you should sell your own experiences as skill-building opportunities and demonstrate how those skills apply to the job being pursued. Whether you’ve honed your skills in an office, at the pool, or on the golf course, your ability to market these skills in lieu of professional experience will be a critical factor in your success on the path toward your future career.

About Avenica

Avenica is an innovative education-to-work platform focused on bridging the skills gap to connect more people to better career opportunities. Through high-impact training and a comprehensive career discovery process, Avenica has helped thousands of people kickstart meaningful careers.

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