Humdrum Jobs That Can Help You Out

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It’s halfway through June, and your fingers are still crossed for that dream internship. Meanwhile, you’re ringing up customers or picking up tips from cheap diners. Sure, it might not be the ideal way to spend your summer, but you’ll be surprised at the skills you’ll pick up from these typical minimum wage jobs.


Sitting by the pool on a hot day doesn’t sound very ideal. Regardless, lifeguarding requires rigorous training and skills to prepare you in emergency situations. You can also offer swimming lessons and train other lifeguards in first aid. Plus, the job gives you an excuse to work on that summer body of yours. Hey, you know who to go to for practicing CPR 😉


Ring up products. Bag. Deal with rude customers. Rinse and repeat. I’ve done it before, and the experience helps me with applying to jobs pertaining to retail. I’ve helped new employees start off their jobs and get comfortable in the new environment. I’ve also met new people and built connections. I once rang up a customer who wrote for a city newspaper. The next thing I knew, he gave me his card. Networking 101 right there.

Product Representatives

Yes, we all received the emails from companies that try to recruit college kids to advertise their products (knives, magazines, indestructible yoyos, etc.). You might have to approach your creepy neighbors, but this job puts your persuasion skills to the test. Communication is vital in any career, so it’s a great resume builder, and it often offers full-time jobs and career opportunities down the road. Work on your persuasion skills, and maybe you can finally get that cute guy in your chemistry class to take you out…sushi, anyone?


I’ve heard and witnessed the horror stories: dropping heavy dishes, placing wrong orders and dealing with rude customers…all while maintaining a positive attitude. To all the waiters who have dealt with my mom—mad respect. If you get the hang of it, however, you get great tips, and your multitasking skills increase tenfold. You have to be able to remember tiny things without getting stressed out or panicking. Even my mom leaves great tips.

 Do you have any work stories or other tips to share? 

Sophomore > Magazine Journalism and Art History > Syracuse University

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