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Wrapping Up a Summer Job? 3 Things to Do Before You Head Back to College

If you held down a job over the summer, you should know that you did a very good thing for both your finances and your career. After all, the money you earned can be used to pay your upcoming tuition to avoid student debt, or pad your savings so that you have money on hand for emergencies. And from a career perspective, any sort of work experience is a nice thing to add to your resume. But before you say your goodbyes and get ready to head back to school for another semester, here are a few key moves to make first.

1. Swap contact info with your colleagues

Chances are, you'd know how to reach your old teammates at the office should the need or desire arise. But what if the people you got along with were to switch jobs? Would you still have a means of getting in touch? Though there may be the option to connect on sites like LinkedIn, don't chance it. Instead, give out your contact information before heading back to college, and take down the information of those people you're certain you want to keep in touch with.

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2. Ask for recommendation letters

If you're still in school, it means there's a good chance you don't have a ton of work experience under your belt. That's why it's wise to ask for some written recommendations before taking off for college. If you reach out several months after the fact, your boss might get busy or blow off the request, thinking it's been months since you set foot in the office. But if you ask in person, your manager will have a harder time saying no.

Also, if you wait till you go back to school to make that request, you could end up getting stuck with a more generic endorsement that doesn't really help you all that much. But if you ask for that letter when your recent workplace contributions are fresh in your boss' mind, you might get a more authentic result.

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3. Affirm your desire to snag a full-time job post-college

If your summer job relates to the field you're hoping to pursue once you have your degree, and you had a good experience working for your employer, then it pays to be open about wanting to come back on a full-time basis once you wrap up your studies. Though your employer won't necessarily hold an open position for months on end, you never know when a boss who really liked you might create a position to coincide with your graduation. But if you don't speak up, the company won't know where you're at, and you could lose out on an easy full-time job offer.

Maybe you went into your summer job thinking it would be a good way to boost your bank account. But before you grab the money and run, take steps to remain in contact with your peers, ask your boss for a rave review, and set the stage for post-college employment. You'll be thankful you did.

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