By Ashley Stahl, Originally Published in Forbes

It’s already March of 2019, and that means that summer is right around the corner. For younger readers, that also means that seasonal summer jobs are starting to become available, as well. I tell many of my younger clients that a summer job can be an excellent way for you to learn more about yourself, and it can also lead to a full-time gig if you play your cards right.

Here are some stats and tips that can help you rake in the summer dough and hopefully turn your seasonal job into a part-time, or full-time career option.

  • Ditch the retail gigs. While retail jobs can be a good place to start out and work your way up, chances are, the odds are not in your favor that these fast-paced gigs don’t align with what you’re looking to create long term. In fact, many teen summer workers are turning away from retail. A study from Pew Research found that the number of teen summer workers dropped from 2 million in the year 2000 to 1.3 million in 2018, a decline of 35.3%. Instead of going the retail route, research some companies you vibe with that are local to you, or If you’re feeling really adventurous, try to find an internship somewhere far away from home!
  • Discover who you are. I fervently believe that your career should be a vehicle for your own self-expression. While you’ll have your good and bad days, the most fulfilled workers are aligning their work with a gift they have— one that many clients come to me without having yet discovered. A study featured in an article stated that only 8% of people actually achieve their goals, so don’t feel like you’re alone if you feel like you haven’t figured this out yet. If you need inspiration, I gave a TEDx talk at UC Berkeley and asked three key questions- what are you good at, what do people tell you you’re good at, what’s holding you back.
  • Practice communication. These seasonal jobs are a perfect chance to work on your networking and communication skills. Rather than looking at a seasonal position as a way to make a buck during the summer, look at it as your chance to leave a lasting impression. Figure out how you can use your unique skills to help your employer in a way they weren’t expecting. Assess what they’re working on and suggest projects for yourself that fill needs they’re not paying attention to. Use your lunch breaks as opportunities to get to know other employees at the company. That way, when a part-time or full-time position does open, you’ll have already proven that you are dedicated and driven, and your name will most likely be at the top of the list.

If you have a vague idea of what you may want to pursue for the next few years, nabbing a good seasonal job can be a golden opportunity. Now is the time to set yourself apart, make real discoveries and embark on your career journey.

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  • I'm a career coach, keynote speaker, podcast host (You Turn Podcast) and author, here to help you step into a career you're excited about and aligned with. This may look like coaching you 1:1, hosting you in one of my courses, or meeting you at one of workshops or keynote speaking engagements! I also own CAKE Media, a house of ghostwriters, copywriters, publicists and SEO whizzes that help companies and influencers expand their voice online. Before being an entrepreneur, I was an award-winning counterterrorism professional who helped the Pentagon in Washington, DC with preparing civilians to prepare for the frontlines of the war on terror.