More than 2 million high school and college students are expected to work summer jobs or internships this year.

For most, the summer is about making money, but toiling during the dog days can help young workers flesh out what they like and dislike about a particular job, determine what kind of workplace environment appeals to them, and can help develop indelible skills that last throughout their careers.

Regardless of the role, workers can develop a deep respect for the value of work, learn to juggle multiple tasks concurrently, all while dealing with demanding and sometimes tough customers.

The summer job that stood out for me was after my freshman year of college when I was a clerk for my father’s firm on the floor of the American Stock Exchange.

I performed menial tasks, which are obsolete today, like copying stock purchase and sales orders, folding them up and stuffing them into the pneumatic tube system, and then filing those orders that had been executed.

My least favorite task was taking lunch requests from the senior clerks and traders. There were times when I would complain to my father and he would blithely say, “Well, that’s why they call it work. Get used to it!”

What should young workers do to navigate and take advantage of their new environments?

I turned to Dr. Resa E. Lewiss and Dr. Adaira Landry, co-authors of the new book MicroSkills: Small actions, Big impact. Both are highly accomplished doctors who wrote the book to help people, especially those just starting their careers, by laying out “simple, measurable skills that are easily understood, practiced and incorporated.”

Whether you are a camp counselor, an intern at a big financial company or a remote marketing assistant, Landry says that you must “demonstrate your engagement with the job.”

That means the basics, like showing up on time and responding promptly to emails. You should also “ask questions, offer suggestions, and volunteer to take on tasks that align with your interests and/or skills.”

Put your phone in a drawer during work hours, because when you divert your attention from the job, it “may be interpreted as lack of interest or commitment.”

Additionally, you need to “learn proper corporate etiquette: Do not confuse work events with hanging out with college friends.” You need to respect boundaries and “familiarize yourself with HR’s code of conduct in relation to dating, alcohol, and even use of humor or casual language.”

Given that summer workers have limited time to make an impact, Lewiss says that you need to quickly assess and understand your supervisor’s expectations.

“You don’t have 90 days to get up to speed and figure out what your supervisor expects. Surf the company website, reread your job description, and, most importantly, just ask. Politely, directly, when the time seems right, ask your supervisor what they expect for your summer role.”

As the job develops, workers need to push through their fear and ask for feedback. She suggests adopting the “just one thing approach.” At the end of the week, ask “What is one thing I should continue to do next week” or “What’s one thing I should stop doing to better help the team?” or “What’s one thing you would like to see me start?”

For college students, Landry thinks that these short-term work arrangements are a great way to address your skills gaps.

Before you start, “identify a skill set you would like to strengthen — e.g. public speaking, using artificial intelligence, web design. Elicit the input of your supervisor to determine steps to work on the skill. To track progress, develop measurable goals.”

Jill Schlesinger, CFP, is a CBS News business analyst. A former options trader and CIO of an investment advisory firm, she welcomes comments and questions at [email protected]. Check her website at