You need experience to land the job of your dreams and you can’t get the experience you need because no one will give you a chance because you have no experience. Now could be the time to reframe your thinking and see that EVERY part-time, seasonal or temporary role presents the opportunity to gain skills and experience which you can use in future job applications to demonstrate you have the attributes employers are looking for.
Working part time whilst at university could be more beneficial than you think, as it offers the opportunity to gain new skills, demonstrate capability and showcase your personal attributes. This can make you a much more attractive and employable candidate with a CV head and shoulders above your competition – other job hunters!
Remember that in the current jobs market your competition is not just other graduates but older, more experienced candidates with considerable demonstrable skills and experience.
Students often undervalue part-time work experience and are reluctant to include it on CVs and application forms. Wrong! Every job you’ve held, no matter how menial or unconnected to your future graduate career it may seem, represents the opportunity for you to sell yourself and demonstrate you have skills and experience gained in the “real world”.
PEOPLE SKILLS – dealing with customers; managing tricky situations; listening to, persuading and advising customers on products all show you have good interpersonal skills.
RESPONSIBILITY – handling money and locking up in a shop, bar or office demonstrates you are trustworthy and responsible.
LEADERSHIP – retail, bar or cleaning supervisor roles show you can guide, direct and motivate others.
TEAMWORK – retail, bar and cleaning jobs all require high levels of team work and cooperation and shows you can work towards a common goal and support others.
PERSUASION – negotiating with your employer, colleagues or staff to agree mutually beneficial outcomes shows you can manage conflict and find solutions.
FLEXIBLE – shift work, unsociable hours, taking cleaning/retail/bar work shows you are flexible about how, when and where you work.
DETERMINED AND TENACIOUS – sticking to your work and study schedule shows you can cope with long hours, deadlines and pressure.
WORKING UNDER PRESSURE – working during busy trading times, working to targets etc shows you can handle stressful situations at work and up your pace when the situation calls for it.
TIME MANAGEMENT – arriving at work on time, juggling work with study and other commitments shows you can manage yourself and your schedule.
COMMERCIAL AWARENESS – working for any organisation will give you an insight in to how a business is run and will demonstrate you can follow company policies and procedures.
SELF MOTIVATION – you were at work at 7am EVERY morning – enough said!
There are many more examples and these are just a few to give you a flavour for how you can use your part-time experience to demonstrate that you have more to offer than your academic record. For a lot of people, it’s a harsh reality of university life that they will have to find part time work to help fund their time at university. This actually represents an excellent opportunity to get ahead of your competition and enhance your CV by building up employability skills ahead of graduation.
Jobshop is a free service run by Kent Union for students at the University of Kent to help them find temporary, part-time and seasonal work whilst they are studying. For further information, go to www.kentunion.co.uk/jobs or email firstname.lastname@example.org.