Firstly let’s discuss the myth around the irrelevance of part-time work while studying.
If I had a pound for every time a student or graduate told me that they didn’t put their part-time job on their CV or application because they thought it wasn’t relevant, I would be writing this from the deck of my super-yacht sailing down the French Riviera!
It is relevant, I have not got a clue why people think it isn’t. There are more ways but here are 3 ways to make part-time work more than just money in the bank.
A cliché? No, they are very significant. Just look at a person specification for any job. Are there any transferable skills within the criteria? Yes, there is. Through my experience I would say anywhere from 40% to 70% of the selection criteria for the majority of jobs are transferable skills.
Transferable / ‘soft’ skills are skills which can be transferred into different contexts. Obviously, demonstrating that you have utilised a skill to achieve outcomes in the same context of the job you are applying for add more value than an example transferred from a different context There are the obvious ones Communication, Leadership, Teamwork. (Our SALA focuses on these for that reason).
This Article from the World Economic Forum outlines skills needed to survive in the robot invasion of the workplace. It draws from earlier research suggesting 10 skills you will need to thrive in 2020.
Get as much experience using all types of transferable skills as you can. Keep a journal / reflective log and use these examples when applying for graduate jobs in the future.
You could look up job description person specification for jobs that you intend to progress into after your studies, review the required skills and then make sure you get good examples of using those from your part-time job.
A part-time role is the perfect environment to develop your confidence by using your initiative, fully understand the purpose of your role, how it fits in the organisation, what value you add and how you fit within the strategic aims of the company. When you fully understand this, you can use initiative to add further value to the organisation. You could be in any job, understand how processes and functions operate, notice improvements and suggest them to your line manager. If you get to implement them and they are a success, this will be a great outcome for you. A great example for you to use in other applications, and you would have developed confidence using your initiative. I love it when people in my team improve our performance outcomes or make my job easier by bringing in new ideas, processes and functions, would you?
Connect with every person you can, getting to know them, what they do, and their story. This builds relationships with people but it can really help you to understand how other people achieved their goals (or not), which in turn can help you understand what you have to do to achieve your ambitions.
You can then connect digitally too. E-meeting people and connecting online without ever meeting in person, is a thing these days, but having a personal interaction before connecting adds extra value, they can place you better, you can make a better impression, plus there is more chance they will accept your connect request on LinkedIn, friend request on Facebook or follow you back on Twitter or Instagram. I would suggest to consider everyone as a contact who can add value to your network and career development. You could be selective with who you choose to connect with on particular social media platforms but Networking and connecting with people and building up an online presence is essential in all sectors today. You will never know where your next opportunity can come from, it could be to add value to your current job or accessing new opportunities in the field you are interested in or accessing opportunities in areas which you would never have considered, that isn’t a bad thing.
Senior Careers Adviser