Lots of you will have part time jobs that fit well alongside your studies. These jobs will be really useful for various reasons, including some extra money and some useful experience in the work place. The money is probably the more appealing aspect than the experience at the moment for most students. From a careers advice point of view, it’s the experience which will be more useful longer term though. This blog will look at why and how part time work is so useful and will try to give you some guidance on how to evaluate what you’ve learnt from it.
Why part time work is useful
Money aside, one of the main reasons why part time work is so useful has been touched on already. The chance to get experience of what working is actually like, to see how it’s different to a school setting will be really useful. Understanding what is expected of you and how you are expected to behave will help you to start future jobs better. It will also give you a really good insight into what different careers are like. If you are a budding engineer, chef or lawyer, knowing what an average day is like will help you decide if it’s a long term option for you. But even if your part time work isn’t in the career area you want long term, you will be developing some excellent ‘transferable’ skills. These can be communication skills, problem solving, team work and showing initiative, all ones which different employers will be keen to see. And having evidence you’ve shown them in a work setting will be good!
How to evaluate it
There are so many ways you could evaluate your experience. Perhaps one of the first things to do is write down some of the different situations you have had to deal with that you wouldn’t have got elsewhere. How many demanding customers have you now dealt with? Even though you may not be an expert at this yet, is it getting easier? What skills or knowledge have you gained that you wouldn’t have got beforehand? For instance, I’ve talked to students who have applied for the trainee police vacancies and nursing degrees who have used their retail customer care or pub jobs to demonstrate really excellent and relevant skills. And these examples have been picked up during interviews to talk over further. You may be pleasantly surprised at how your part time job could support a future unrelated career choice.
Think through how what you’ve experienced could enhance your UCAS personal statement, what impact will your work or volunteering have on it?
I’ve talked to so many students who have said that their confidence has increased immensely since having a part time job. Has yours? In what ways has it improved your confidence?
I hope this short guide on part time work for students has given you food for thought. Evaluating how part time work has been useful for you can be a very tricky task though. This is where talking through with your tutor or careers adviser at school might be useful, they will be able to ask you lots of questions to help you evaluate an experience. What’s important to remember is that not all experience has to be ‘positive’, you will still have learnt something from it, which could be helpful in your future career.
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