If you're a recent college graduate who's working a part-time job to earn money while looking for your first post-college full-time job, you can take advantage of that part-time position to develop marketable career skills and build your resume.
"College graduates don't realize the benefits of working part-time while they are looking for a job," says Pam Caplin, former vice president of human resources at Fidelity Investments. "I prefer candidates who are working, because it shows initiative and a work ethic."
Suppose you're a recent graduate who wants to pursue a career in advertising. You haven't found an advertising job yet, so you take a job waiting tables to make ends meet. While you didn't go to college to be a restaurant server, you can still develop skills employers value while in that role that, including:
Properly phrased on your resume, those job skills can give you an edge when applying for an entry-level account management position in advertising. Those same skills could also translate into a sales position -- tips equate to commissions, after all. What server isn't motivated by tips? "If an applicant arrives with work experience -- full- or part-time -- they have shown that they can market themselves, learn on the job, interact with others and keep a schedule," says Tom McGowan, a human resources generalist most recently with DHL Express. "Those are skills that are valuable in most jobs." Part-Time Payoff To maximize the payoff from a part-time job, define the job you're ultimately seeking. Next, review job postings, Monster's Career Snapshots and the Occupational Outlook Handbook to identify the skills you'll need to land that job. Now you're ready to look for part-time jobs that would help you build skills. For instance, if your goal is an entry-level sports marketing job, pursue a part-time position at a local gym. Although you may start with checking in members, you could offer to help coordinate the facility's member events. Doing so would let you demonstrate strong work communication skills, as well as multitasking and event-planning skills. Other possibilities include:
Skills You Can Acquire
Bringing Your Skills to the Job Search Once you've developed these skills, you need to convey them effectively in your job search. Here are some pointers:
"They may be applying for an entry-level position, but employers want to see more, including past proof of their ability to perform and advance," McGowan says.