This week I’ve been working my way through a career guide called “You Majored in What?” by Katharine Brooks. So far it’s got me thinking about my various skills, traits, and interests, and how these can lead me to my dream career…. whatever that may be.
Taking stock of my skills ties in with one of the choices that I didn’t want to make when I first graduated from university: taking a part-time job (or two) while I search for the “real thing”.
A lot of graduates believe that taking a part-time job during your job search will just get in the way of finding something more permanent. I just want to point out one thing: it’s your job search! If you lose momentum because of a part-time gig, that’s on you! As a part-time worker, you’ll still plenty of time on evenings, weekends, and even full days for your job search. Besides that, you’ll learn better time management skills.
More importantly, a part-time job will teach you new skills – as long as you’re open to seeing them as such.
What kind of skills am I talking about? Let’s take a closer look at my current part-time jobs:
Retail Sales Associate
I know what you’re thinking – retail is the worst. It’s undoubtably hard on the body, but in terms of job-based skills, retail experience is a gem. Here’s just a smattering of job skills that I’ve managed to nail down in just a few short months:
- Approaching people: be it on foot or on the telephone, people no longer intimidate me.
- Problem solving: I know this might sound like a stretch, but problem solving is everything in retail. Customers want solutions – be it to serious problems that are dealt with at the corporate level, or finding the perfect blouse to match a business suit. You’ve got to be willing to hang in there and think outside the box.
- Adaptation: My retail job has certainly taught me to roll with the punches! Retail is all about speaking, listening, and adapting.
- Positive thinking: this is a job skill as well as a way of life. Positive thinking is exemplified in our conversations with others – it’s the difference between telling someone that a pair of pants looks terrible on them or telling them that “we can do better”. Positive people are much easier to approach and interact with.
- Collaboration: I wouldn’t be anywhere without the help of my co-workers. We work as a unified team to guide each other – playing off each other’s strengths.
Tomorrow I’ll take a look at the skills that I’ve gained from my job as a part-time research assistant.
Have you taken a look at the skills you’ve earned from part-time employment/summer jobs/volunteering? It’s a pretty good exercise to get into the interview mindset. All experience has some value!