This post may contain affiliate links and we will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link. Read the Disclosure Policy.
Here’s the deal. In this day and age, when we hear the words “part-time job,” it’s not typically associated with anything glamorous. But try not to stress! I’m here to tell you there are plenty of part-time jobs out there that that serve as wonderful opportunities to develop skills that will prepare you for your dream career.
If you let it, your part-time job can be smart-time spent.
Through the years, I’ve observed a certain saying and taken it to heart: “It takes money to make money.” Therefore, do not shy away from the small job; part-time jobs equal money and experience. Keep in mind the experience may outweigh the paycheck in the beginning — but that isn’t always a bad thing. Let me just give you a rundown of my own resume.
From Farm to Fine Arts
My first jobs included farm work and babysitting. Later on, I was a boutique clerk. During my college years, I worked in a fine art gallery. And somewhere in the midst of all that, I won the title of Miss Arkansas USA and acted as a state representative and public speaker for a year. At this point, it all just sounds like a cluster of random jobs that have nothing to do with one another.
However, each and every one of these part-time jobs set me up to acquire skills and learn tricks that have helped me in my current (full-time) job. No matter how eclectic your own work background, there are takeaways that will lead you to the same end game: The Dream Career. So let’s get down to the specific skills we can acquire through part-time jobs.
Learning Skills and Paying Bills
You could be a dog-walker or a dish-washer. You could drive a delivery truck, work in a mall, or work in an office setting, it doesn’t matter; EVERY position will require adaptability. (You’re talking to a girl who has gone from farm life to red carpets. If I can adapt, so can you!) Observation is the key to adapting. Part-time jobs often mean quick learning and adjusting to the environment and the culture within that business. Observe the people around you and take social cues from them. Get a feel for how strict or laid back things are.
Study up on helpful tips in the field you’re in. Apply yourself, and above all else, determine to be positive, no matter how hard the adjustments may be. I guarantee in every interview I’ve been in, I let them know that adaptability is a strong suit of mine. Employers appreciate knowing that you’re willing to adjust and excel in numerous settings.
Adapt, adapt, adapt! Be a chameleon and flourish within changing situations and environments.
We’ve all been involved in things that require organization, like school. So putting this into a practical part-time job context, think secretarial work and assistant positions. These jobs can be considered tedious. However, office jobs typically require good organizational skills and great mental stamina.
If you don’t already possess these skills, you’ll learn quickly out of necessity. Taking notes, answering e-mails, filing, sorting, submitting paperwork, all while wearing a pleasant smile and acting like you have a clue what’s going on — it’s a juggling act! Which brings me to the next skill we can learn..
Time management goes hand-in-hand with good organization. It’s a major factor in the job world and a quality sought by all businesses. Every single part-time job will require doing more than one task, even if you’re just working in a warehouse or stocking shelves. Good time management means being able to prioritize tasks by importance. You also need to be aware of how time-consuming each task will be.
The end game is the timely execution of these tasks based on the importance of each. Multitasking comes into play here. Get a planner. Leave yourself notes. Make checklists. I know it can be stressful, but it is also well worth it!
Jobs in the food industry and sales are tremendous opportunities to learn good customer service skills. While they’re considered some of the most basic jobs, people often do not realize that these roles can also demand the most patience and skill. Dealing with unreasonable people is not pleasant. Nor is it easy.
Cranky people aside, just think about the duties these jobs entail. Waiting tables means having to remember orders, sidestep tables, smile at customers who can’t make up their minds — all while balancing a tray of drinks. Whoa.
Then we have people in sales who have to deal with catering of another sort: customer opinion. Humans are not capable of reading minds, but good customer service means doing your best to predict and adjust to the client’s needs. It takes a special touch to placate the general population while making the experience enjoyable. Need I say it again? The customer is always right.
For those of you who don’t feel super confident in the skills you’ve acquired during your part-time ventures, fear not. There is one last factor to consider: networking. Networking may very well be the most important takeaway in terms of part-time work. Regardless of your job title, you will have exposure to all kinds of different people — and therefore an opportunity to make an impression on them. This may be a boss, clients, customers, or fellow employees. The connections we make in life often lead to open doors for our future.
I cannot emphasize this point enough. Positive networking depends on the likability factor. Do you know why? I’ll tell you why – If nothing else, people will remember you because they LIKE you. It is as simple as that. So work hard, show integrity, and be a joy to work with. Your reputation is what speaks for you when applying for that future job you desperately seek. And your connections will speak for you when it comes time for references.
Be nice! Be sincere. Keep a positive attitude and remember this quote from Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Go out of your way to shake hands and make eye contact. Have conversations and engage people with a smile and inviting demeanor.
Part-time jobs offer the opportunity to practice this. These small gestures can make you a standout when it comes to full-time work. You never know when you may be shaking the hand of someone in the position of hiring.
Make Your Job Work for You
Part-time jobs are part-time for a reason. They are not your forever jobs, but the takeaway skills are invaluable. I hope for this reason that you will respect whatever position you hold and learn as much as you possibly can from it. Whatever your resume holds, make your part-time job work for you! Get the most out of it! Whether you realize it or not, it is very likely polishing you up for your full-time future career.
Like a diamond, let your experience shine bright. After all, who would pass on hiring a gem?