When you enter the world of graduate jobs without career specific work experience, it can be pretty daunting. But don’t despair, if you’ve done part-time work during your studies it can vastly improve your chances after you graduate.
It’s always important to employers that you have the kind of skills that they know will be useful in a professional environment. Displaying this experience in your CV or in an interview is a great way of providing proof of the skills you’ll bring to the role.
So if the only work experience you’ve got is in a coffee shop, on the telephones or in the student union bar, here’s how it’ll help your chances of getting shortlisted for those all-important graduate jobs.
As a new graduate working in a business, you’re always going to need great communication skills. If you’re in a client-facing role, the skills that you will have learnt from dealing with customers either over a counter or on the phone will be impressive to a new employer. At the very least, it’ll show you have the ability to communicate professionally with your new colleagues. Ensure you make it clear that you were dealing with customers on a daily basis in a professional way and they’ll know you can communicate.
If you’re competing with someone else for the same type of graduate job, one of the most important things that will set you apart is your ability to fit into a team. Make it clear that you were part of a close knit team and they’ll know you’ve got the personality to slip right into the office environment at their company.
If you’ve juggled an academic, social and work life at university, you’ve already proven yourself to have superior organisational skills. Companies looking to hire a graduate will see this and know they’ll have someone who can manage their time and responsibilities successfully.
Have you ever had to deal with a customer complaint at a bar or found yourself on the other end of the line from an angry caller on the uni phones? Then you’ve already had plenty of problem solving experience. Prepare yourself for this question in interviews, and think of a time you’ve had to deal with a potentially disastrous situation, acted calmly and found a solution. You’ll find this kind of critical thinking is a valuable skill across a whole range of graduate jobs.
If you’ve been given any extra roles at work, especially if it had anything to do with money, make this clear on your CV. Simply stating that you’re honest or responsible in a profile is unlikely to send a very strong message, while proof that you’ve handled money or more advanced roles with integrity will scream that you’re somebody they can trust.