Don’t overlook skills from a temporary job

If you have you graduated this summer and are currently updating your CV then make sure you don’t discount any work experience you have already accrued. This may be a summer or weekend job that has nothing to do with your degree or field of interest, but you will have  gained important skills that are transferable to positions within your chosen career path.

You may have taken temporary work simply in order to fund your studies or while you look for your first graduate internship or job, but don’t overlook the invaluable skills it will have taught you. In almost all positions you will be required to work in teams, communicate with others and use your initiative to solve problems. Employers regard these soft skills very highly. It also proves to future employers that you have the motivation to find a job during your holidays as well as a strong work ethic. If you have maintained a job during your studies then this shows that you have great time-management and organisational skills.

When updating your CV, writing cover letters, and preparing for interviews don’t overlook the experience you picked up through your part-time job.  You need to think about how the skills you have learnt can be transferred to the role you are applying for. You should then use examples of when you have put these skills into practice in your cover letter or at an interview: e.g. “I showed initiative when developing a process to streamline customer ordering process, which increased the restaurants overall efficiency.”

If you have spent summers working in a restaurant then you will have learnt great customer service skills as this role is all about making the customer happy. In many roles this skill is invaluable as you may have clients or managers requiring great service and meeting their demands.

You may have spent every Saturday since your were 16 working in a clothes shop or supermarket which means you are sitting on a wealth of experience. Working within retail helps you develop some impressive traits: not only unbelievable customer service and team work but handling stock and dealing with money on a daily basis. When applying for a job in areas such as merchandising, buying, selling and even marketing then employers will be happy to see retail work on your CV as it will prove that you have certain brand awareness.

Perhaps you spend your summers volunteering, which can provide some amazing skills. For example if you are working with children you will be able to prove your leadership skills by taking charge of groups of kids. You will have to use initiative and creativity to keep them excited and engaged, and this will help you in the future when you need to produce exciting ideas for projects at work. By volunteering you will also prove to a potential employer  that you are happy to help others in your own time.

Therefore don’t neglect the skills you have gained from a temporary job. Any experience is good experience even if you don’t think it is relevant to your chosen career path. Employers think very highly of soft skills but make sure you tailor the experience to the job you are applying for.

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