Work Matters

Careers Consultant Mark Armitage writes about the benefits of casual work.

Part time and vacation jobs have long been an element of student life but in these austere times of loans, some sort of income is an even greater necessity. Just getting a part time job in term time can be difficult and  paid work in the vacations is in short supply. Consequently, many will work in jobs where they feel their qualifications are superfluous. There is sometimes a tendency to be rather reticent about that bar work or shop job but any experience can help build your CV. Casual work  has also become a rite of passage and  graduate recruiters can be impressed by a job as much as a prestigious internship.

Recruiters seek many skills, time management, team-work, problem solving and commercial awareness are just a few. Where are these mythical “rounded individuals”? They are everywhere pulling pints, serving meals and stacking shelves while managing their studies.

Jobs can be used to demonstrate skills and qualities so make the most of them while working and as part of your transition to a graduate career. For example, employers seek commercial awareness, so if you work in retail look at the organisation more broadly, profit and loss, competitors, culture, longer term strategies and customer care.

Think how you are contributing to the organisation and your personal impact in demanding situations. This can also give you material for those difficult competency based application questions. Recruiters such as law and finance firms often express admiration for this new generation of  earn and learn students.

Work will also provide opportunities to work with a diverse range of people in terms of age and background. Bar work and catering can often provide networking opportunities, who is that in the pub  Even if the work is very mundane it can demonstrate your ability to stick at a task or show determination.

Casual work is not the only component of your future employability, networks, voluntary work and work insights can also be vital. Paid jobs will give you an immediate income and contribute to your graduate future.

Find out more about casual work opportunities on the Career Zone website.

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