What’s the Value of a Part-Time Job?

It’s Student Employee Appreciation Week and Mizzou is celebrating its part-time student workers who do so much to support the mission of the University. Whether you work on, campus, off campus or are getting ready to start a summer job next month, it’s important to remember that while you are earning some income, you are also gaining some valuable skills!

No matter if you are a lifeguard, restaurant hostess or library book stacker, a part-time job provides you with ample opportunities to learn and grow from the experience. Here are some common skill sets that student employees can acquire and enhance through their part-time jobs:

Professionalism & Work Ethic

To be successful on the job you need to demonstrate personal accountability and effective work habits. In other words, arriving on time, managing your time to get tasks done, and acting responsibly is, indeed, a skill!  Recruiters are looking for candidates that behave ethically and have a professional demeanor.

Communication

Whether you are communicating a scheduling change with your supervisor or having to explain a policy to a customer, written and verbal communication skills are crucial to any part-time job. Carefully consider how you communicate with others… are you a gifted public speaker? Do you excel at writing and editing letters or reports? Are you able to translate complex ideas into simple and concise terms?  Think about capturing what you do well on your resume and consider areas where you could improve.

Leadership

Consider how you could or have demonstrated leadership on the job.  Some positions offer a great deal of autonomy and you have lots of decision-making ability. Perhaps you have been asked by managers to train new employees? Or maybe you just naturally take on roles where you mentor others, motivate team members and set new goals? If you lack opportunities for leadership, seek them out! Ask for new responsibilities or work challenges and openly discuss how you can seek leadership experiences.

Teamwork

Every job requires some level of collaboration and building and maintaining relationships with coworkers and customers is key.  Employers are seeking candidates who demonstrate that they can work with people from diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, religions, lifestyles, and viewpoints. Consider how you connect with others, work to enhance a team, and manage conflict as it arises.

Technology  

In most positions you likely interface with some sort of digital technology or software program to do your job. Utilizing programs and how to use them ethically and effectively to complete tasks and goals is a real skill. And even if you have familiarity with some technology (like Microsoft Office) learning how to use them more efficiently on the job is of great value.  In this modern era, we have to be adaptable and embrace new and emerging technologies!

Problem Solving  

Critical thinking is necessary in any job in any work setting. Think about the times you’ve used sound reasoning to analyze a situation, make a decision, and overcome a problem. Whether you are resolving a customer complaint, fixing a computer, addressing a dropped Zoom call, you have use analytical skills to address issues and come up with inventive solutions.

You may not realize it, but all the competencies listed above are NACE career readiness competencies employers are seeking and evaluating in job seekers. Hopefully, you understand that you are building more skills than you realized!  If you treat a part-time job as “just a part-time job” then what you’ll get out of it is minimal. But if you invest in your part-time job, seek new challenges and duties, and reflect on those experiences, it will help you be successful once you leave Mizzou!