Working Part-Time: How Will It Benefit Me?

Part-time jobs can help you gain the real-world work experience and skills that you need to kickstart your graduate career.
Carmen Teh
Writer, gradsingapore
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When talking about gaining work experience to bulk up a résumé, or how to be a strong candidate for a graduate job, many would think of work placements or internships. Part-time jobs typically don’t get as much attention, but the experience is often just as valuable and useful.

Juggling part-time work and studies can sometimes be tough as a student. However, having one will equip you with a range of skills that will make you a competitive job applicant. One of these skills include organisational skills, because just the fact alone that you can balance a part-time job while being a student shows that you are someone with good time management and organisational abilities.

If you choose to work part-time after you graduate, that’s fine too. It will still help you develop a range of other skills that will make you attractive to employers.

Cultivating valuable skills

Among the many attributes you’ll be able to demonstrate, the practical experience of paid work will demonstrate your reliability and commitment. If you are worried about your part-time job involving many menial tasks – don’t!

Your job may not be intellectually challenging, but you can still use the experience to your advantage. If you are able to maintain focus and accuracy while performing a repetitive task, employers will regard this as evidence of your self-discipline and resilience.

Employers seek graduates who will not be put off by difficulties or boring work, especially when the company is experiencing a time of need. These qualities will reassure employers that you meet that criterion.

Not to mention, part-time stints typically involve dealing with co-workers or the general public, allowing you to develop important skills that recruiters value, such as teamworking, communication and people skills.

Here are some skills you can gain from different kinds of part-time jobs, which you can include in your graduate résumé or mention during your job interview:

Part-time job

Key skill(s)

Retail

Customer awareness, people skills

Receptionist

Communication skills, people skills

Waiter/waitress

Ability to work under pressure, customer awareness

Data entry

Attention to detail, Microsoft Office proficiency (if applicable)

Secretary/assistant

Communication skills, organisational skills

Telesales

Persuasion and negotiation skills

Sports coach/fitness instructor

Leadership skills and teamwork

Teacher/tutor

Organisational and management skills

Cashier

Integrity and attention to detail

Research assistant

Analytical skills, time management skills

Road to discovery

Aside from being able to pick up and hone your skills, working part-time will allow you to find out more about a certain field or industry. You will also be able to ascertain if you wish to continue your pursuit of a specific career.

If done strategically, you can even get your foot in the door of the company and/or industry you want to explore or work in. That said, if you are in a position to choose the part-time job you want, you should assess your options and think about which of the available jobs can lead you to your chosen profession – or at least, give you a leg up when applying for a full-time graduate job.

For instance, if you are interested in a career in hospitality, it will make sense for you to get a job in a restaurant or a hotel, whereas if you are considering working in education, becoming a part-time tutor may equip you with the right skills and experience.

In addition, having a part-time job in a relevant field will also allow you to expand your network of useful contacts. You will get to know co-workers who may become your mentor, or even get a reference from your manager who might be able to connect you with full-time job opportunities.  

Hence, it is important to plan ahead when deciding what kind of part-time job you should take on, and when you’ve come to a decision, get out there and learn as much as you can.