Making The Most Of Your Part-Time Job.

Just because your part-time job isn't what you want to do for the rest of your life doesn't mean that you can't gain valuable skills and contacts that transfer to future jobs.

Whether you're saving for school, still in college, or just unable to find a job now that you've graduated, it's not unusual to turn to a part-time job to make money. Some feel let down when they have to turn to such employment, but don't lose heart. Just because your part-time job isn't what you want to do for the rest of your life doesn't mean that you can't gain valuable skills and contacts that transfer to future jobs.

The first thing that you need to do is not fall into the trap of thinking that your part-time job isn't important. If you convince yourself that it doesn't matter, you might call in sick more frequently or think that you don't need to give proper notice when it's time to quit. It can infiltrate your thinking in other ways, too, making you less attentive on the job and more prone to small mistakes and problems.

Remember - a good employer reference is a good employer reference no matter what the job was. If your supervisor can attest to your punctuality, friendliness and work ethic as a waitress, then your future manager can hope for the same from you in a new setting. Think of the part-time job as practice for your future jobs. If you've spent the last year arriving fifteen minutes late to work every day, will you be able to change that habit when you find a more professional job?



Another way you can make the most of your part-time work is to take some time to reflect on your skills and find some areas that need work. Then, consciously work on them in a way that fits your present job. Do you avoid conflict? Make a point of stepping forward to deal with the next customer complaint. Do you have trouble meeting goals and deadlines? Set goals and deadlines for yourself such as selling a certain amount each day or making a set number of phone calls each morning. When you find yourself meeting small goals, reach higher.

Think of every job as a chance to network. Just because the job isn't glamorous doesn't mean that you can't still reach out and make contact with as many people in your workplace as possible. Besides making the job more enjoyable on a daily basis, you never know what may come of it. Maybe you'll be the one selling a new product to your former employer and you can use your managerial contacts. Or maybe that woman who worked at the register next to yours will start her own business and remember that you were getting a degree in public relations.

Consider advancement opportunities within the company. Maybe you don't want to be a cashier for the rest of your life, but would you enjoy being a store manager? Could you use your secretarial position as a foot in the door when you're ready to become an executive? Some businesses prefer to hire from the inside and that minimum wage job could become a supervisory position over time. Even if you know you want nothing to do with your part-time field in the future, you should take advantage of any training programs or workshops that are offered to you. Look especially for classes that will help you gain transferable skills, like computer applications or public speaking.

With a little thought and planning, a part-time job doesn't have to be a career dead-end. Make the most of your time there, and you'll be ready when opportunity calls.

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