While you’re studying it can be easy to get caught up with maintaining your grades, keeping a social life and balancing extra-curricular activities. However, it’s also a great idea to find some part time or casual work, not just for the extra cash.
Regardless of whether the job is related to your future career goals or not, what you learn from work while studying can help you a great deal when you start looking for full time employment.
1. You’ll have a sense of how work… works
The study environment and the workplace are very different. Making the transition from one to the other can be a challenge. Everything from your behavior and attitude, through to the way that you interact with your peers is different in the workplace. You’ll also be expected to take your own initiative in the workplace, whereas at school or uni, you’ll have a teacher to guide you and tell you what to do.
Having a casual or part time job while studying will help you ease yourself into working. It can also help you to understand the expectations and dynamics of a work environment. This will be invaluable when you start a full time role and will put you above other applicants who have never worked before.
2. You’ll gain skills you never thought you’d need
You may be studying to be a lawyer, scientist or architect, and assume that a retail part-time job has little relevance to your future career path - but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
A doctor or lawyer wouldn’t be good at their job without excellent communication and conflict resolution skills, and in those fields the stakes are so high that mistakes can be catastrophic. Retail jobs can help you develop communication and conflict resolution skills, in a much lower pressure environment. This makes for ideal training for your career. Working can also improve skills that benefit your studies such as time management, organisation and prioritisation.
3. You may find new career paths
Whether you’re 16, 18, or 21, there’s every chance that while you have a vague idea of what you want to do for a career… the specifics of how to get there might be a bit hazy.
How many aspiring filmmakers get part time or work experience at advertising agencies, and eventually find themselves in the directing chair, creating social media videos and TV advertisements? How many aspiring authors end up as journalists for local newspapers after an internship uncovered their love for local news? How many chefs started out flipping burgers at a McDonalds?
A part-time or casual job might not seem immediately applicable to your future career path, but between the people you meet and the impression you leave them, you may develop contacts that could benefit you in your future career.
It’s for that reason that it’s important that you don’t treat part-time or casual jobs as just a job. It’s an opportunity to learn, network, and gain practical experience that is every bit as valuable to your future career prospects as what you’re learning from your studies.
4. Working helps you build your network
Beyond qualifications, one of the biggest challenges that many people find in getting a job is that they don’t really know anyone. You can up your chances of landing a job by actively networking. Applying for jobs off advertisements can mean that you’re competing with others for positions, knowing the right people can put you at the top of the hiring list.
LinkedIn is a great tool for this. If you’re able to start building your LinkedIn presence while studying, you’ll have a ready-made resource that prospective employers will look at. Start by connecting with your boss and co-workers, and anyone that you interact with professionally while on the job. Ask them to give you recommendations from their time working with you. When your next hiring manager sees your profile, they’ll get the impression that you’re driven, easy to work with, and see that you have experience in the workforce already.
5. Earn money to invest in your career
Having a part time or casual job also provides a bit of money. For many students that covers a living expenses and provides disposable income, but there’s a third use for that money – it can be invested into your career.
You could use it to fund a short course for a related skill over the semester break. Or you could use it to buy additional tools or equipment that are essential to your future work. Most careers involve some form of expense around tools and equipment, and having those tools going into the first interview is always a plus.
Another opportunity while you're earning some income is to invest in your super! You may be able to get access to some government incentives
by topping up your super with personal contributions. Get started with Student Super now