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Jobs & Careers magazine | January 16, 2018

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What skills can you gain from a part-time pub or retail job?

What skills can you gain from a part-time pub or retail job?
  • On May 3, 2013

If you are having trouble securing relevant work experience for this summer and are worried that working in a pub or at your local retail shop won’t help further your career, stop right there.

Although these two options seem detached from the high-powered world of graduate careers there is actually a lot that can be gained from them. And both can give valuable experience in transferable skills coveted by graduate employers.

For instance, in both jobs you will most likely work with different people. You will deal with other members of staff, managers and customers. For each of these groups you will find yourself adopting a different communication style. Without realising it you are developing your communications skills.

Your communication skills will be put to the test even further when you will be faced with difficult, unhappy individuals. Here you are required to listen to problems and communicate with them effectively how you are going to deal with the problem. Honing in on this skill will become very valuable for you in the future.

Dealing tactfully with customer concerns will also develop your problem-solving skills. You will learn how to be a little bit more persuasive perhaps, to negotiate better, or even influence the customer’s decision in order to reach a common ground agreement in the midst of conflict. Both communication and problem-solving are regular fixtures on most graduate recruiters’ wishlists. Having these handy examples from your part-time job will help demonstrate your abilities more effectively.

Your part-time job will also teach you how to work under pressure, whilst still maintaining an external calm façade. Did you take any steps in keeping customers happy whilst waiting in the queue without getting frazzled? Was there a particular stressful time that tested your patience and attitude? Keep a note of what you do in these situations so you don’t forget these experiences.

Thinking of ideas to improve the customer experience, and participating in staff meetings with helpful suggestions, will also show that you can work well within a team and have initiative. Initiative is a sign of a motivated, focussed individual who is able to present ideas in a professional manner and is aware of the business needs.

Finally the mere fact that you have a part-time job will show employers that you are a responsible, trustworthy individual. After all you could have spent all your summer lounging around the house, playing on your Xbox, and tanning (weather permitting). Instead you took on some extra responsibility. This shows good self-management, which also involves being punctual, getting work done on time, being flexible and self-motivated.

Employers sometimes complain that this is an area which graduates frequently fall down on, so make sure you use your pub or retail experience to show that you can be trusted to get a job done quickly and effectively.

If you liked this article why not have a look at what skills you can gain from temping, telesales and how to balance study with part-time job on our site,

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