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What Having a Part-Time Job Can Do for You

Three benefits that come with your part-time job.

Kathryn Knight Randolph

January 10, 2020

What Having a Part-Time Job Can Do for You
There is very likely only one thing that you’re looking for out of your part time job: a paycheck. However, there is more to a part-time job than the money you make at the end of the day, though it may take months or even years for those results to materialize. Essentially, you’ll find that a part time job has short-term benefits as well as long-term benefits. And we’re not talking health care or 401K benefits. We’re talking about foundational, career-building lessons and skills that will mold you as a professional. In many cases, these learned traits are invaluable and contribute to the longevity and success of your career. As you search for and work part time jobs, keep these three benefits in mind, as they will pay off for you in the future.

Work Experience

First and foremost, a part time job provides the work experience that high school, college and post-graduate students so desperately need. After all, work experience is what gets your resume noticed and your foot in the door for an interview. A part time job will prepare you for the structure of a workplace, like how to work under a supervisor and with co-workers, as well as how to be professional regardless of the environment. Furthermore, the day-to-day circumstances will teach you how to think and act like an employee. Whether you work with clients or behind-the-scenes, you’ll be developing real work skills that will translate to every job thereafter. Though you may roll your eyes at the prospect of flipping burgers and its impact on your post-collegiate career, that type of job is teaching you how to function effectively in a fast-paced work environment on a team that is hoping to succeed together. If your first job is in retail, your experience is a little different. You’re getting face time with clients and learning to navigate how to interact with all kinds of people in different scenarios, from the customer with a complicated order to the client that just has a bad attitude toward you. These jobs may not seem like a big deal to you at the time; but again, they are teaching you invaluable lessons that will help to shape your professional career.

Life Skills

In addition to growing professionally, part time jobs can contribute significantly to your personal growth. You’ll develop lifetime skills that will help you not only as a professional but as a student and overall human being. For instance, part time employees need to be able to compartmentalize and balance multiple tasks at once.
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It's also a great way to develop time management skills as well as to practice engaging with other people, whether that means customers and clients or co-workers on your team. Finally, part time employees will learn self-management and self-motivation, which enable you to learn how to take responsibility for yourself and your work. These happen to be some of the lifetime skills that won’t just have a tremendous impact on your long-term career path; you’ll see the results immediately. Being a student requires quite a bit of compartmentalizing, time management and self-motivation. You spend long hours in classes, paying attention to instructors and taking notes, as well as even longer hours in the library or your dorm room translating those notes to research papers, presentations and study guides. On top of your academic life, you likely have other things happening, like extra-curricular activities, self-care and being social. Balancing your school life with your social life can be stressful, but with diligent time management and compartmentalization, you can do this successfully. That’s where your self-motivation comes in. Just like in your part time job, you have to improve yourself, encourage yourself and support yourself.

Post-Graduate Opportunities

It may seem a little premature to be thinking about your post-graduate job when you’re in high school or in the first few years of college, but every job you take between now and graduation is a stepping stone to that first real job. The skills you learn matter, the kind of employee you are matters, and sometimes, the kind of job you take matters. Your first part time job could provide invaluable experience as you interview for your first post-graduate job. Your past supervisors and managers can also serve as references on your character and work ethic. And for some lucky part time employees, their first job could be with the organization they’ve been working with the past few years, and it’s a natural flow from working part time to landing a real, full-time job. It also provides you with some real-life know-how, like managing money and paying taxes. If your part time job comes with health care benefits, you have a major advantage in learning how to sign up for whatever plan fits your life best after college. While these types of skills may seem tedious at first, they are setting you up for real life success in the future – not just job success. While working part time can start out as a means to a paycheck, it can be so much more than that. Hopefully, you will come out of the experience with skills that not only translate to the life you’re currently living but also to the life you hope to live after college. However, like most things in life, it is what you make it. So make it count!
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