How to Add Value to a Part-Time Job

By: Kelsey Kretzer, Strategic Planning Committee Member

waitress-server-part-time-job-largeFor many of us, there’s a point when you realize that you need a job, not because you want to work, but because you need the money. Part-time jobs can be a bore, but they are extremely important stepping stones for the real world. Despite popular belief, you can make them worthwhile, and sometimes enough to boost or enhance your resume.

Fortunately in my case, I have been able to qualify my part-time job as an experience that has taught me about independence and leadership. I currently run and own my own business teaching art classes to the kids in my community. I teach fifty students, so I am constantly communicating with parents, mapping out business plans for supply costs, adapting to different ages and levels, and challenging myself as an artist.

But, you don’t need to run your own business to find a part-time job worthwhile. How do you do it? There are multiple steps to get started off on the right foot.

Take initiative. Jobs aren’t going to be handed to you, so it’s your responsibility to actively seek one out that you’re interested in. You want to show employers that you care about working and that you’re up for a challenge. More importantly, taking initiative defines your leadership skills and confidence level for future jobs.

Speak up. You’re not going to make an impact by just getting by at work. Interact with your boss, co-workers, and your customers. Talking to people is key to building connections and relationships, so the more you train yourself now, the better off you’ll be in later.

Ask questions. This is not a sign of weakness, but of curiosity and confirmation of instruction. Employers want to know that their workers are attentive, plus it’s better to ask for help when you’re unsure of what to do. I like to ask my students’ parents to confirm certain details, such as allergy-related concerns, in case of emergencies.

Always be prepared. Don’t be on time, be early. Punctuality is vital to your dedication at a job and it highlights your professionalism. Be prepared to work more or less than what you’re typically scheduled because hours can fluctuate from month to month and even week to week. Sometimes you might have to pick up an extra shift, or in my case, a student may want a private lesson.

Be consistent. Building a good rapport with your employer is essential for future references. Redundant as it may seem, your interaction with coworkers corresponds with your dedication to the company. You may be given the opportunity to work in various positions, which can teach you other technical skills. Consistency in routine and reliability is very important.

Go above and beyond. You may think that going above and beyond is useless since you’re just in it for the money, but you’re doing yourself a disservice through this mentality. By showing your employer that you’re willing to do more, like arriving early or picking up a busy shift, shows that you have a hard-working ethic. This, of course, is important for everything you do in the future.

These steps are not just confined to the success of part-time jobs; they are are applicable to internships and other job opportunities. Although I’m only a college student with minimal experience, I believe that the most important part about working is not focusing so much on the monetary value you earn, but what you personally earn for yourself. My students have impacted me as an artist and as a teacher. To me, their smiles are worth more than any paycheck. Having the ability to make this kind of impact for yourself and the people around you is an experience definitely worth including on your resume.

Image credit: Business News & Video

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