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Why employers LOVE candidates who have worked throughout high school and university
Over the last year I have had the opportunity to partner with a number of clients in sourcing talent for their graduate intake. When discussing the ideal candidate’s profile, the following points were highlighted: A great personality and positive attitude; Good soft skills (including communication, interpersonal and teamwork skills) and; A strong work ethic
These same clients have continued on to say that they appreciate when an individual has worked and studied simultaneously. Why is this? Reasons include teaching individuals about time management, organisation, leadership, teamwork, and customer service - which are all true - however the soft skills and experiential learning that comes with working part-time are so important and often overlooked by both high school and university graduates.
I began working casually at the age of 12. My parents operated their own business and I would help out every weekend to earn some extra pocket money. Continuing this throughout high school I also worked in retail part-time until graduating from high school. After taking a gap year to work and gain experience, I moved to Canberra to begin university life. While there, I also worked part-time whilst studying two degrees and maintaining a social life.
Working part-time from such a young age was hugely beneficial in my eyes – not only did it expose me to a variety of people, meaning I was able to begin to develop my interpersonal and communication skills earlier, but it also instilled in me the value of money, while providing a sense of independence and responsibility.
A study by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research found that for all tertiary students, being employed in the final year of study improves the chances of finding full-time employment, even three years after completing a course. Similarly, work experience also increases the likelihood of study completion for full-time students, possibly due to improved time management skills.
If you’re currently studying and considering working during this period of your life, below are four benefits, the outcomes of which, will stand you in good stead when it comes time to consider a career move.
1. Develop and enhance your soft skills
A 2015 survey of over 450 business managers and executives in the Western Sydney area found that the overwhelming majority of businesses cite soft skills such as team work (98%), time management (97%), and communication skills (95%) as being among the most vital skills for applicants to have. Moreover, a Deloitte study showed that demand for soft skills exceeds supply by up to 45%. Following this, because these soft skills expose elements of your personality, they can be useful in redefining career choices depending on what you find you enjoy or are good at.
2. Be exposed to the working world
While working part-time does not guarantee an advanced position within a company, it does provide insight into a particular industry and/or job type. For example, those working in the hospitality sector learn about the restaurant industry, receptionists manage a variety of tasks at one time and build on their organisational skills, call centre agents become well-experienced in customer service and so on.
The people you surround yourself and develop relationships with are the best people to have conversations regarding employment prospects and career direction; they will provide the foundations to your professional network. Remember, it’s all about who you know.
4. Further opportunities
I am a great believer in one thing leading to another. Who knows, perhaps the part-time position you are in could lead to an internship or a foot in the door to a leadership/management position that redefines your purpose and career aspirations.
While there are a range of benefits that come from working and studying simultaneously, I must point out that there needs to be a sensible balance. The recommendation for full-time students is 10-15 hours per week and anything over 12 hours while completing high school is said to have a negative effect on performance.
If you’re currently studying and considering working during this period of your life, there are several benefits that will stand you in good stead when it comes time to consider a career move:
· Develop and enhance your soft skills
· Be exposed to the working world
· Develop professional networks
· Create further job opportunities