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Part-time jobs in college can bolster resumes

By Erin Diehl 

Abby Tucker, a third-year student at the University of Georgia, has had two part-time jobs and a weekly volunteer shift.

“I was thinking about getting a job because I needed some way to fill my time and it would be good to make some money,” Tucker said.

Tucker, who previously worked as a hostess at Five Bar in downtown Athens, Georgia, currently cleans the Strength And Strike Fitness gym three times per week Additionally, she volunteers weekly at St. Mary’s Hospital.

The biology major discovered her part-time jobs through word-of-mouth and social media. Though her part-time jobs have not related to her major, Tucker believed the skills she obtained will be helpful in a future professional setting.

At Five Bar, she said she was able to speak up for herself and display more confidence. In conjunction with her Strength and Strike job, Tucker built her resume with extracurricular work experience.

“I think it just shows I was involved in something besides academics,” Tucker said. “It shows incentive and time management.”

Will Lewis, the associate director of employer relations and communications at the UGA Career Center, agreed that part-time positions give students “transferable skills” that benefit a postgraduate role even when they are not directly related to a student’s major.

“A lot of part-time jobs, even though they may feel or can seem mundane or so-called ordinary, they’re teaching you things like patience, or teaching you customer service and interaction,” Lewis said. “You’re not going to necessarily learn that in a classroom.”

Lewis said networking from part-time jobs can also lead to future positions as the relationships fostered during these jobs could lead to potential references that speak to the student’s character.

Tucker said her volunteer experience at St. Mary’s provided some first-hand experience to learn about her future field, and Lewis acknowledge that such exposure to a career setting is something that many students look for when searching for part-time employment.

“If it’s possible, then absolutely try to build some experience that might be content relevant to what it is that you’re wanting to do long-term, but it’s not a requirement,” Lewis said.

The College Board wrote that employment while in school shows a student self-assurance, accountability, and life lessons. By establishing an early interest in an area of research and being able to communicate or manage time, students can be more successful in future endeavors, it said.

Undergraduates at UGA and other institutions may rely on part-time salaries, but a study by an education center at Georgetown University found the time commitment can seep into a student’s studies. Research has shown that this disproportionately influences low-income individuals, despite opportunities at career centers being applied to all. To combat this, hiring members implemented equal employment opportunities.

The UGA Career Center has drop-in hours, mentorship programs, and full and part-time career fairs to assist those looking for employment. The center also hosts resume and cover letter workshops and seminars to educate students about obtaining work. The center also encourages students to connect with people they know as it found that 40% to 50% of Bulldogs use their personal connections to find part-time employment.

Lewis advised students taking a part-time job to understand what they are signing on for so that they can make the most of the opportunity.

“So, it does reflect the level of skill set,” he said. “But it also reflects a level of trust that has been instilled in you to get a job done and that’s empowering for future employers.”

 

Erin Diehl is a journalism student at the University of Georgia  

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