In each role you have throughout your career, you’ll learn new skills to add to your résumé — even in a part-time job. There are many different skills you can master while working part time, be it through a job as a student or a job that works around other commitments.
But what specific skills can you learn while working part time? In this article, we’ll cover 15 skills you can learn on the job.
This is a big one. Every job you have will involve some form of communication. Whether it’s face-to-face in a retail position or virtually as IT support, you’re going to have to communicate with others. When you’re working part time, you have the opportunity to flex your communication skills as you interact with coworkers and customers alike.
Communication is the key to being successful, so working on this skill early on in your career will push you forward and help you to make connections that will benefit you in the future.
2. Time management
If you’re not used to having a set schedule, working part time can help you establish a routine. Time management is crucial as you progress through your career, so working out how to manage your schedule and, ultimately, get things done is a great skill to have. Employers hate it when things aren’t delivered on time (or you’re late to work!), so learning to manage your time (and be on time) is another great benefit of working part time.
3. Customer service
If your ultimate career goal in the long term is to work in a customer-based role, you’ll need to improve your customer service skills, and there’s no better way than to dive in the deep end and interact with customers while you’re working. You’ll begin to learn how to handle difficult customers and give them the best service you can.
Some people find adaptability difficult, as they don’t cope well with change, but if you take on a part-time role, you get a chance to observe, learn and adapt as things change within the company. It will also give you the opportunity to ask questions and allow you to think on your feet.
Unfortunately, things don’t always go to plan, so being able to adapt and change course is a great skill to have.
Working, in any capacity, means you have to learn to be dependable. If your coworkers are relying on your contribution to a project, you need to follow through and get it done. This is a great soft skill to have, as your managers and coworkers will appreciate someone they can depend on when things are tough and they need a helping hand.
If you prove you’re dependable, it will help you build trust with your coworkers and managers, and it will make you less of a risky hire when you want to move on in your career.
By improving your interpersonal skills, you’ll make it easier for your peers and superiors to feel confident in your abilities. Working part time will give you the opportunity to foster strong connections with the people around you, as well as with the company’s customer base.
Having strong interpersonal skills means you use active listening with others and communicating with people around you in an empathetic way.
7. Emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence requires you to self-analyze and adapt. Once you learn to understand your reactions to certain situations, you can adapt them moving forward. It will also help you to be more empathetic, which is another sought-after skill.
By improving your emotional intelligence, you’ll become a better team player, as you learn and adapt to others’ working styles. Good Therapy, meanwhile, also suggests that you can better “manage work-related stress, solve conflicts within workplace relationships, and learn from previous interpersonal mistakes.”
Every day at work, you’ll face new challenges and problems. This gives you the perfect opportunity to improve your problem-solving skills. Whether it’s helping a customer find an item that’s out of stock or troubleshooting an IT issue, it’s a skill that will benefit you in the future.
The clichéd phrase “think outside the box” really does come into play when you’re solving problems. If something isn’t working the way it’s always been done, it’s time to think of a solution to make it work moving forward. How rewarding that it could be you that solves a company’s problem?
Sometimes, you might be faced with a situation where you have to be assertive. For example, if a customer is trying to return an item without a receipt, you need to be assertive and explain the company’s policy on returning items. As long as you do it in the right way, there’s nothing wrong with sticking to your guns and telling them the process.
Being assertive actually reduces stress, as you’ll feel more in control of situations and be able to stand up for your point of view in certain situations while being respectful of other people’s beliefs.
We’re faced with situations every day where we need to make a decision, whether that’s choosing what you want for lunch or choosing a particular image for a marketing campaign. When you’re working part time, these decisions have real-time consequences, so putting your decision-making skills to work is important. Plus, you’ll get to learn from any wrong decisions. Many jobs require employees to be confident in making decisions, as the wrong one could cost them money, so getting some practice in this area is a great benefit.
If you’re used to being a bit of a lone wolf, working part time will help you branch out and get used to working in a team. Learning how to work well in a team will benefit you throughout your career, as you’ll be used to collaborating and working with others. Another benefit of this is that you could learn new skills from your team — it’s a win-win situation. You work in a team to ease the pressure of completing a project and learn new skills along the way.
12. Stress management
You don’t want to go through your working life being stressed at work, so learning how to deal with your stress early on in your career is the best way to avoid future job burnout. Working a part-time job gives you the opportunity to experience stress and figure out ways to effectively combat it so you can move forward with a happier mindset.
If you want to move up the career ladder and land a leadership role in the future, you can begin learning some important leadership skills in a part-time role (as long as you’re not stepping on any toes). If you’re in a more senior part-time role, the management skills you’re gaining will look great on your résumé when it comes to applying for full-time work.
Depending on the part-time work you’re doing, you’ll be able to practice and improve your organizational skills. If you’re working for a marketing agency, for example, you’ll be responsible for organizing and scheduling marketing campaigns and ads on different platforms. This first-hand experience will definitely be attractive to potential employers in the future.
15. Work ethic
Gaining a good work ethic will definitely stand you in good stead as you progress through your career. Understanding and appreciating the complexities of a business and how it’s run will make you appreciate your role and your contributions. Seeing your hard work pay off is another benefit, which will ultimately make you feel accomplished.
There are so many things you can gain from part-time work. Not only the skills you’ll learn, but also the different situations you’ll encounter that will improve your understanding of the business world. These employability skills will look great on your résumé and will show hiring manager’s that you’re not afraid to get stuck in and to learn new skills.
Even if you gain some virtual work experience, you’ll still learn many of the skills discussed in this article, as you’ll still work within a team, have to manage your time, organize projects and take part in many other things that come with being employed.
What other skills can you develop with a part-time job? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
Originally published on September 6, 2016.