Most employers require experience in addition to a degree, and working while at university puts you in a much better position when it comes to finding a graduate job. It allows you to practise for the “real world”. This is a good way to develop relationships and make contacts to secure full-time employment upon graduation.
The university offers quite a number of part-time opportunities as student/lecturer assistants, laboratory assistants, work-integrated learning (WIL) opportunities, supplementary instruction (SI) leaders, etc. Working on campus is extremely helpful, because it entails flexible hours and is organised, so you can manage both your work and studies.
This experience can be the difference between you and the candidate without any experience. It shows employers that you have made use of opportunities to improve your employability skills, and you can showcase these skills and experience on your CV.
The Careers Officer asked students who worked part-time how they developed during the time they worked. Their responses were as follows:
How will you describe your growth during your part-time job?
- In the beginning I felt unsure of myself. I felt out of place and thought I would not make it. Now I am confident in my abilities. I am not afraid of challenges.
- I have grown from being an individual to learning to work in a team.
- I have grown completely – academically and as a person.
- I know how to handle confidential information and difficult situations.
- I have learned to work faster and more effectively.
- I have become more independent and do things by myself; I am no longer a follower.
What was the most difficult part of working while you were studying?
- Managing my time was the most difficult part of working while studying.
- Coping with the workload and passing all my subjects at the same time.
- I had no time for relaxation or socialising with my friends.
- I experienced much more pressure, and had to work extra hard to get everything done.
What skills did you develop/improve from this experience?
- Good communication skills;
- Liaising skills;
- Organising skills;
- Team work;
- Working with people;
- Working under pressure; and
- Time-management skills.
What opportunities did this position give you?
- I am open to more challenges.
- Working hard to get what you want to achieve.
- I had the opportunity to market myself to different companies.
- Getting exposure in the workplace.
- Networking opportunities, and to meet and communicate with other employers.
What advice on job preparation will you give to other students?
- Despite of what anyone says – do not allow “I give up” to be in your vocabulary.
- Embrace what makes you unique, even if it makes others uncomfortable.
- Know what you wish to achieve, write it down and do not just dream about it.
- Make sure you plan well – it can become your success or your failure point.
- Have a positive attitude and be prepared for whatever comes your way.
- Do not wait until your last year to start job hunting.
- Attend workshops, and read more about trends in the job market.
- Ask question and volunteer to gain experience.
- Find out about the different services offered by the university.
Article prepared by the Careers Office
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