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Choosing the Right Part-time Job in College

Oct 11, 2007
Fast-food restaurants, retail outlets, and movie theatres are all common places of employment for many college students. Though these places may be fun hangout spots for the who's who of the college community, is it the best part-time employment choice students can make to increase their competitiveness when applying for full-time employment after graduation?

Every industry, be it fast-food or retail, can provide valuable experience and job qualifications to college students. Basic qualities such as being dependable, being responsible, and being a reliable worker can be acquired or enhanced in almost any industry. But potential employers are not recruiting for individuals with only the basic employment skills. Employers also value knowledge, skills, and abilities that are specific to their industry. Hence, while in college, students should put more emphasis on obtaining a part-time position that is as closely related to their desired future careers as possible.

There are ways to match part-time jobs with its full-time counterpart. On one hand, students may set out to find a part-time job that will gain them specific job qualifications, no matter what the industry is. On the other hand, students may set out to gain non-specific job qualifications in a select industry.

Job qualifications are skills and abilities that, if possessed by an applicant, qualify that applicant to fill a particular position. Part-time jobs in college are great opportunities for students to increase their employability after graduating by gaining some job specific qualities. For example, what if a student's career goals include teaching underprivileged students? That student's experience at a movie theater will not make much of an impression on the hiring principal. But by taking a different path by accepting a part-time job mentoring or tutoring academically challenged students would be an asset that many principals will value when considering filling a teaching position for such students.

Both positions, the mentoring and the movie theater, do not require any previous experience. It is just a matter of selecting a job that will come in handy in the future, when students want to get serious and start their careers.

Also, looking for employment opportunities in a particular industry can be a good move on the students' part when preparing for their careers. But choosing an industry specific job may not yield immediate desired job qualifications, as job ranges are wide. For example, a student that is interested in working in the computer industry as a software designer may be very interested in taking a mail room position at Microsoft.

The qualifications gained in the mail room are completely different from the qualifications desired for a position as a software designer. But with the position in the mail room, other skills and insider knowledge can give a competitive edge over outside competitors.

When applying for a job, students must be mindful of their long-term career goals. If a student plans on making his/her career in retail, maybe a job at Macy's would not be such a bad idea. But for those students who plan to enter a career in the law industry upon graduation may be better off taking a part-time job at the local courthouse or law office.
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Jimmy Walker is the founder of CitePlanet.com . Find thousands of quality citations from books, periodicals, and electronic sources.
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