Ready to Work? Landing Your First Part-Time Job

9 April 2018

Having no previous work experience may seem like a significant barrier to employment, but everyone has to start somewhere and embark on their first job. Potential employers use a record of work experience as one of the main predictors of your future performance, and without it, your resume is likely to fade out when placed next to competition.

A few years ago, I had difficulties landing my first part-time work, and felt discouraged after sending copies of resume and never hearing back. I imagined getting a part-time job as something easy and was surprised by having little to no responses. After a while, the realization that my efforts clearly yield no result prompted me to change my job hunting strategy.

Below are the steps I took to make my job search more effective and key takeaways from these experiences:

1. Evaluated my skills, resume and experience:  Just by skimming through my resume it became evident that, besides academics and some volunteering experience, my resume did not have much to offer.  All the transferrable skills listed were not supported by relevant experiences, which made it unconvincing and dull. Another major weakness of my resume and candidacy was a lack of the most sought after skill for the positions that I was applying for. I was seeking a job in retail because many part-time student jobs are in the retail sector, however, I did not possess the customer service experience that employers need.

Key Takeaway: Looking at your qualifications and resume through the employer’s perspective helps to identify areas of improvement and focus on what you should be working on.

2. Volunteer experience: I was determined to make the most of my time and started searching for volunteering positions. Volunteering is not only a great opportunity to help others, it also give you a chance to gain new experiences and challenge yourself, as well as meet new people and gain valuable skills. Volunteering roles helped me grow professionally, personally and helped me to gain confidence that I would be an effective and valuable employee in the future.

Key takeaway: Paid work is not the only way to develop transferrable skills and gain experience.

3. Searching online strategically:  To increase my chances of being selected I started searching for jobs on different job boards and applied to several employers. I also applied to jobs outside the search parameters of my favourite brands and apparel. I put a lot of effort into customizing my resume and d cover letters, which I sent even if they were optional.

Key takeaways:
  • Being too selective limits your job choices and new opportunities may arise when you leave your comfort zone.
  • Quality of your application package AND quantity of applications you send both play role in probability of you being hired.
My By developing a job search strategy I quickly landed my first part-time job

Main Takeaway: Job seekers need to strategically develop a job search to achieve their employment goals.

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