For many recent graduates, life may not be going exactly as planned. The rocky job market has many wondering when they'll put their education to use at a real, full-time job. But rather than accept unemployment until things turn around, they should consider taking a part-time position.
There are a number of reasons recent grads should look more seriously at part-time jobs. Chief among them is money. It never hurts to have a little income, and it'll get your parents off your back. Student loan debts may be due soon, plus the sooner you're able to start saving money, the sooner you'll be able to move out of your parents' house. Not to mention that having an active social life requires cash.
Filling a résumé gap
But the benefits go much deeper than funding weekend partying and staving off financial problems. A part-time job shows prospective employers that you can take life seriously and be proactive. Employers may question gaps in a candidate's résumé, especially ones that stretch over a long period of time. Show employers that you're responsible by taking a part-time job to help pay off your student loans while looking for more permanent employment.
Gaining experience in your field of interest
When researching part-time positions, look for ones that would give you experience in your desired field and possibly introduce you to professional contacts that may be useful down the road. For many employers, a candidate's prior experience is an important factor, and professional referrals remain one of the most trusted and widely used methods among hiring managers for filling vacancies. A part-time job in a related field is often more beneficial than a full-time position in an unrelated one.
Even if your part-time job isn't in your desired field, it is still a good way to round out a résumé, as well as prove you're a driven self-starter. It may also lead to letters of recommendation, which will be invaluable in your job search.
Improving time-management and organization skills
Taking a part-time job will also help in your quest to find sustainable employment in less-direct ways, such as improving your time management. With nothing to do each day but fill out the odd job application and make a phone call or two, it's easy for an unemployed job seeker to get distracted and disorganized. A part-time job can help create structure that is likely to spill over into the rest of your life and prepare you for a full-time schedule.
A part-time job makes a great transition into the hustle and bustle of the daily work force. So, while it may not be what you originally wanted, any chance to put yourself to work, fill résumé gaps and build worthwhile experience should be looked at as an opportunity.
Matthew Tarpey is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job seeker blog, TheWorkBuzz.com.
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