Five Surprising Part-Time Jobs That Will Prepare You For Work After College

Whether you're hoping to be an accountant, an elementary teacher or a public relations specialist, you may find it hard to get a job related to your future career while you're still in college. No need to fret - the experiences you get now in a part-time job really do matter, even if they're not related. Here's a list of worthy part-time gigs for college students, and how they really provide you with more than a little food and gas money. Note that it's often the less-glamorous jobs that give you the strongest experiences.

  1. Waiter/Waitress. Many employers love to hire folks with waiting experience because they have learned to work hard and fast, and have exceptional customer service skills. Learning how to deal effectively with angry or impatient customers in the local burger joint actually translates well to dealing with upset parents (for teachers) or patients (medical services). 
  2. Market Researcher. Okay, so maybe you hate getting those phone calls during dinner when people want to ask you just a few questions. But actually working on the dialing end for a few months is superb preparation for sales or leadership down the road. How? You've practiced constant verbal communication, being perpetually outgoing, and not taking rejection personally. That's exactly what college presidents and CEOs do everyday.
  3. Babysitter. This is a job with serious responsibility - so don't do this if you don't genuinely love kids. But strong experience in this area can demonstrate reliability, nurturing, and patience. These skills easily translate to careers in teaching and nursing, but also to other social science areas, such as counseling. Up those credentials even more with CPR certification.
  4. Marketing Intern. If you are interested in public relations, marketing, or related areas, your best bet is to get into a part-time position where you can demonstrate your talent. This area is very competitive, and may require you to possibly take on an unpaid internship initially. Volunteer to write press releases or handle social media work. It's tough to find people with strong creativity, and if you do this job well, you will have a very strong advantage in the job market upon graduating.
  5. Tech Help-Desk. Many colleges employ students to work on various help desks. This work will quickly ramp up your technology skills as well as customer service skills. This job will enhance your preparation for a career in information systems or instructional design.
Another benefit of these lower-wage positions is that you're less likely to get derailed from college and graduation. In other words, some college students take jobs that actually pay too well and are too time consuming, and end up prioritizing an unintended career without passion over education.


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