Are you worried that your entry-level job just doesn’t show your potential? Are you concerned that having something like lifeguarding, fast food service, or working part-time at a summer resort might not help you stand out when it comes time to landing a “real” job? Think again. The skills that many employers really really want can be learned in jobs just like these — the trick is figuring out how to showcase these skills on your resume so prospective employers can get a sense of your true talent.
Having some experience (no matter what it is) is far preferable to having none at all — 91% of employers preferring their candidates to have work experience according to a recent job outlook report from NACE. And the younger you are when you gain experience, the more you’ll stand out from the herd — just 20% of high schoolers are employed, according to a survey from Child Trends, which means even “menial” summer job experience can give you a leg up. The trick is knowing how to sell yourself and showcase the experience you’ve gained. Donald Asher, author and careers expert says it’s time to get creative with your work experience… Because who doesn’t like to promote themselves just a little bit?
Communication Is Key
With the pandemic, many of us suffered from a lack of opportunities to communicate, since our in-person socialization opportunities were limited. If you’re a solid communicator and you have experience chatting as expertly on email as you do in person, it’s time to tout those skills on your resume. Make sure you let future employers know that you’re a clear and professional communicator who has experience chatting with everyone from customers to the “big boss.”
Customer Service Skills
Have you expertly dealt with a “Karen” on occasion? Is being nice and or “putting out fires” your specialty? It’s likely that customer service is an important skill you may have learned in your first job. Don’t be afraid to state in your resume and in your cover letter that you’ve been able to brave the waters of unhappy customers — thanks to your patience and dedication.
Office Manager, Reporting For Duty
You might not think much of the months you spent sorting through (likely boring) paperwork and filing important documents, but don’t take those seemingly basic skills for granted — every paper you filed required good organizational skills, and you had to be aces with time management or those tasks could easily take you all day. J.T. O’Donnell, Founder and CEO of Work It Daily, explains that her first job working in her dad’s office helped build the skills she uses to run her own company today. Administrative tasks, such as scheduling or answering the phones can mean that you’re comfortable performing high-responsibility tasks without hesitation — like leading a business meeting or presenting a pitch. You got this!
How To Display It All On Your Resume
No, you won’t be keeping your time working as a part-time admin on your resume forever, but you will be taking those skills you learned with you for the rest of your career — and you can (and should!) keep the skills you gained highlighted on your resume for years to come.
The so-called “soft skills” such as time management and teamwork can be shown to a prospective boss in an interview, as well as on a resume and cover letter, says O’Donnell. And don’t discount other skills you’ve gained, such as manning the cash register — they might prove useful, too. Take a deep dive into the jobs you’re applying for and see exactly what they’re looking for. If you’re applying for a manager position at a restaurant, for example, and will be expected to run a POS terminal, bingo! That cash register experience is going to come in really handy. Next time you have to update your resume or turn in a job application, keep all your skills in mind so that you can give your resume the life and potential it deserves.
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