Small job, big pay off

Your job has nothing to do with the career you’ve got your eye on? Not to worry, you’re sure to develop useful skills that will help you land a “real” job!

“Student jobs are great for developing personal skills,” says Mathieu Guénette who is a consultant at Société Pierre Boucher, a firm that specializes in organizational psychology. The skills you develop working behind a cash register or at a summer camp can even make up for a lack of relevant experience when looking for a job after graduation. The most important skills to cultivate include organizational skills, ability to adapt, sense of responsibility, independence and team spirit.

Organizational skills

“Juggling school, work, family and a social life requires good management abilities,” states Mr. Guénette. Employers look for people who know how to manage their time and handle several projects at once.

Ability to adapt

Working at different jobs, you learn how to adapt to different tasks and co-workers. Being able to adapt will then help you solve problems and deal with unexpected events. Julie Martin, career counsellor at Carrefour jeunesse-emploi in the Eastern Townships, gives an example. “The printer is jammed. Should I stop working or call a technician?”

Sense of responsibility

Feel the need to tie up loose ends at the end of the work day? In doing so, you make life a little easier for your co-workers. “Responsible people are better at understanding how their work affects others,” Mrs. Martin believes. For example, a responsible cabinet maker won’t put off cutting the wood that someone else needs for a piece of furniture.

Independent worker

Just because the cat’s away, doesn’t mean the mice can play! “Employers are looking for people who don’t always need to be told what to do,” says Christine Cuerrier, career counsellor at the Université du Québec à Montréal.

Team spirit

According to Julie Martin, being a team player will help you maintain a good relationship with your co-workers and prevent conflicts. A great way to develop your people skills is to get a job at a summer camp and plan children’s activities with the other counsellors. Later in life, it will feel natural to share your ideas and knowledge with colleagues.