UM Today UM Today University of Manitoba UM Today UM Today UM Today
News from
UM Today Network

Students: Unlock the hidden potential of skills gained from your part-time job!

You are already gaining related employability skills throughout your current part-time job!

November 16, 2023 — 

How do I gain the skills needed for my future career, post-graduation?

Throughout University, you may find yourself in a job that seems completely ‘unrelated’ to the field you want to be in… This may feel frustrating and hopeless as you want to gain experience that will make you more employable to future employers regarding your career path.

The key is you are already gaining related employability skills throughout your current part-time job! According to the Conference Board of Canada, there are four categories of employability skills that are typically listed in job postings as “qualifications” or “requirements”.

The employability skills categories include:

  • Fundamental skills: the basis and foundation of your skills. This includes how to:
    • communicate, manage information, think and solve problems, use digital tools.
  • Social and emotional skills: your ability to manage emotions and build relationships.
    • This can be further broken down into, active listening, resilience, flexibility.
  • Personal management skills: your personal behaviors and attitudes, including how you can:
    • demonstrate positive attitudes and behaviors, and be responsible, adaptable, and learning constantly.
  • Teamwork skills: your work with others and collaboration, including.
    • participation in projects and tasks

Now that you know these global or foundational competencies employers are looking for, you can reflect on the applicable skills you have built throughout your current job – whether it is retail, the restaurant industry or physical labor.

Here are some specific examples of employability skills used in a customer service retail job

Employability skill This skill looks like… You use this skill by…
Active listening Listen attentively when someone else is speaking Clarifying your understanding by asking more questions or summarizing what the other person has said.  Not interrupting customers when they are speaking. 
Demonstrate positive attitudes and behaviors Anticipate and respond to the needs of others Taking initiative to greet customers in a timely matter and offer assistance
Manage information Organizing information
using technology
Accurately inputting customer transactions into a sales system

Now, it’s your turn: take time to reflect on how you have applied these and other skills in your current job.

If you are struggling to reflect on how you have developed or applied these skills in your work (or volunteer roles), write a detailed breakdown of your workday.  This way, you can work backwards and use the tasks you performed to assess what skills were utilized.  The Conference Board of Canada has an employability skills toolkit you can use to reflect on the skills mentioned above.

For support with skills reflection for your job search, resumé development or interview preparation, utilize the services offered through your UM Career Services office!

, , , ,

© University of Manitoba • Winnipeg, Manitoba • Canada • R3T 2N2

Emergency: 204-474-9341