By Kate Doolan

Finding a job that directly relates to your field of study can be particularly challenging as an undergraduate student, especially in the field of Media and Communications. Requiring funds to get themselves through their studies, many students work part time or casual jobs in retail, hospitality, customer service, admin and other fields of work that are often unrelated to their degrees. A huge misconception about working casual jobs outside of your faculty of learning is that they cannot prepare you with the necessary skills for a postgraduate career.

However, nearly every single casual job has the ability to provide students with essential skills that can be transferred directly into any field of work and applied to create an impressive resume. Here are just four key skills that can be learnt in almost any casual job, and utilised in a career in Media and Communications:

1. Time Management

Time management is a crucial skill in any field of work. Any student who has worked a casual job before knows the importance of being punctual (especially when you’re getting paid hourly!). Most casual jobs, especially those in retail and hospitality, require employees to be able to juggle multiple tasks at a time and to prioritise timing for said tasks. It may sound simple, but working with even the smallest level of responsibility still teaches the importance of meeting deadlines- an invaluable skill that can only be learnt through experience.

Knowing the importance of being punctual, how to time manage, prioritise tasks and meet deadlines are important skills to possess, particularly when pursuing a career in Media and Communications.  

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2. Interpersonal skills

Every single casual job requires at least some face time with employers, upper management, co-workers and usually customers. Through these interactions, crucial interpersonal skills can be taught. By learning how to work with people of different backgrounds; including various ages, management styles, attitudes and beliefs, your level of professionalism in the workplace are automatically increased. This is an important skill to list on your resume and discuss with potential employers in the field of Media and Communications.

3. Professional communication skills

Clearly, communicational skills are vital for those pursing a career in the Media and Communications industry. For those with no actual experience in the field, highlighting communicational skills learnt from other places of work is essential when applying for postgraduate jobs.

Through experience working with a diversity of personnel (as stated in skill #2), conflict resolution skills are often learnt. This could be as small as diffusing a disgruntled customer or compromising with a co-worker on set tasks; nonetheless, the ability to professionally communicate with those around you is an excellent skill to learn through working part time or casually whilst studying.

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4. Self presentation

Even casual jobs require a level of self presentation and demand employees to meet a level of standards when presenting themselves in the workplace. A casual job can teach you to learn to comply with dress codes and physical presentational standards, as well professional levels of behavioural conduct. This is vital for entering any workplace, particularly professional Media and Communications firms.

By learning each of these skills through part time and casual work in any field whilst studying, students are able to prepare themselves more aptly for postgraduate work. Time management, interpersonal and professional communication skills, along with self presentation, are all necessary traits for a successful career in media and communications.

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