Whether you are in college with one class at a time or can’t quite afford to go to college right now, you can exploit the skills you use in your socially deemed bad job. You are using skills right now, whether you’re a waitress, a cashier, construction site cleaner, or a janitor (which, by the way, isn’t such a bad paying job in some places). The trick is to learn what you can and effectively document these skills while you are doing your job.
Here are some reasons you are probably working there in the first place:
-You needed to make money to support your family and didn’t have a college degree or technical skill to get you one of the more desirable jobs.
-You are going to college, but need to have a job for those pesky things such as groceries, gas, electricity, and rent/mortgage.
-You have a college degree, but it seems completely useless in the area in which you live, and because you can’t find a job in video game design (or whatever your degree is), you are going broke; can’t afford to move; and you need to make some money.
Okay, so you maybe you have other reasons for working the job you are working. None the less, it would be nice if you could make a bit more. You probably want a job with better hours, and definately some benefits would help. Don’t think of yourself as being trapped. Think of yourself as moving up. Here’s how.
Tips for Exploiting your Low-Income Job
– First, do a job search to find which jobs are available that don’t require college degrees. Look at their job descriptions and pay attention to how they might relate to your own job. For example, if you are a cashier, and the job is looking for someone with experience in sales with good people skills, keep track of how many in-store cards you’ve sold to customers, and explain how many customers you’ve greeted on a daily basis. It isn’t so much the job, per se, that will give you a leg up, but it’s more that your prosepctive employer can see how you can apply skills you’ve gained in other jobs. Effectively communicate these skills and you’re ahead of the game.
-Keep track of numbers. As was mentioned in the tip above, if you start keeping track of things now, you will have numbers to put on your resume. How many customers did you have on a daily basis? How much money did you handle on a daily basis? How many times did you make “employee of the month?” How many cards or special incentives were you responsible for selling?
-Get some letters of reccomendation from co-workers as well as your employer. This process starts pretty early. No matter how much of a micro-manager your boss is, keep on good terms with him or her. If she’s yelling at you about how many sugars are on the table, and you have been too slammed to fill them, simply say, “I’m right on it,” even if you have seventeen customers waiting for you. Don’t stop doing what you are doing, but reassure your boss that what he or she is saying is just as important to you as it is for him or her. In short, respond corgially, even though you know you can’t get to it right away. When all settles down, you can tell your boss, “Whoa, I was pretty busy. I was worried about those sugars getting too low with all those customers too. I was pretty swamped with hungry customers and wanted to keep them happy. I came up with a system to keep that from happening again.” Or, you can ask your boss for suggestions. Don’t freak out at your boss, ever. You boss is probably just as stressed as you are. You want this person to be on your side when you need to get another job. By the way, also be sure to give your boss plenty of warning that you are leaving, and be sure to let him or her know why you are moving on.
-Get some extra training at your job. Whether you are working at a pet shop or a restaurant, there are plenty of things you can learn about the way a business is run. Of course, you can brush up on your typing skills at home, Etc, but asking your boss for other ways you can help out will not only put you in for better pay at your current job, but can give you the advantage when you go elsewhere for employment.
-Network. The customers that you serve could possibly be your next employers. Make your face known by going the extra mile for you customers where you work right now. If they see how hard you work now, you might be remembered when you walk into their office for a job interview.
-Look the part. Of course, certain jobs demand a less than well-coifed attire to do them well; however, keepin up a professional appearence can help you get noticed by employers in your current job, as well as those customers who may be hiring for great positions. Looking the part of a professional doesn’t just mean wearing a business suit and dress shoes, which again, may not be appropriate for your current job. You need to keep a professional disposition as well. Being courteous, speaking well, and refraining from superflouse potty words will get you much further than being liberal with your actions. If you are working in a supermarket as a cashier, for example, wear comfortable shoes, but keep your general attire more in line with what your managers wear. Also, no matter how mundane your job may be, try to always keep the appearance of being busy and trying to accomodate the customers in a quick manner. Try to look as though you own the place, but don’t get egotistical. Look like you own the place by being concerned about how the customers are being treated and by being concerned about following the protocol of the work place.
-Use other skills of yours at work, if only to add them to your resume. If you’re good with computer networking, and you help the management staff with an unexpected computer glitch, put it on your resume!! You have witnesses! If you are bi-lingual and use that when dealing with customers or with staff members, use that to your advantage on your resume.
-Write everything you do in your job on paper. You’ll need this information when you write your resume or when someone else writes it for you.
-Don’t count out having a resume done for you. It will cost you some money, but it can be well worth it depending on the job for which you are applying. Be prepared before you do that, though.