Part time work – developing and building your skills for internships

iStock_000012785263Small WaitressGaining part-time work during your studies can be both helpful to support yourself financially, but it can also be great to demonstrate a range of skills on your CV that are needed by employers including applying for work experience and internships.

As each experience you have brings opportunities to learn and develop skills, it is important to recognise the skills you do have and make the most of this during your applications. Even if your part time work is not directly related to the type of internship or work experience you would like to get, consider all the skills you have gained, and you will find some core skills in any part time job that transfer to other jobs including internships. Here are some examples of skills in one popular part time job:

If you work part time in a bar or restaurant then you can:

  • Serve customers to meet their requests
  • Work well together in a team under time pressure getting drinks or food orders out to customers
  • Have good communication skills to liaise with staff and customers
  • Have good telephone manner
  • The ability to be organised in your own work
  • Able to prioritise requests and solve problems and respond appropriately as they arise
  • Show ability to learn tasks quickly and demonstrate good practical skills.
  • Have the ability to show your numeracy and cash handling skills
  • Demonstrate good IT skills
  • Able to work flexibly on different shift patterns
  • Managerial/ team leader roles: involve leadership, people motivation/management and using analytical skills etc.

These are just a few skills and there may be more that you could identify from doing this part time work that could demonstrate your competence and transfer to internships in most sectors.

Some other examples of part time work that are popular with students and can fit around your studies can include:

  • Serving on a till in a supermarket
  • Inputting data and answering telephone calls
  • Selling products in a shop
  • Administrative work
  • Working in the library on campus

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However, this is not a complete list of opportunities available. Search and check CareersLink regularly for part time jobs and you will soon realise the range of work available.

Being proactive to find part time work or opportunities that help develop skills in areas you need more experience

When you have identified your skills from your current experience, you may also be able to identify any gaps where you need to gain experience or develop skills needed for the role in the sector you want to work in. This is a positive thing as you can  be proactive, research and plan how you can take action to find work opportunities that will start to fill any gaps and develop these skills whether experience in a related role within your sector of interest or in other areas. For example, if you need to develop management and leadership skills that can be useful for a number of graduate level roles, then consider what part time work is available that allows you to take some responsibility or become a team leader in some way, or show how you can manage a project or budget. Consider also opportunities on your course working with other students and within university societies or other hobbies.

Where do you start looking for help and find a part time job?

  • See our finding work webpages for information and advice and useful links
  • pop into Careers– staff will be able to provide support
  • Part time jobs board on CareersLink
  • Part time Jobs guide for information and advice – local shops and restaurants, recruitment agencies.

Local newspapers/ websites with regional jobs including The Manchester Evening News on a Thursday or online at Also in the Careers Resource Centre there is Jobs Northwest, or available at your local newsagents. There is also online Northwest jobs

The Jobs Centre in Rusholme or online at

Local Recruitment agencies for temporary or part time work – see our information on Recruitment agencies and also Agency Central. You could also research them online yourself.

Finally things to consider when looking for part time work:

  • What work can I fit around my studies?
  • How many hours am I allowed to do with my studies?  (especially relevant for international students)
  • What skills do I have and what jobs are there I can do?
  • How far am I willing to look for work and travel within the Manchester area?
  • Am I willing to look for different types of work? (examples: bar work, administration or telephone work)
  • Do I know how to tailor an application (CV/ covering letter/ application form) to each job I apply for?
  • Do I need support to know where to look for work or have my application checked? (speak to staff in the Careers Resource Centre for help)

Check out our website for guides on how to tailor your CV, Covering letter and application and booking an Applications Advice or guidance appointment.

2 responses to “Part time work – developing and building your skills for internships”

  1. Great blog. And a one stop shop for every student seeking to improve his / her employability!

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