So you’re not in your dream job, yet. That’s okay! You will get there soon and work your magic, but until then value the experiences and skills you’ve learned at your past or present job. Every job teaches you skills that will be valuable in your long-term career, even customer service roles like sales associate, restaurant and cafe service and call-center positions provide excellent learning opportunities.
What’s important is your mindset and perspective towards the job. Here’s a list of skills and experiences that you can rethink and repurpose to prepare you for your dream job:
Coming in early to open the store = Punctuality
One of the most important skills that you will learn in an entry-level job is how to be punctual and reliable. Prioritizing your commitment to your job and your coworkers is going to be expected in your dream job. Employers need employees that they can count on every day. Start developing this skill early through your entry level job or even in school (don’t miss a lecture or be late to class), and it will help you advance your career.
Handling rude customers = Conflict resolution and de-escalation skills and experience
Conflict resolution experience and training happens on the job. From solving customer queries, to learning how to navigate around rude clients or co-workers, to getting your job done successfully — these are all different examples of potential conflict you may face. These experiences will teach you to keep calm, exercise tact and judgement and be open to new ideas in a corporate setting or wherever your dream job takes you!
Helping out a colleague with tasks at the store = Teamwork that makes the dream work.
Teamwork at any level in a career is important. Even CEO’s and Directors need the help of their team to make a project come to life, exceed expectations and run a successful business. They can’t do it all alone and neither can you.
In fact, practicing teamwork can be easy and rewarding. If you’re done with your tasks then offer a helping hand to a colleague. Does your colleague need help organizing the back room? Work with them and it will get done quicker. There are many small ways you can support your team members and these small offers of help go a long way.
Ultimately, you’re keeping your eyes on the bigger picture and that attitude towards your work will get noticed when you’re in your dream job.
Rearranging clothing racks = Organizational Skills
Organizational skills can be learned through basic tasks like arranging clothing racks, assembling cutlery, re-stocking grocery shelves, or even filing documents and taking phone calls in an entry-level administrative role. Such tasks train your brain to think differently.
Organizational skills are crucial in any job field, so next time you are asked to refold the new sweaters for the twentieth time, approach the job from a training perspective. How can you fold those sweaters most efficiently, while making it easy for customers to find what they are looking for. You don’t want to be wasting half an hour at your dream job panic searching your computer for that one very important document that your boss needs. Oh, and they needed it yesterday. Good organization will prepare you for moments of crisis.
Punched in the wrong order = Ability to take responsibility and ownership of actions
I used to wait tables at a small Thai restaurant during university, and when dinner rush was at its peak mistakes were inevitable. I made many of them. Someone ordered Red Chicken Curry and I accidentally punched in Yellow Chicken Curry instead. It’s okay, everyone makes mistakes, but it’s important to get in the habit of owning them and doing your best to fix them.
Many entry level positions can be demanding, often in high pressure and high performance environments. Your dream job will have moments of pressure as well but you can handle them like a pro because you learned how at an entry level role.
Here is a list of additional skills and experiences that you can rethink:
- Telemarketing = communication skills, negotiating, marketing, and sales
- Food delivery service = how to work efficiently, punctuality, task management, and problem solving skills
- Cashier = Communication, ability to work under high pressure, and problem solving skills
- Retail worker = sales, interpersonal skills, problem solving, and marketing, ability to meet quantifiable targets
- Serving tables = ability to work under high pressure, memorization and organizational skills, problem solving, conflict resolution, and interpersonal skills
- Fast Food worker = Teamwork, ability to work under high pressure, problem solving, and communication skills
- Campus Tour Guide = Presentation skills, memorization, interpersonal and communication skills, and marketing
What valuable skills have you learned at an entry level position? Share it with us on social media. Tag us @talentegg on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Linkedin and link to this article.