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Is Part-Time Worth The Time? Turning ‘Random’ Jobs Into Relevant Experience

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Toronto MU chapter.

“Is this a good place to work?” is a question I hear far too often. One might take it as a compliment, seeing that I have a lot of experience, but I saw it as a setback for the longest time. 

While my friends and family members were out working full-time jobs, getting paid $17-$20 an hour, I was hopping between part-time jobs, thinking there was no way out. 

Working at so many places wasn’t intentional, but unfortunately, moving to the city for university means you can’t always work at your fun movie theatre job that gives you as many hours as you want.

It also means increased competition in the job field with fewer openings. With little time on my hands and plenty of rent to pay, there were only so many jobs I could apply for. 

I’ve worked at a total of seven different places. From family companies to seasonal positions, I’ve never kept a contract longer than six to seven months — the majority of which I ended on good terms. 

Despite gaining so much knowledge in different industries, there’s still something on my mind telling me I’m wasting my time. As I inch towards graduation, I keep asking myself, “Is this enough experience? Is it even applicable to a job within journalism?”

The answer, at least in my opinion, is yes. Even for jobs with the worst working conditions, the answer is yes and here’s why:

1. You Learn The Basics

Simply put, part-time jobs are the best environment to learn in.

Though they can be fast-paced, frustrating and sometimes a little bit messy, they will ensure you have the basic skills section of your resume down pat. 

Working part-time means you’re never alone. From coworkers to managers, you’re almost always working on a team. It also means that you have to follow the company’s set of rules and regulations, and when all else fails, you have to either talk to someone about it or solve the problem yourself. 

Teamwork, communication and problem-solving are three aspects of part-time work that are just the beginning. They don’t even begin to cover all the skills you learn. Though they seem minor now, years later, they will be your saving grace. 

The interviewer wants to know if you can problem-solve and deal with high-stress situations? You definitely can now: “You see, I had this customer once who…”


And no, I don’t mean this in a “put the customer first” speech from your new manager sort of way. What I do mean, though, is that customer service can teach you one of the most important transferable skills.

When working in retail, you come across people who clearly haven’t been in your position. Sometimes, people get frustrated easily or tend to push your buttons, but for the sake of your job, you can’t let it get to you. 

This is where you learn patience, which can be very handy even in the “major leagues” of jobs.

Although it’s not necessarily something to put on your resume, it’s something you’ll find yourself relating to from your future positions to your day-to-day life. 


As I mentioned, I’ve had my fair share of jobs, but just because I worked somewhere for a while doesn’t mean I necessarily enjoyed it. 

Many of the environments I worked in were great, with friendly people, understanding managers, and a lively environment. Though some have tried their best to be welcoming, sometimes outside factors can make it difficult to navigate a job. 

Not every job we come across will be welcoming, even in our desired industries. 

Having the experience of working at different part-time jobs, even if they’re all good, will allow you to easily adapt to new and even unfavourable situations. This enables you to work with your situation and adjust it to better suit your needs, making your ideal job actually ideal. 


A little while back, I worked at a grocery store. It was a simple job I came across after my previous seasonal contract ended.

About three months into working there, as I was cashing out a customer, they asked me if I was a student and what I studied. After telling them it was journalism, they gave me their card and told me they were the editor-in-chief and the CEO of a major journalism company.

After reaching out and attending a meeting with them, I was given the details of an internship and was told I could start whenever was best for me — if I chose to go through with it. Unfortunately, I had to turn it down because of school and time constraints, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that I gained a new connection and opportunity. 

When working part-time, sometimes every day is the same, and it feels like there’s no way to progress in your career. However, when you interact with so many people in a day, you’re bound to meet someone who, like in my experience, can set you off on the right path. 


Just because you cleaned a spill in aisle five or made a burger doesn’t mean your resume has to say exactly that. 

Instead of just “Stocked shelves,” try “Organized the store to company and customer standards to encourage flow and sales.”

Or instead of “Made a burger,” try “Followed the health and safety practices set out by the company while preparing food, ensuring good quality for customer consumption.”

Maybe you’re asking yourself, how does ensuring good quality and encouraging sales relate to anything other than business? What about teaching, art, or engineering? You don’t think you’ll need to ensure a good quality of education for young kids, an artistic endeavour, or an engineering proposal?

If you think hard enough about it, everything you learn is transferable. 

With good practice and by looking up examples, you can always find ways to organize information. 

I’ve learned it’s always best practice to relate completed tasks to learned skills to revamp your resume and showcase talents that can be applied to any job. 

Final Advice From a “Part-time Lover and a Full-time Friend”

If all those examples aren’t enough, take my experience, for example. 

Despite seven jobs in four years, over the course of two weeks, I managed to join a publication at my university where I can gain experience in journalism. As a backup plan, I’m applying to volunteer at a high school next semester to gain some teaching experience. 

Whatever you choose to do, don’t forget school offers opportunities as well. Whether that’s an internship worth a credit or a co-op position, there are many ways to get started in your desired industry. 

And finally, if I haven’t made it clear already, who cares!

So many people are in the same position as you, and what you do will always be your business and your business only. 

If an employer is upset that you worked a part-time job — meaning you were able to balance school and work in this economy — the job isn’t worth it. 

At the end of the day, you do what’s best for you. If you’d prefer to take some extra time and find a higher-paying job, that’s totally okay. But if you need the money and want some great experience, then hit up a job-search site like Indeed or attend a job fair at your school and go and get it! 

Who knows, maybe your future hiring manager will prefer a more well-rounded person, and — spoiler alert — they most certainly will. 

Katarina Zeni

Toronto MU '25

Katarina Zeni is a third-year journalism student at Toronto Metropolitan University. Having grown up in a small town out of the city and since having moved into the GTA, she has come across many different and fascinating stories, and people, in her everyday life. With a background in the arts and a passion for writing, Katarina seeks to use her experiences to highlight all the important moments in the everyday. Whether it’s a script, a poem, a novel, or a news story, she believes there’s always something to be written. Off the record (and off the clock), Katarina can be found watching her favourite 90s romcoms, checking out a new film in the cinema, or cuddling up to her cat Iris with a good book in hand. Follow her journey on Instagram @zenikatarina!