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FAQs: How do I make the most of a stop-gap job?

It is generally a necessity to have a job in order to pay the bills as well as to enjoy the social aspects of life. Unfortunately, it is a reality of life that you may not always be working in the most exciting job in the world in order to achieve these aims. However irrelevant you feel your job is, whether you are temping, working part-time or taking up seasonal work, it is important to recognise and articulate the transferable skills involved.

Telling a prospective employer you stacked shelves in a supermarket will get you nowhere. Telling them you developed organisational, problem-solving and teamworking skills to a high level while working in a customer service role with a major retailer will go a lot further to impressing a recruiter.

In CVs, covering letters and during interviews, you should always portray your skills as applicable to each position. For every item on your CV, think about how you can present your experience as relevant to the skills that are mentioned in the job advert or description.

To give you an idea about the style of language that will help boost your day-to-day tasks, here are a few excerpts from real CVs:

I ensured the smooth functioning of the department by co-ordinating the work of the team, planning stock replenishment, prioritising my work under pressure and demonstrating sound problem-solving skills. Employee on the deli counter at Sainsbury’s
I have experience of different working environments, managerial styles and in-house computer systems. I am also adaptable and quick to fit into new environments. Temp
I have developed excellent interpersonal skills through interfacing with the general public and upholding the image and standards of the organisation. Bartender
Written by Editor, Graduate Prospects
July 2009

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