KFC – I’m NOT working there!
I’m often asked by high school and university students what they can do to ensure that they have the best chance of getting a suitable job and beginning their career quickly after studying. Although there is more than just one solution, my first and foremost suggestion is always: GET A PART-TIME JOB!
The permanent job market is tight, especially for youths aged 15 to 24. In the past 18 months we have seen youth unemployment in New Zealand surge to almost 20%. With overwhelming statistics such as this, it is crucial that you are doing everything you can to ensure that you are as marketable as possible for when you are ready to begin your career. Imagine you are an employer trying to decide between two candidates with a similar education background and/or skills for the role: one had previously worked, and had a proven track record with a great reference, and the other had never held a job. Who would you choose?
A part-time job needs to be taken seriously and treated as the first step to your career. In return, this opportunity will teach you about responsibility and time management, whilst helping build your confidence and independence. Your communication skills will be challenged daily, and you’ll develop the ability to effectively liaise with everyone from the most junior staff member in the company to more senior members of the management team. Budgeting and effectively organising finances is something you’ll have the opportunity to practice every payday – just think of the extra money you’ll have to be able to see that great new movie, save up for the car your parents refused to buy for you, or stash away for your future! And if you are worried about it harming your grades, don’t be, as studies have found that students who work a moderate amount of hours (10 to 15 per week) during the school year tend to earn higher grades than those who don’t work at all.
So now is the time to stop turning your nose up at the thought of working at a fast food restaurant, supermarket, or in the hospitality industry, as these are just some of the types of positions that can pave the way to a successful career. My first job was actually at KFC and I truly do feel that I have a lot to be thankful for, as for me, this opportunity ended up being more than just a part time job (I amassed almost 7 years tenure and a management qualification)! The skills I gained from KFC paved the way for me to eventually move into my current position of Business Manager of Madison Recruitment – and I have no doubt that I would not be in this role if I hadn’t been proactive and gained part-time employment during high school and university. You just never know what shape your career will take or what doors will open from what was just meant to be a part-time role!