Working part-time: Tahiba Eltaf

Guest BloggerFirst Year, Guest Blogger, Part-Time Jobs & Volunteering, Second Year

doing my job

Tahiba Eltaf is a Final Year BSc Business and Management student. As well as studying for her degree, Tahiba has been working two part-time jobs: as a Manager in the Cash Office for H&M and as a Marketing Assistant in the Aston University JobShop. We had a chat to her to find out more about her roles, how she juggled working and studying, and her advice for getting the most out of a job.

What does a typical day in each of your part-time jobs look like?

No two days are the same as a manager at H&M because in each shift I work with a different team and I handle different customer queries. I start my day by checking staff attendance for payroll verifications. I then float the tills ready for the store to trade, carry out safety checks, bank cash and check for cashier errors. During the afternoon, I manage a team of Sales Advisors on the shop floor to ensure sales targets are met and excellent customer service is delivered. I finish my day by cashing up the tills after the store closes. A typical day is filled with a lot of energy and many responsibilities.

I have had various roles at the JobShop and my responsibilities have differed in each role. I am currently organising the annual Part-time/Temporary Jobs Fair 2019. I also check students’ CVs and provide advice and guidance. I have also been involved in business development, which involves calling employers to source part-time roles for students.

What has been the highlight of each of your jobs so far?

At H&M, being able to train colleagues has been the best of part of my role. I enjoy welcoming people and making them feel comfortable in new surroundings. Seeing the team flourish is rewarding.

For the JobShop, checking students’ CVs has been the highlight for me. Each student has their own story to tell, everyone has a different background and a different place they want to be. Being able to be part of their journey to their ideal career is truly special.

What skills have you developed?

As a manager at H&M,  I have significantly developed my leadership skills. This role has allowed me enhance my communications skills and my ability to coordinate a group of colleagues. I motivate and inspire my colleagues, resolve problems in unpredictable situations and tailor my style to suit them.

Working at the JobShop has developed me both personally and professionally. Working in a team which values and actively encourages involvement has boosted my confidence and I can assertively share my knowledge and opinion. Through frequent telephone and email communication, I have significantly enhanced my communication skills.

Why did you decide to get a part-time job?

It was never really planned but I’m glad I made the decision to apply! So, I was just finishing Sixth Form and didn’t have much planned the summer before I started university. I decided to apply for a part-time job to keep me occupied, but the extra income, experience, skills and the difference it made to my employability were all added bonuses.

How do you juggle working and studying?

I loved the challenge! Since my first year at university I was working part-time whilst studying but in final year, where most people would want to decrease their working hours, I did quite the opposite and opted to work not one but two part-time jobs whilst studying. Time management was key, so I prioritised my studies and worked fixed shifts in both jobs.

Having a timetable (and keeping to it!) is the key to balancing working and studying – and remember to have some me-time.

How have the skills and experience you’ve gained from your part-time job helped you in other areas of your life?

The skills and experience gained from both my part-time jobs have been invaluable in supporting my professional career. All the skills that I learnt are transferable and have supported me in my placement role too. Part-time jobs give you the experience and equip you with real-life examples to answer competency-based questions in interviews.

What advice would you give to other students thinking about or looking for a part-time job?

If you’re unsure of whether you want to work part-time whilst studying, I would recommend you definitely go for it! As long as you work a limited amount of hours and manage your time effectively, working part-time is priceless.

If you are already looking and are not getting the response you like, don’t give up! The right role and the right company is probably just around the corner, you just need to stay motivated and continue applying.

Did you do a placement?

I did a placement at Aston University’s JobShop. I supported students’ employability by giving them guidance about volunteering opportunities. I engaged with over 50 national UK charities to source opportunities and supported students by providing them guidance on their applications and CVs. My placement developed me professionally, by giving me invaluable experience on my own CV as well as experience in working in an Higher Education environment.

Any other comments?

Part-time jobs can be life-changing. Not only do you have the extra income coming in, you develop as a person. Before stepping into a full-time career, it moulds your professionalism, your etiquette and mannerisms for the world of work.