Working part-time: Isabella Naziwa

Guest BloggerFinal Year, First Year, Part-Time Jobs & Volunteering, Postgraduate, Second Year, Work ExperienceLeave a Comment

Full name: Isabella M Naziwa

Degree title: BSc Business and Management

Year of study: Second year

Organisation name: easyHotel

Job title: Front of House


What does a typical day in your part-time job look like?

I’m a night shift receptionist meaning that I work on my own during my shift. You may wonder what it’s like to work on your own in a hotel with 80+ rooms? I love it! We have a device which we have to wear for our safety just in case and doors are always locked at night, so I’m safe!

Being a receptionist, I am the first point of contact for customers when they arrive. I have to check-in guests ensuring that I deliver excellent customer service and maintain a personable and professional manner at all times. This can be challenging during the night, but it’s always fun. Working nights you meet all sorts of people, but I’ve met some incredible professionals who have even taken the time to advise and encourage me when they’ve seen me studying during quiet times.

I also have to answer all telephone enquiries promptly during my shifts and one of my tasks is also to respond to all enquiries and reviews that we get through our third-party bookings. These include reviews and enquiries on websites such as Booking.com and Expedia.

The most important part of my shift is that I have to complete the night audit with accuracy. If this isn’t done correctly it can cause major issues within the system but ultimately it’ll make my colleagues jobs during the day a lot harder.

Towards the end of my shift I simply have to make sure that everything is in place and tidy for the morning staff. My manager allows me to do uni work once I’ve finished my tasks so I usually go in the office and get on with assignments/revisions. This has meant that I didn’t have to do any long shifts in the library this year! Working nights and studying means that I have a strict routine and have to use my time very well!

Has coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown affected your role at all?

Funnily enough, I was the person who was on the night shift the night before the lockdown happened. Due to the virus, I was furloughed for three months. Due to the nature of my work this actually meant that I couldn’t do any work from home, but we had training to prepare us for reopening.

What has been the highlight of your job so far?

The highlight of my job is that I get to meet people from different backgrounds, countries and professions every day. I learn something every day at work. I’ve always loved helping people so I enjoy being able to provide good customer service whilst meeting people and learning from them. People are incredibly friendly and you never know who you’re going to meet.

What skills have you developed?

My time management has improved massively. This year I was working an average of four nights a week whilst having lectures every day, Monday to Friday. I was also ACS Marketing Manager and I’m a charity rep for Alzheimer’s Society at work. With all of this I also have a personal life. All of these responsibilities meant that I really had to use my time well to ensure that I didn’t fall short in my roles. I will admit that it wasn’t easy at all, but with perseverance I did okay I think. Funnily enough, I performed better academically this year too!

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

I’ve actually worked since I was 16, but I left my previous job in first year and found that I didn’t have a routine after that. I’m someone that likes being busy. It keeps me going and in first year I had a lot of free time, which I think took a toll on my mental health for a while. I also like the financial freedom that comes with working, so after five months of not working I decided I needed to get back into it! That was the longest I hadn’t worked for from the age of 16 so I knew I needed to find something new.

How do you juggle working and studying?

I personally had to make a lot of sacrifices this year. I didn’t go out clubbing when the rest did and I just kept to myself this year. I came to uni by myself and I will graduate by myself. In the moment the partying seems like fun, but when you’re sleeping in lectures the next day someone else is taking in that vital information. There’s nothing wrong with those things, but I knew that I had to give up certain things if I really wanted to excel in my studies and work this year, which I did! I did better academically and I won the institutional round for a Student Employee Of The Year award! The sacrifices paid off!

I also had to try and sleep as much as I could to make sure that I had the energy because most mornings I’d finish work at 7am and be in lectures at 9am.

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

The experience and skills I gained has helped me as I’ve been able to network and meet with professionals. I was also able to set up my LinkedIn profile and it looks pretty good because of all the experience I have. This actually resulted in a CEO of a digital marketing agency messaging me on the platform about a possible opportunity. I’ve also done well with my placement search where I’ve been interviewed by industry leaders. Working and studying has just shown me that if I use my time well I can really do anything I want in life!

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

I would recommend getting a part-time job for sure. I was chosen to be the charity rep at work which is a volunteering role. When applying for placements, employers love these things!

In this day and age, I personally don’t think it’s enough to simply come out of uni with a degree. The competition has increased so much over the years. You need to show employers that there is something about you that sets you apart from the rest! Part-time work, work experience, internships, volunteering roles and society roles are things employers love to hear about in interviews. Don’t wait until after you’ve graduated. Get the experience now!

What are your plans for the future?

So I’m an aspiring digital marketer and I tailored my uni experience to show this. With 2+ years of experience in social media marketing, I am also launching SABEL DIGITAL which is a platform for marketing students/enthusiasts but also where I offer services such as social media management and content creation. The plan after I graduate is to work in industry for a few years and to eventually own my own digital marketing agency.

Any other comments?

I’m lucky that my manager allows me to do my uni work during my shifts, as long as I’ve finished my tasks. Work for a company that recognises that you’re a student first. Some companies will take advantage of students because of our free time, but just prioritise your studies and emphasise that you do have other responsibilities if you do work!

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