Full name: Romina Javandel
Degree title: Accounting for Management
Year of study: Final
Organisation name: Flannels
Job title: Part-Time Customer Assistant
What does a typical day in your part-time job look like?
A typical day at Flannels was selling products and answering customer enquiries. I provided a bespoke service to customers from all over the world, while I took enormous pride in maintaining high standards, driving sales and hitting targets.
I advised customers on their choices, picked out products to match and instinctively knew what was suitable for each individual. Taking payments by cash/credit card, processing complaints and issuing refunds was another duty of mine. I always made sure that the customer’s experience was a positive one by showing passion and enthusiasm.
What was the highlight of your job?
Being able to speak to customers and providing them a first class service was an incredible experience. Also gaining knowledge about luxury products and brands was another highlight of my job.
What skills have you developed?
Working in retail helped me to gain and develop several skills and characteristics that I can apply later in life. These include active listening, resilience, adaptability, communication skill, and more.
I developed communication skills while greeting customers, answering their questions, explaining to a customer why one of our products will solve one of their problems and more. This also helped me to enhance customer service skills that later helped me to secure a placement where this skill was essential.
Why did you decide to get a part-time job?
Having a part-time job not only helped me to have extra money in my pocket, but it was also an opportunity to meet new people and extend my network. It had a positive impact on my life in a number of ways. As a student, I usually don’t have a lot of time, but having a job predisposes me to become more organised and a better planner, learning to weigh my priorities in order to meet deadlines. Effective time management benefits both my studies and life after university.
A part-time job is also beneficial for my future career as the experience will help me stand out from the crowd in interviews. Forming professional relationships at this early stage will help my chances of gaining employment after graduation.
And lastly and most importantly, having a job has helped me to gain lots of transferable skills that employers look for such as team-working skills, commercial awareness and being able to use my initiative.
How do you juggle working and studying?
This job was quite flexible, however, I had to make sure that I balanced both studying and working. When I received my timetable from the university, I developed a plan of the best times for me to study. This helped me determine which hours and days I could work.
How have the skills and experience you’ve gained from your part-time job helped you in other areas of your life?
The experience from my part-time job improved my employability, as employers respect students who were able to go beyond studying and show that determination to build additional skills. Also, having a job has helped me to become more responsible and take initiative that future employers will value.
Speaking as a socially-awkward introvert, I can honestly say retail has helped boost my confidence when communicating and working with others, as well as my confidence in my work. It may seem like a small thing, but a confident employee gives an employer confidence in their abilities and work – so it’s a crucial characteristic to work on to make you the employable candidate you want to be.
What advice would you give to other students thinking about or looking for a part-time job?
A part-time job is a good distraction from studying. Aston Futures is a really good source when finding jobs that will fit around your time as a student and the JobShop team at the University are a great help in finding a part-time job and preparing for interviews.
Make sure that you don’t work more than you should – I believe 15 to 20 hours per week should be fine and would not affect your studies.
Work experience is beneficial in finding your future career. As well as part-time work, joining clubs and societies at the university, finding a volunteering role with a national charity and networking will help you to build your confidence and stand out from the crowd.
What are your plans for when you finish your degree?
I am looking forward to securing an accounting or finance graduate scheme and take on professional exams in order to become a qualified accountant.