College students everywhere are giving thought to securing internships over the school year and even next summer. Internships can help solidify career goals, can provide invaluable work experience and industry knowledge as well as a demonstrated work ethic.  But not all skills are developed from internships.  Part-time jobs can also help college students develop the marketable skills that are in demand and are often overlooked by students.

For example, a part-time job in a restaurant enables the student to demonstrate customer service, the ability manage multiple priorities as well as the ability to solve problems quickly, skills that are required in any number of careers.  The college junior who couldn’t find a part-time job and started a car cleaning service shows initiative and entrepreneurship.

To maximize the payoff from a part-time job, students should first define the job they are ultimately seeking. The next step is to identify the skills required to land that job. For instance, if the goal is an entry-level position in sports marketing, a part time job at a health club can work. They may start with checking in members, but could offer to provide assistance in coordinating member events.  This would let you demonstrate strong communication skills, the ability to multi-task as well as proven experience in events planning, all of which are required for a career in sports marketing.

College students and recent graduates need to identify these skills on their resumes and cover letters and be able to articulate them in a job interview.

Susan Kennedy is the Founder of Career Treking, a job coaching firm that specializes in helping college students and graduates identify and find the right job.  Since 2005, Susan has helped countless college grads find their ideal position and career path, regardless of college major.  Susan has also published a book, The Job Coach for Young Professionals. You can find Susan on Facebook and follow her on Twitter at @SusanCareerTrek.