When looking back at my work experiences, I’m proud to say I stepped out of my comfort zone more than once. Granted, this was mostly out of necessity, but it still turned out to be a good thing. I truly wore several hats when it came to paying the bills. From being a waitress to giving flyers out of tube stations at 5 am to sell £1,000 jackets, my varied and at time random work experience, gave me the chance to learn different transferrable skills.
Hospitality & Events
My first job in the UK saw me serving food & drinks at events with shaky arms and poor English. This was followed by three years as a full-time waitress in a restaurant. When first applying for publishing jobs, someone suggested me to remove my hospitality experience from my CV. I never did. This industry taught me more than I can list here, but the most important skill I learnt is customer service. Being able to build relationships in the span of two hours and problem-solve your way out of pretty much anything, really made me fall in love with delivering great customer service. And let’s face it, there are people in every job, so this is a skill you don’t want to be short of!
In Italy, my first ever contracted job was for Prada. Yes, that Prada. I worked in other shops as a retail assistant and did a pretty good job at it. Retail is where I learnt how to sell. It was a gradual process. First, I learnt how to read customers and how to understand what they were looking for. Were they there to just browse? Were they looking for something? Then, I learnt how to ask the right questions. And finally, I learnt how to pitch! I made sales my career, but to be able to persuade and present yourself or a product in a professional manner, is a fantastic way to get ahead in any industry!
Charity/Not for profit
I have volunteered for different organisations and in different capacities throughout my work experience. The one skill which has been key to help me volunteer whilst working full time is self-motivation. When something isn’t your day-to-day job and you aren’t paid to do it, self-motivation is the only option. Employers love candidates who can keep going even when the job isn’t super exciting, so if you have any volunteering experience, make sure you talk about it in your interview!
Publishing was my dream job and the first one based in an office. By then, I had successfully been working for years and I was confident my work approach would be just fine. However, the dynamics of an office-based position are completely different. After a couple of rookie mistakes, I learnt how to navigate the office politics. Please don’t be fooled by companies that proclaim there is no hierarchy. There is. My advice is to observe your colleagues and understand the company true ethos and values. If you have the chance, find yourself a mentor who can guide you through this.