How Your Stopgap Job Can Help You Get A Graduate Job

Below are just a few of the skills to be gained from various industries you might find yourself in post-graduation. You'll be surprised at how much you stand to gain from working in Topshop, Wetherspoons or a call centre! 

To further convince you of the benefits of stopgap employment, the GradTouch team also share their experiences of part time work - demonstrating just how often the skills gained behind a bar or on the shop floor are called upon in our graduate jobs now!

Don't forget that the following points are all things you should be including in your CV and if you're struggling to get work experience because you don't have experience - just think about these transferable skills. 



     The ability to simultaneously remember one customer's order whilst serving another, getting a person's change whilst handling food, or making coffee while pouring a pint – will serve you when it comes to office life. Not much is likely to throw you off course once you’ve worked under this kind of pressure!

Attention to detail
     From laying tables correctly to arranging side salads, much of a waiter's focus is on the finer details of a customer's dining experience. An eye for detail is essential in whatever job you choose to do particularly if you are dealing with clients a lot. Little slip-ups won't go unnoticed, so if you're meticulous now, you'll be well practiced!

Work politics
     It might sound odd, but your stopgap behaviour will quite often indicate what you'll be like in the office so it's the perfect opportunity to exercise good social skills. Speaking to people you don't know all day will enhance your social dexterity. You'll be super prepared for the plethora of personalities you're likely to come across in the office and hopefully you won't find yourself in the middle of a workplace conflict! Though if you do,  Sean, Editor of The Daily Touch worked in a bar during and post-uni - "Working in a pub was interesting to say the least. You're thrown in with all kinds of characters, which works wonders for your people skills and your ability to communicate. This is great when it comes to writing content for different audiences with diverse interests."


Customer Service
     In retail you deal with customers most of the day and you must do so efficiently and respectfully, even when you don’t want to! You may be called upon to respond to customer complaints – this will mean using both your communication skills and your problem solving skills - usually on the spot!

Commercial awareness
     Any job in which you observe first-hand how a business is run will improve your commercial awareness. You will witness how and why decisions are made, why the business works, how it makes profit and how various strategies are implemented.

Cultural awareness
     As with many roles, you are likely to be working with lots of people from a diverse range of backgrounds. The ability to make a connection, work with and get on with people from around the world is highly regarded in a number of companies – particularly those in which employees are called upon to travel!

Zac, founder of GradTouch worked in NEXT after uni - "Working in retail requires you to spark a relationship with someone you don't know, and from nothing, in order to  make their experience within the shop as pleasant as possible. The success of my company now relies on my ability to confidently approach new business clients and form lasting relationships with them."

Sales/Call centres:

Phone manner

     Talking to your mates is one thing – talking to clients, employers or interviewers, is another. Perfecting your approach, poise and pitch comes with practice, but once refined, is a highly sought after skill.

     Experience of working towards targets will tell employers that you are disciplined, structured and comfortable meeting deadlines. As you can imagine – these are all transferable skills that will impress.

Powers of persuasion
     The ability to influence someone’s decision making and make them trust your company's services proves to employers you have the power to persuade - an essential tool for generating new business and upping overall revenue.

 Rachael, Campaign Manager at GradTouch worked in telesales for 3 months post- uni -"It was my first experience of KPIs and targets - which, though scary, meant I  wasn't threatened by them in future jobs. Apart from getting to evidence my 'great  telephone manner' on my CV, it was also really useful in developing a tougher skin - making 2 hours of calls a day and 5 sales a week isn't for the faint hearted."


Technical skills

     Getting to grips with various computer systems, though tedious at the time, will serve you well! It is these technical skills that will put you ahead of the rest in the race for graduate job. 

Organisational skills
     All that filing, coordinating and arranging will tell employers that you are organised, meticulous and systematic.

Office routine
     More so than other stopgaps, an admin role will best prepare you for the 9-5 routine – what better way to practise those early starts?

 Louise, Marketing Manager at GradTouch worked as an Insolvency Administrator after uni: “For all the snobbishness surrounding ‘admin’ roles, I gained a  lot of basic office skills that graduate employers really value – managing data on spreadsheets, handling client and customer queries over the phone and working towards targets each month. All of these have stood me in good stead for my current role.”

For many fustrated graduates, the most valuable thing you will take away from your stopgap is the knowledge that you don't want to work there forever! 

So long as you remain focused, don't get too downhearted and keep in mind the essential skills you are honing in your role - your stopgap will appear less like graduate limbo and more like a fantastic springboard that can launch you into your ideal graduate job. 

Looking for a graduate job? Look no further:

Good luck!


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