I started working with children during my last year of high school as a way to make some extra pocket money, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I held a variety of positions over the last three years, including in an after-school program, teaching dance and drama classes, as well as working at summer camps in July and August.
I’ve always been pretty hesitant to put “dance teacher” on my resume, because, well, what does it have to do with getting a job in business? But I realized that it is indeed by working with kids during the last few years that I’ve gained a variety of transferable skills that are actually crucial on the job market. Here are three of the many valuable skills that you may have learned while working with children, and why you should highlight them on your resumé.
When working with a large group of kids in a camp or a dance class, you must be an excellent role model and supervise them through the day, whether from the lunchroom to the gym or in a complete dance routine. While you are definitely leading kids, you may also be leading staff members, especially the new employees that arrive every year, to whom you are showing the ropes of childcare.
Much like the business world, children can be unpredictable. You may have a minute-by-minute plan of all your activities, but you will learn very quickly that most kids don’t follow schedules very well (especially on an extremely hot day in July!) You have to adapt pretty quickly so that they don’t get bored and out of hand. You consistently need to change your game plan according to evolving circumstances.
3. Organization skills
Now the kids may not follow your schedule and set plans, but walking into a day with a plan A and a plan B in hand is very important, whether at a summer camp, in a dance class… or at the office! If you aren’t organized and don’t have a backup plan, the kids will take full advantage of it, and it will be complete chaos (I know this from experience, and it’s not fun!)
Although I’ve mainly honed these three skills while working in childcare, they have helped me professionally in many regards: when I had to lead a team through a project, to adapt my schedule, or to organize a meeting. The bottom line is: don’t discount any of your work experience just because it’s not a typical 9‑to‑5 office job. I guarantee you: all your non business-related jobs have taught you some very important skills that employers are looking for in their ideal candidates.
To receive further guidance on how to make the most of all your experience and how to showcase it best in your future work applications, book an appointment for a resumé critique through Career Launch.