There are numerous benefits to working part-time whilst at university. Read on for some helpful tips on how to find and manage a part-time job...
A fresh perspective
Some students find that doing a part-time job provides a welcome break from academic work, and a good opportunity to develop friends from outside of university, which can sometimes be a bit claustrophobic. Certain jobs, such as working in a bar, restaurant or shop, can have a real sense of community among the staff, and you might find it enjoyable to have some friends who aren't all preoccupied with student life, and can give you a different perspective on things.
Relevant work experience
Alternatively, a student job can also be a good way of reinforcing your studies and academic interests. Many students may find it helpful to be doing practical work that contributes to what they are studying. For example, for medical students, working in a hospital or retirement home can be incredibly rewarding and give you a real sense of how the subjects you are learning are actually applied on a day-to-day level, where things can be a lot more complicated and difficult. Some employers offer internships to work during the summer holidays. Read about what it is like to do a work placement.
Exploring your interests
A job can also be a good opportunity to explore some of your other interests - the kinds of activities that you may have less time to enjoy when you've finished your studies. Lots of students get part-time work in record shops, sports centres, theatres - it will give you the chance to develop your non-academic interests, and you may also get some very welcome discounts and freebies.
- You can gain valuable work experience and skills relevant to your future career and/or your course.
- It helps you to develop a range of transferable skills and personal attributes desired by employers.
- You can build up a network of useful contacts, that may help you in future.
- You might find you discover your strengths and weaknesses.
- You can learn more about the jobs you may or may not like, to help with career planning learn money.
- Many university towns and cities have job opportunities for students which range from call centres to bar and restaurant work. Usually it is unlikely that there will be a formal application and interviewing process as many jobs only require seeing a good CV, conducting an informal interview over the phone, or even a chat over the counter. However, it is good to practice techniques early.
- Look out for posters at university for money earning opportunities or ask your university job shop for advice.
- It can be harder to find part-time jobs online than it is with full-time jobs, but looking on local blogs or newspaper websites may make it easier.
- Think about whether you will benefit from a job related to your course or a job in a different area which will give you a change and the chance to learn other skills.
- Retail jobs give flexible shift work. If you work for a big chain store, you may be able to get transferred to another location in the holidays if you need to.
- If evening or weekend fits in best, catering and hospitality jobs may suit. Ask at the student union for jobs as they'll be flexible and on campus.
- If you work as a student ambassador for your university, the work is flexible - you can sign up for jobs when you want. They'll understand your study commitments.
- For medical related jobs, you could work as a medical secretary, hospital healthcare assistant, medical lab assistant or in a care home.
- As a student you don’t have to work while studying: many students work full time during the long vacation breaks and save the money they earn so they don’t have to work during term time.
- Be realistic about how much time you can spend working and what this will mean for your budget. If you need to spend holiday time doing work experience or revision, you may not have much time available. Try to plan ahead.
- Don't go head first into a job. Settle in, review your workload and then see what you can fit in.
- Always tell your employer if your timetable changes so they are prepared and can find cover if necessary. Before you seriously begin looking for a job, think realistically about how much time you can spare for paid work without damaging your studies.