Student Jobs – Working Part-Time

Here you can read about the benefits of part-time work, how you can balance study with a part-time job, and how to find a job.

With the maintenance loan often failing to cover the cost of living, more and more students are being forced to get a part-time time job to simply get by.

  • A survey conducted by Endsleigh (2015) indicated that eight out of ten (77%) students are now working part-time to help fund their studies. Read the survey here.
  • The study also showed that females who are working during term time at uni earn 36% less than males.
  • 14% who were asked said they had full-time jobs either during term time, holidays or both.
  • More than half (57%) of students who work part-time spend their additional income on necessities – accommodation, food and household bills.

The benefits of part-time work for a student

Part time work barrista
iStock/allensima

A part-time job whilst at university can have a positive impact on your life:

Money Need we say more? The extra cash from part-time work lets you cover the cost of living more comfortably, sometimes even leaving a little aside for fun.

Budgeting Students who earn their own money tend to spend it wisely. Part-time jobs are often tough, and hard-earned money can be painful to part with. In short, students are more likely to save their money for necessities such as text books and rent. 

Time management Students with jobs have little free time. This predisposes them to become more organised and better planners, learning to weigh their priorities in order to meet deadlines. Effective time management benefits both your studies and life after university.

Bored? You will have less time to while away the hours – the combination of studying and a job rather handily means there’s little time to get bored.

Your future Use your part-time job to get an introduction to a career or area of interest you hope to go into after university. The experience will help you stand out from the crowd at interview; you can begin networking with others in your chosen field. Forming professional relationships at this early stage will help your chances of gaining employment after graduation.

Transferable skills A part-time job can provide you with a skill set much in demand by graduate employers: 

  • A common complaint from employers is of a lack of commercial awareness in graduates. As well as the time management skills already mentioned, you’ll be exposed to working in a commercial environment – an experience which will help you stand out from the crowd. 
  • Teamwork – you’ll likely have to work as part of a team, equipping you with the skills needed to work with people of varying personality. This will help you work on group projects at university, as well as being of great benefit through life in general.
  • Initiative – in the workplace things will go wrong. How will you react to the unexpected? Keep a note of problems solved and disasters averted – these sorts of stories are priceless when it comes to interviews and such like.
  • All of the above, combined with the initiative you’ve shown in working whilst studying, will show employers that you’re ambitious and have an excellent work ethic.

Balancing study with a part-time student job

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Many students feel that a part-time job will be to the detriment of their studies. It’s not easy to balance the two and still enjoy a social life, but a lot of students do manage it. So how can you?

Be ruthless about organising your time. Don’t be sheepish about owning a diary or colour coding your calendar. Keep track of your shifts, important deadlines, and key social events.

Be honest. Can you really cover that extra shift or attend that friend of a friend’s birthday? There are only 24 hours in a day, and seven days in a week. You can’t please everyone but make sure you look after number one.

Keep all the important people informed. Make sure your boss knows when you’ve got important lectures, tutorials and deadlines. Employers are usually pretty flexible about your hours – it’s part and parcel of choosing to employ students. Talk to your tutor and lecturers. They may be able to offer a bit of extra support to ensure you achieve your academic targets.

Finding a part-time/student job

You’ve decided to get out there and earn a bit of extra cash. You may find it a tall order to even find a job. Here are some hints and tips:

Use the university jobshop Most Students’ Unions have one of these offering a whole host of ad hoc employment. Register online. There will probably be a regular newsletter or mailing keeping you informed of the latest vacancies.

Part time work florist
iStock/Artranq

Get out there and meet people There’s a lot to be said for dropping into local pubs, restaurants and shops to ask if there are any vacancies. It can serve as an opportunity to make a good impression and, who knows, perhaps they’ll make a vacancy for you!

Look for Christmas jobs well in advance Naturally the retail and hospitality sectors become much busier at Christmas and many businesses will be looking for extra staff.

If all else fails look for alternative methods Take part in market research, become a ‘mystery diner,’ sell your artwork, try tutoring, participate in research and so on. If you’re willing to put the time in looking around there’s bound to be a way you can make a bit of extra cash.