The ultimate guide to finding a part-time job
Sadly part-time jobs have become an almost essential to top up your student loan. Make sure you’re giving yourself the best chance of finding one. Part-time jobs are becoming more and more important for students, however, this is exactly the reason they’re now harder to come by.
To stand the best chance of securing a groovy gig you’ll need to get ahead of the game – you need to know whats on offer, where to look and how to approach your job search.
Lucky for you this guide covers everything you’ll need to find the perfect position!
What’s in this guide?
Loads of students will put getting a job as one of their top priorities when they get to university, but there are a few things you should consider first.
First things first it’s worth working out exactly why you want a part time job. It must sound ridiculous, but are you doing it purely for the dollar or is it to bulk out your CV and get some life experience? Or is it a smooshed together amalgamation of both?
If you’re doing it just for the money, make sure you work out a budget first. Yes, it’s borrrrrring, but it will show you how much of a shortfall you need to make up. You might even find you don’t need a job!
It’s also worth pointing out that working in a job unrelated to your studies can also boost your CV; it shows your committed, are a team player and all sorts of other lovely things.
Finally, you should always work out how much time you have to commit to a job in the first place. Most universities would advise no more than 15 hours a week in term time, but this will vary for individuals.
We’ve made a whole guide on balancing your job and studies right on over ‘ere.
Now, you’re probably pretty hot on this already, but while you could just rock up at any old gig, there are a couple of professions that are a really good shout for students.
Primarily, you’ll need something flexible, as your priority is your degree after all. That’s where this lots comes in.
Okay, we promise we’re not trying to put you off with our choice of meme, but we’re just kind of in love with grumpy cat.
Working in retail could include anything from your local supermarket to the coolest and most hip clothes store, but will generally include working the check-outs, dealing with customer queries and refilling the shelves.
With most shops now opening longer hours, including evenings and weekends, there’s a big demand for those who are looking for part-time positions.
Part-time work in retail tends to be highly seasonal – especially around Christmas – and also has the highest turnover of staff of any industry.
Pros: Ample seasonal work, national chains can transfer during holidays, staff discount.
Cons: Hours often inconsistent, lots of competition.
Fast-food and restaurant industry
Including waitressing, taking orders, cooking food and washing dishes. Oh yeah, and did we mention there’s probably some FREE FOOD involved. You can see why jobs in this field have always been popular with students.
There’s a huge variety in this sector, with gigs everywhere from McDonalds to the posh five star restaurant down the road. And again, FREE FOOD.
Did we mention FREE… Okay, we guess you’ve probably got the picture by now.
Pros: Free food, tips on top of your wages and often no prior experience needed.
Cons: Can be tiring, late hours and it can leave you feeling greasy and smelly!
Bar and nightclub work
As well as bar staff, many watering holes recruit glass collectors, cloakroom attendants, cleaners, promo teams and bouncers.
With almost every university town having enough bars to keep you in drinks for the entirety of your degree, that’s a lot of potential work waiting to be found.
Again, there’s always a high turn over of staff, so lots of flexibility on offer.
Pros: University bars are usually happy to be flexible during holidays and exams.
Cons: There is often late hours and the high probability of drunken customers.
Though most part-time student jobs will fall into one of the above three categories, the list is by no means exhaustive.
If you’ve got a particular passion for a certain line of work, you might be able to pursue this on a part-time basis. From freelancing to dog walking, the only real limit is your imagination!
In fact, we’ve even got a whole list of other sectors you might want to think about.
Like many things, the hardest part of finding part-time student-friendly jobs is knowing where to look. Save some valuable time by using this handy list as your first port of call.
- Search online: We’re in the digital age now – whatever that means – but most big companies will recruit online. This means checking our career sites for big chains, as well as their Facebook and Twitter accounts. We’ve also got a groovy tool too.
- University schemes: A lot of universities will organises job fairs throughout the year, giving you a chance to meet employers directly, so make sure to get out of bed on that day. Many unis also have a JobShop service too, and will hire people directly to work in their shops, bars and on open days.
- Recruitment agencies: It’s essentially a matchmaking service, but instead of finding love you find a job. They usually have a database of positions waiting to be filled so it makes sense to get in on the fun. Popular agencies for students include GRB, Reed and Adecco.
- Friends and family: If you’re lucky enough to have friends and family already in a job, they might be able to give you a heads up when a new opening is coming – and hopefully mention a good word or five about you!
- The high street: Even in the world of the interweb, there are many smaller business who prefer a good old-fashioned CV. Have a wander around and chat to managers – everyone loves a good first impression.
When it comes to getting the best part-time student jobs, you’ll be facing stiff competition, but we’ve got your back. Here’s some groovy top tips.
- Start before you get to uni: Hit the ground running by looking up what’s online and applying before you even get there. Everyone will be looking for work in freshers’ week, but if you’re already at interview stage you’re flying.
- Make a great CV: Regardless of the type of job you’re applying for you’ll need a CV, so make sure to check out our guide to writing the perfect one. It’s worth having a few different tailored CVs if you’re job-hunting in drastically different sectors.
- Triple check your details: Students are renown for changing their details on the regular, so make sure to always check the info you’re giving out. No one wants to miss a sweet gig as you changed your mobile number.
- Get experienced: We know it seems like a vicious cycle, but you will need some experience to land most jobs. Considering volunteering, helping out a family friend with their business or setting up your own website.
- Be enthusiastic: It might be a bit unfair, but some people do get the wrong impression of students. Make sure they know you mean business by chasing up your application and reiterating how much you want to work for them.
- Be a online angel: As much as you know there’s a distinction between your work and personal life, employers are still unlikely to hire you if all they can see is drunken nights out and swearing rants. Professionalism and privacy settings my friends. We’ve got more on that in another guide.
While you might need some extra cash, don’t put a job ahead of your studies. It can be easy to fall into the trap of working all the hours you can, often to the detriment of your degree.
Before committing yourself to a position, have a talk with your potential employer about how many hours you can do per week, and what your availability realistically looks like.
You should be flexible, but you need to know that the company you’ll be working for understands just how important your studies are.
Have you worked in a part-time job while studying? We’d love to hear about your experiences! Plus, remember you can start your job hunt right here on Save the Student with our nifty search tool.