Part time working tips for university students
A part time job can make a huge difference to the university experience; it can alleviate money worries, and perhaps even allow students to build up a little money to see them through the high-intensity parts of their degree when they need to focus 100% on their studies. But it’s not just about the money. A job can instill a strong work ethic, help students to manage their time efficiently, get a keen eye on balancing a budget and build confidence.
Here’s are some tips for undergraduates considering part time work:
- Work out what you need: The demands of a university degree can be high, so working out a realistic budget and understanding exactly how much you can earn from a part-time job is essential. You need to give yourself enough time to study and do well at university, so the ideal if to find a job that allows you to cover any shortfalls with the minimum impact on your time for studying and everyday student life.
- Find a job that might help with your career: Maintaining a job while studying is impressive to an employer because it demonstrates a work ethic, ability to prioritise, and that you’re a dedicated and savvy worker – and learner. Depending on the career you’re hoping to pursue, there might be some part-time jobs that will give you valuable industry experience. Care work for those following a health or social care niche can be a rewarding and flexible part-time job; restaurant work for those looking to progress in the hospitality industry; retail for those keen to develop business acumen, or to understand the world of customer service and demand.
- Flexibility is key: university work should be a priority, so a workplace which allows a degree of flexibility is very important. There are places where you can choose to only work weekends or nights as they’re very often the shifts that no-one else wants. An employer or line manager who understands the demands of your course should be able to help you work around university.
- Prioritise your studies: money worries can be overwhelming, but university needs to be the priority. You’ve worked so hard to get there, and you’re paying a lot for it. This might be the only chance you get to study full-time, to experience the privilege of pure learning from experts in your specific field of interest. Missing lectures and deadlines to pick up an extra shift isn’t an option… even if it’s hard to say no to your colleagues.
- Keep a diary: you will need to be able to juggle your time very well if you work while you’re at university. A flexible employer is essential, and so is your ability to manage your time. Keeping a diary can help you plot out exactly when the times of highest demand from university will be. You need to know exactly when to focus on reading, when assignments are due in, when you need to be on placement, trips, and any other changes in university workload. Time management is a very important life skill but you need to be pragmatic about your ability to juggle study, work, and your life.
- Use your skills. A job that you’re good at will feel less of a burden than one where you feel out of your depth. If you have any useful skills or knowledge, use that to your advantage. If you speak more than one language, translation services are always a possibility; if you’re on a course that would make you a good tutor for GCSE or A-level students, do it. Experience is always attractive to employers, so make sure you’re using any work you’ve done in the past as leverage.
- Make the most of your holidays: Most university courses have long summer holidays, and if you can spend that time working, you might not need to work during term-time, allowing you to concentrate fully on your studies.
Finding a job isn’t always easy, and there are often lots of applicants for the same role. Having a well-prepared CV, being an enthusiastic and presentable candidate, and knowing your own value and virtues can help you be successful in applications and interviews. A part-time job can teach fantastic skills, help with student finances, and can even make you a more attractive prospect in post-graduate employment. Just remember though, studies come first