More and more students are finding themselves needing a part-time job in order to support themselves at university. There’s no wonder students have to work when the price of rent is extortionate and student loans are hardly enough to cover it, let alone additional fees such as bills, food and books, as well as simply enjoying life as a student! Working makes life as a student more difficult as it does mean less time can be spent studying and socialising. Although some courses allow plenty of time for a part-time job as they only have a few contact hours a day, there is a lot of independent study necessary in order to thrive at university. However, it doesn’t have to be all that bad, and hopefully this article will share some insightful tips to help you find a job at university and manage your time well between work and your studies.
In order to find a job, my website of choice would be Indeed. Simply enter your postcode and a list of nearby jobs will appear. You can also filter it to part-time, temporary, etc, and search for specific job types. I’d say the most common student jobs are retail work, waitressing and bartending, as they allow flexible hours meaning they can be easier to slot in amongst your studies. In addition to looking on Indeed, you may find advertisements on Facebook, which is actually how I stumbled across my job! Or you could apply in the more traditional way: by handing out your CVs to shops and restaurants. In regards to CVs, only include what you think is absolutely necessary and condense it to no more than two sides of A4 paper.
Generally, the second stage of the application process is an interview. Nowadays companies are trying to find faster ways to interview more people, so you could find yourself having to do a Skype or group interview. In a group interview it is vital to appear confident and make your voice heard in order to stand out, as well as working well with other members of the group. In terms of interviews in general, take interest in the company by asking the interviewer questions, and, of course, remain polite.
When you have made it through a tiresome application process, it is rewarding to start earning your own money, no matter what you are going to spend it on. However, ensure that your workplace understands that your studies come first. Give them a copy of your timetable so they know the hours that you can’t work and bear in mind the time it takes for you to travel to and from work. State how many shifts you are willing to work a week. I think two or three is a reasonable amount, but you can always take on more if you want – or less if you have a deadline approaching.
Furthermore, don’t be afraid to say no. If you have worked your required number of shifts and your manager asks you to cover, you don’t have to feel obliged to say yes. While it is good to remain loyal to a company, it doesn’t have to infringe on your personal time. Ultimately, you are at university to get your degree and it is important to try not to compromise that for extra shifts.
If you are working a job you really hate, don’t be afraid to quit and find a new one. I can appreciate that applying for jobs can often be tedious, but if a particular job is wearing you down, you should leave for the benefit of your own mental health. Most universities are situated in cities anyway, so quite often there are plenty of jobs going. I worked somewhere for nine months, but it was a zero hour contract so I could go weeks without having a shift and sometimes I’d go home as late as 3am. Eventually, I decided that a job with so few shifts just wasn’t worth it as it didn’t work for me, and so I found another job which is much better. There is always something better available, so the most important piece of advice I can give is to put yourself first.
Best of luck with your job hunting!