I currently have five part-time jobs: four of which are with the university. You may be thinking 'how do you have time to even write this blog?!' well, it's not as hectic as it sounds, and it doesn't have to be for you either. Here are some of my thoughts on why having a part-time job is a good idea and some tips on what to look out for and why.
Why have a part-time job whilst studying?
Flexibility – This can vary depending on the job specifics, but zero-hour contracts where you have the choice of hours and days can give you most control over your work. This can be really useful during exam season and especially if you’re behind on a deadline. If you do find yourself having to commit to a specific day of working, you could flag up that you may have exam commitments later in the year.
Money in the bank –money can always come in handy, considering how much of a student loan can vanish covering rent and other expenses. It’s important to know the worth of your job and your time. If you’ve never worked before, you may lower the expectations, better to research the going rate for your skills and experience level first.
Skills – Part-time jobs are a great talking point in interviews and can often be a great point of reference when the imminent scenario based- questions arise. No longer do you have to cite the group coursework from your first year as an example of team work, you can have a wide range of experiences and you may pick up skills required for your future job.
Avoid overkill – Try to avoid working over 15 hours a week, especially in your first year of study, whether at the start, middle or end of the term, it doesn’t pay off in the long-run. Trust me, this is from experience. At the start, you need time to socialise and get to know your classmates, familiarise yourself with campus and maintain a work-study-life balance, and towards the end you may need time for graduate interviews and applications.
Apply - Apply early, and when I say early, I mean early! I applied to all of my university jobs before even stepping foot on campus. My classmates would often tell me of their struggles in finding campus jobs and it's surprising how few opportunities are advertised. I had to break the news that in fact, these roles are advertised as early as the summer, before the term has even begun. Early applications also provide a good opportunity to refine your CV and become a preparation for the upcoming applications and interviews for placements and graduate jobs.
Spread your skills - Consider a portfolio career, zero-hour contracts to fit around your studies and to ensure you don’t go over the recommended working hours per week. In this way you can have flexibility and variety which can help you develop a diverse skillset.