Looking for a student job? Remember these 4 things

How to get a student job

by James Connington, who tweets @JamesConnington

Recently, students have been facing a reported 'cost of living crisis' (which we can't blame Nick Clegg for, unfortunately). This has a big impact on the day to day lives of us students and means that for many, part time work is fast becoming a necessity.

According to research from Endsleigh and the NUS, 59% of students are working part-time and the research suggests that for many that is now less of a choice and more a necessity. Whatever the reason for getting a job, I believe that student work shouldn't have to be associated with long inconvenient shifts and doesn't have to involve minimum wage. This guide aims to help you think outside the box when considering working your way through uni, to make the experience as enjoyable and rewarding as possible.

1. Look beyond the usual

Shift based work behind a bar or in a shop works: it offers dependable hours and is readily available. But are you doing it because it seems like the only option?

There are a whole host of opportunities which often get overlooked. Many students tend to underestimate both their own value as well as what a job can offer them.


2. Think about your niche skills

Student's often undersell their skill set or don't recognise the skills that can make them money. The course you are studying likely gives you the specific knowledge and resources to work as a tutor, with websites such as www.tutorhunt.com providing a free platform to reach clients and exam boards posting many teaching materials online. Rates for student tutors are mostly over £20/hour, you can set your own hours and it looks great on a CV.

Your favourite sport could turn into your new job after a short course and the hourly rates for sports coaching are great, whilst demand for new coaches is generally high. I grew up playing tennis and although I have never been a great player - trust me - it was relatively easy to turn into a part-time job and then a full time summer job.

Great with people and social media? Fantastic, become a brand ambassador for a business - a varied role, great for networking and with relatively flexible hours.

These are just a few examples and only you know what your specific skills are, so put in some research and you might be pleasantly surprised!

Edward Harris, 3rd year UCL Geography student, worked as a tutor for a variety of subjects and levels, charging an average of £25-30/hour.

Positives: Great pay, flexible, rewarding and once you're established word of mouth brings in new clients.

Negatives: It required a surprising amount of extra work, as clients require assistance beyond the sessions themselves and marking takes time, so you need to be highly organised.

Would he recommend it? Absolutely, especially if you like teaching and helping others. It's highly paid so you only need a few hours free to make good money and gaining some qualifications can increase your earning potential markedly.

3. Flexibility is king

This goes two ways. For employers, students can make great employees due to their irregular schedules and willingness to work unusual hours. For students, finding a job with flexible hours is ideal due to their rapidly changing schedules and in some instances, filling time slots that others would rather not work can command a higher rate of pay.

4. Do it to improve your employability

Aside from ensuring you don't starve and have a fully functioning roof to sleep under, the single biggest thing that having a job whilst at university can do for you is improve your employability. If you have managed to attain a good degree whilst employed part time, it says a lot about your work ethic.

But why stop there? All jobs add to your skill set, but how about targeting your job to an area where you feel your CV is lacking, or work in the sector you'd ultimately like to end up in? All the buzzwords that students throw onto their CVs are useless without anything to back them up - do something to give you demonstrable experience of your 'leadership', or 'management skills' or whatever it is you have audaciously claimed. Aim to benefit from your part time job beyond cash flow.

Alternatively, if you don't want a job, then check out our list of 99 ways to make money