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6 top tips on finding a student job

Student working at a bar pulling a pintFar from being the stereotypical slackers and slobs of pop culture imagination, many students today work incredibly hard not just at their studies, but also at part time and holiday work. For some, earning over the summer break is the only way to afford to go to university. And even students who are better off benefit from the chance to gain some valuable experience and beer money.

Here are our top tips:

  1. Use the university jobshop. This is a great source for temporary and casual work, though there are also longer term jobs advertised. Top tip: get job alerts sent to your smartphone – it’s often a case of “fastest finger first” for casual work.
  2. Find something interesting - if you can, find a job that you actually enjoy and are interested by. It doesn’t have to be something high falutin’. Working as a barista in a coffee shop or behind a bar can be great fun for the people you meet.
  3. Find something useful – if you can get work experience that’s relevant in some way to your career plans, so much the better. Or if you don’t have any career plans yet, jobs while at university can be a good way of testing the water to see if
  4. Find something flexible – you don’t want to be stuck working until 3am cleaning cinema screens the night before an exam. If you’re working during term-time, make sure that you agree with your employer when you’re available to work and ensure that there aren’t any clashes with your academic commitments. Casual work can be great for bringing in some extra income at the start of term, and you can then ease up.
  5. Swallow your pride – for all the above, you’re unlikely to find your dream job in between lectures and term times. But don’t think that cleaning toilets or stacking shelves is below you. We’ve all got to start somewhere.
  6. Don’t go overboard – it’s only money, and you’ve got a student loan, right? Balance work and study with play and rest.

What about unpaid work experience and internships? These can also be very valuable. You’ll often need to apply early, so do your research and follow the application procedures carefully. Even if a company doesn’t mention work experience on their website, it’s still worth sending a politely worded letter or email to ask – the worst they can do is say no.

Doing unpaid work experience can be genuinely helpful, but don’t let yourself be exploited. If you end up doing real work that benefits the company, especially for more than a week or two, then ask to be paid!

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