The student job: that first taste of what it’ll be like once you get out into the big, bad world. It’s actually better than that, because you generally won’t even be paying taxes – but we’re getting ahead of ourselves. The first step to working a student job is finding a student job – so where do they hide out?
• Bar Work
One of the most common student jobs is bar work, and if you find one in your first year and stick with it you can actually do pretty well. Three friends of mine in different bars across my city began working for their respective bars in first year – and now two are supervisors, and one a trainee assistant manager! If you like interacting with people (admittedly in various stages of drunkenness!), can stay calm under pressure, and can handle late nights, why not try being on the other side of the bar one night?
If you like the idea of customer interaction, but know you struggle to get up after a night out, retail might suit you better. The hours are friendlier, and if you can fix your timetable to give you a day off, you might not need to work the weekend – the busiest days in retail! In addition, many clothes stores offer staff discounts – dead useful when you need a new wardrobe for the new term. Remember retail doesn’t just cover clothes – bookstores are great if you read a lot, jewellery stores offer opportunities to sell big, and the Apple store offers benefits that will make any fanboy green with envy.
Restaurants are a great source for student jobs, and the tips you earn can be massive. The important skills here are friendliness, good juggling skills (have you seen how many plates some of these people carry?!) and the ability to be the bearer of bad news – if the customer orders something and it turns out the chef just used the last of it, it’s not the chef who has to bear the accusing looks and huffy aggression. On the other hand, you can make someone’s day, and that’s the best feeling in the world.
Yes, it’s essentially entering data into a computer, or sitting on reception, but don’t get me wrong, its good money! Plus you’ll be working in an office where the days generally don’t last longer than 5pm, and you’re guaranteed NOT to work the weekend, meaning more time to party! Plus, if at the end of University you unfortunately can’t find your dream job, you can be guaranteed there’ll be plenty of admin jobs you can apply for whilst you search for your next career.
If you can’t find a student job, or don’t know where to start looking, your student union or association will probably be able to help you. If you’re finding jobs, but getting turned down, they may be able to help again – the careers service is not only for final year students! Make sure you get as much help as you can; get a friend or careers advisor to check your CV and cover letter. Even the smallest of errors can lead to your application being binned!
Remember that your student job isn’t the be all and end all, though, with Universities recommending students work no more than 20 hours per week. Any more than that and you may find your studies suffering. Of course everyone’s different, and if you work best after four hours sleep and a gallon of coffee then by all means – do so!
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