The Benefits of a Part-Time Job During College
As a college student, your highest priority is obviously finishing your degree, but having a great job during college or university can make your time studying much more enjoyable. Having a great part-time job can offer you many benefits and can also save you lots of money too.
Benefits of Having a Part-Time Job
Offset your college fees
Working while you study can help you offset some of your tuition fees, which is certainly helpful once you've finished your degree. There are always costs you haven't factored in associated with any endeavour and this certainly isn't any different. Study material is often notoriously expensive, but is a necessary expense and in addition to tuition fees themselves, the figures really do add up after 3 or more years. Being able to pay off your book and stationary expenses as you go along rather than adding it to your tuition fees or an education loan fund, which has interest don't forget, can take off thousands of dollars by the time you graduate. It also takes the load off of the parents, who often front the money needed for books and stationary for each course, every year.
Make new friends
Having a part-time job is a great way of making new friends and if you've just moved into the area, it will help you learn more about the city. Your co-workers can be the greatest asset you have in understanding how the locals live. Where to eat, what places to avoid and what to do when you have free time are all great things to know. It'll also help you settle in, knowing that you can ask for help regarding how to best use local transport so you have the freedom to move around. This is especially important when you first start your job, as showing up late will leave a poor impression upon your employer.
Great networking tool
Don't underestimate the connections you make whilst working part-time, as they are often a great resource later on in life. Many people who work part-time are also college students trying to supplement their income while studying, and a healthy working relationship may be the difference between getting a word-of-mouth referral when you've graduated, resulting in another client, or a bad reference which could harm your career or the company you're working with. Networking is crucial in jobs such as real-estate and business and could give you the edge to put you ahead of your competitors. This is especially true of start-up businesses and consultants to name a few.
Having a part-time job during college can show employers that you're able to manage your time and priorities, and it looks great on your resume. Experience in a range of situations is always an asset to any company and shows that you're able to perform a variety of tasks under a variety of different circumstances. It's also a smart idea to ask local businesses related to the field of study you're in for part-time work. First hand experience in the field you'll graduate in before even applying for a graduate job will put you well ahead of many of the other applicants.
Most part-time jobs you'll encounter will be of the retail or hospitality variety. Selling clothes, making coffees and working the cash register are all common tasks in these job fields. Although repetitive and often requiring patience when serving customers, it's often jobs in these fields that can save you lots of money through employee discounts. Every employer differs in regards to discounts, but chain-retailers often have generous employee discounts that can help save you money.
Jobs involving household goods, furniture and electronics are where you can really save the most money using employee discounts. Items such as couches, desks, televisions, computers, cutlery and dinnerware are all items that will last you well past your time at college and can be used to help furnish your first apartment or house when you find full-time work. Being smart about the items you purchase can really save you a lot of money in the long run and will also prepare you for the future.
What to Avoid
Changing jobs too often
Although a variety of different working experiences shows you're capable of different tasks, avoid changing jobs often. Job hoppers are often red-flagged by employers, so you'll need a stand out resume, and you don't want to make getting a job harder than it already is. Employers want to know you'll be a valuable part of their company, and not that you'll leave after 6 months or a year. If you genuinely enjoy your part-time job, try to stay until you're looking for full-time graduate work. This also increases your chances of being promoted and tells employers that you're eager to learn more and work for the position.
Staying too long
It can be very rewarding seeing money steadily coming into your bank account, and the extra income certainly does allow more financial freedom, but remember why you're working part-time. Part-time work allows you to finish your college degree, so you can get a graduate job that can hopefully provide you with a better future. The income received from part-time work may be enough for now, but think about the future. Raising a family, owning your house and buying a car will be significantly harder on the wages offered to non-graduate jobs, and you won't be able to provide for your children's education needs when the time comes. Stay true to your original course, is a phrase that sums this thought well.
Buying on a whim
Using an employee discount to buy items that won't last you long or won't be useful after college may be a nice luxury in the short-term but won't benefit you after graduating. The idea of using the employee discount should be that you're saving money on items that you'll potentially use well after graduation, such as dinnerware and furniture. Buying the latest fashion or splurging on gadgets that will be replaced within the year isn't the wisest investment.
Get Your Resume Out!
If you have basic time-management skills, a part-time job will offer you great benefits while at college. Avoid splurging on spur of the moment items and you might find yourself with some money left over to help pay off your college debt!
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