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Jobs for students

Updated on February 20, 2012

Some of the best jobs for students are some of the ones not necessarily always associated with student employment. Tuition fees are high and employers are looking for graduates with relevant experience, so the typical ‘McJob’ taken by many students is not always the best option. Low paying, low responsibility jobs in the service industry suit students because they offer flexible hours and are easy to obtain, but there are many options available to students looking for work, from on-campus jobs to online jobs to jobs where you’ll actually get some relevant experience.

If you want to graduate with a better resume and maybe even a lighter debt load, consider the following.

Combine school and work

There is a wide range of on-campus work at most campuses and many on-campus jobs look good on your resume. Consider peer tutoring, peer mentoring/counseling, note-taking or note sharing for students with disabilities, or helping to run academic skills workshops.

You could also apply for work in your school’s main office, student services, academic services or disability services, or in a campus based book store. Find out if your school has student jobs in the areas of public relations, marketing or alumni relations. Some larger schools may even employ a student to do public relations/promotional work for their sports teams.

Ask if your school keeps a record of student development or something similar – a record of all the extra curricular activities, including paid and volunteer positions, you get involved in during your time at school. Often taking even short-term or volunteer work on campus can add up to a pretty impressive addition to your resume.

Some student jobs are still low-paid, but probably more than the minimum wage you would earn in many service jobs, and more valued by future employees,

Additional advantage: Most jobs will tie in with your school schedule, and school-based bosses are usually very understanding of your study commitments.

Look for a job in your field.

Use your college time to obtain more than academic achievements on your resume. Look for an entry level job in your field, or one related to it. Many relevant jobs may only require high school qualifications or ‘some college’ and may be available part-time. Again you’ll be earning more than minimum wage and getting relevant experience.

Additional advantage: You’ll meet people and make contacts in the area you want to work in - useful for networking and references when you’re looking for full-time work.

Work online

This is easier said than done – many advertised online jobs are scams or just not that profitable, but if you can find a suitable work from home opportunity it can be well-paid and offer the ultimate in flexible hours. The flexibility of online jobs often means you can just decide not to work at all during exam week or if you really need a few days to catch up on your studies. Some online jobs may be aimed specifically at students, such as online tutoring or participating in student focus groups, but most general online jobs will work for students.

Consider: Checking out legitimate 'work at home' online job offers (NEVER pay out any money to get a job online), online freelance writing or photography, website design, or setting up an online store with Cafepress or Zazzle. These are all endeavors that show you have initiative, time management skills, resourcefulness and organizational skills.

Additional advantage: You could be so successful that you decide you like being an online entrepreneur and never have to work for anyone else again.

Combine work and social life.

This is a money saver, rather than a money earner. Many students spend a significant chunk of their budget on socializing, so if you have a favorite bar, restaurant or club and can apply to work there, you may be on low wages but find you save by having a work life based around a social activity.

Additional advantage: If you enjoy working there and stick with it, it's possible you'll progress to a management or supervisory position. Even if you have no intention of working long-term in that particular industry, management experience is a good resume builder.

Combine work and exercise.

One of the major contributors to stress is a lack of exercise and you’ve probably heard of the freshman fifteen. (The fifteen pounds many first year students gain once they’re no longer being fed nutritious food at home and tend to turn to comfort food due to the stress of studying and general life changes).

Consider a job at a gym, coaching your favorite sport, life guarding, ski patrolling, even dog walking. Again this type of job will usually offer flexible hours.

Additional advantage: If you work at a gym or sports club you may get free membership.

Don’t rule out volunteer work.

You’ve probably got enough to do, with studying and trying to earn a living, but carefully chosen, relevant volunteer work can pay off in a big way when you come to look for a job on graduation.

Many recent graduates fail to find a job in their field and end up working jobs they’re over qualified for while volunteering to get relevant experience. Think ahead and get yours in while you’re studying.

Additional advantage: Volunteering for a cause you love can be fun and get you away from the (occasionally oppressively close-knit) college atmosphere, broadening your contacts and your social life.



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    • Karen Banes profile image

      Karen Banes 7 years ago from Canada

      Hi Wendy. Thanks for the comment. I know exactly what you mean. My freelance work really took off when I went back to school because it was the only paid work I could fit around my schedule. Good luck with Cafepress/Zazzle. I'd love to hear how you get on.

    • Wendy Powell profile image

      Wendy Powell 7 years ago

      Fresh ideas... A mature student myself, I find that I don't have time for the conventional job because my studies are so demanding (as another of your articles implied, mature students tend to prove to the younger students that they can hack it). I'm going to check out Cafepress and Zazzle.

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 7 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      Terrific advice filled hub - Jobs for students -- I'm twitting this one

    • Clara Ghomes profile image

      Clara Ghomes 8 years ago

      Hey! nice ideas and tracks for the students to get the job. Online is the best way by which they can earn good money and cover up their studies material. nice hub

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      with global economic crisis. the student must to take a part to support their financial, beside the parent give. And the good side it like a training for them and learn about responsibility. online job be considered.

    • BrianS profile image

      Brian Stephens 8 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

      This is really good advice, employers look for both practical experience as well as qualifications and it is hard to take on an employee who has an engineering degree but has worked at McDonald's for the last 4 years other than at the lowest entry level.