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Student Jobs to Top up Your Income

Updated on August 6, 2019
W Gaughan profile image

Ms Z is a qualified bilingual proofreader and translator, and a part-time feminist.

Student life is expensive

Even if you have a grant or support from your parents, there just never seems to be enough money. To top up your income, you might consider a part-time job; but keep in mind that…

… experts recommend that college students should not work more than 10-15 hours a week during term time. As much as you need the extra cash, first and foremost you need to focus on your studies.

… holiday periods are a great time to work up some extra hours and save money for the academic year or months ahead. Most places that employ students during the year are happy to give them more hours at vacation time.

… you have to make sure you get your work-life balance right. Taking on more responsibilities than you can deal with will result in stress, which in turn will affect your performance in college. You need your downtime, too, to stay mentally healthy and happy.

The ideal job is hard to find - let's look at your options!

Ideally, you want a job that will not physically or mentally exhaust you, lets you work flexible hours, gets you a nice regular income, and still leaves you with plenty of time to dedicate to your studies and your you-time. All that might be a bit much to ask of any one employer… but we’ll try to make some suggestions that will tick as many boxes as possible.

  • Freelance. There are a lot of different freelancing platforms on which you can put your particular skills to use, no matter what they are. Companies all over the world employ remote workers for tech and design jobs, data input and transcription, simple bookkeeping task and customer support. The opportunities on platforms like Upwork, ifreelance, PeoplePerHour and Guru, to name just a few, are endless. You can work from home at times that suit you, as many or as few hours as you like. The downside is that payment on these platforms tend to be low, and you will have an irregular income that you can’t rely on from week to week. Still, don’t dismiss it – this could be a great top-up on regular wages.
  • SMM. Strictly speaking, this also falls under freelancing: try to land a job as Social Media Manager, Social Media Assistant or Content Writer. Admittedly and unfortunately, these jobs are very much sought after, and few and far between, which is why this comes under a separate heading. But if you are lucky enough to get your foot in the door, this could be a very well-paid gig for a creative mind.
  • Tutor. This is a great job for any college student – it gives you flexibility, it keeps your brain active, and comes with a good hourly wage-rate. There are a lot of different options here: you can offer grinds to secondary school students in a range of subjects, either one-to-one or in small groups; there might be an opening for a tutor on your own campus, or a need for peer-support in your own field of study; or you could teach ESL (English as a Second Language) students. With Ireland having become as multi-cultural as it is, there are a lot of foreign language students around who are trying to improve their conversational English skills. Advertise yourself in your library, in secondary schools, and in small retailers like Afro-Asian food stores or Polish/International delicatessen shops.
  • Wait tables. This is the classic student job: working a bar in a busy pub, wait on restaurant tables, or get a job as a Barista. The downside here is that you’ll end up working a lot of late hours, BUT it’s a dependable and regular income, there usually are a lot of hours available to students, especially on weekends, which will suit you best – and working weekend evenings and nights means that you’re not out spending money, so that’s a win-win.

  • Retail. Apply directly to shops in your vicinity. Especially chain stores (Tesco, Dunnes, New Look, TK Maxx, etc) employ a lot of students to cover a limited amount of numbers a week. You’ll have regular working hours, a dependable income, and most likely extra hours during holidays. The same goes for indoor activity play centres; if you’ve got patience for children, pop into your local indoor play centre and ask for open positions.
  • Go private. Have a look at local papers or notice boards in supermarkets. Is anyone looking for a dog walker, pet sitter or babysitter? These jobs are not usually fantastically paid, but they are not taxing, they’ll keep your stress levels low, and you’ll more than likely get a chance to have a look at your books while you’re at work.
  • Make your own. Get imaginative and entrepreneurial and create your own job. Have a look around campus and figure out what services your fellow students need, and would be willing to work for. Example: do you share accommodation with other students? Offer to take over dinner duty. You do the necessary shopping and provide a cooked meal every day, five days a week, for your house mates. You will be able to charge a price per person that they will be able and happy to pay and still give you a decent profit. Other options are doing laundry, ironing, driving (even driving people home at the end of a night out), or doing research for fellow students. Remember, you are not limited to advertised positions.


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