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How to Get a Part-Time Job At University

Updated on December 16, 2017
poppyr profile image

Poppy is a proofreader and Dragon Age fan. She lives in Tokyo with her husband and likes to spend time reading and playing video games.

Moving out of your parents' house and starting with university life is an exciting adventure - you're surrounded by like-minded, young people, there are parties every other night, countless events, and you get to shop for pens, notebooks, highlighters and stuff for your new apartment.

Even with a student loan, however, money can get really tight, especially if you're the kind of person who likes to spend a lot on parties, trips and treats (who doesn't?). Here are some top tips on finding a part-time job whilst studying at university.

Start early

Say your semester starts in September. A flood of brand new students - and continuing students coming back from their travels - are going to be arriving simultaneously and applying for jobs at the same time.

If you're moving to a new town and don't know it very well, research the size and public transportation (if you don't have a car). See what kind of jobs are on offer - shops, restaurants, museums?

Apply early, maybe 2-4 weeks before everyone is due to move in. This will give you first pick of the jobs available before the good ones are taken. This way, you can get your interview, and might even be able to bag a job before classes start.


Be Enthusiastic About Work

Wanting to work as a highly-paid part-time journalist in a big business is commendable, but keep in mind that you might not get the job you want right away. Be willing to do anything, whether it be stacking shelves, sweeping floors or cleaning toilets. Once you're making money and if you really hate your job, you can always try looking for something else.

Working whilst studying is only temporary, so even if you're working in a job you really don't like, you know you won't be stuck there forever. If you're going to be picky about what job you get this early on, you might not get one at all. Show you're not afraid of hard work.

Be willing to travel

Of course, it'd be lovely to have a great job just a thirty-second walk from your apartment, but this isn't always possible. Make sure you're willing to travel, either by bus or bike, to get to work. Decent jobs might be available and not already taken by your fellow students simply because it's a few miles away.

In York, for example, there was a shopping mall called the McArthur Glen Designer Outlet. There were plenty of part-time jobs in shops and restaurants available there, but because it was four miles from the town centre, hardly any students worked there at all. Expand your range of places you're willing to go, and the possible job list will get longer.

If there's a bus service in your university town, check if there are special deals for students, such as discounts or cards.


Boost your CV/Resume

If you've emerged fresh from your parents' house and haven't had a job before, it can be difficult for your CV to stand out from the crowd. Beef it up by thinking of all the hobbies and small jobs or activities you've done all over the years.

Do you like to paint or swim? Do you write in your spare time? Have you ever studied another language? Did you ever clean your neighbours' house or feed their fish while they were away? Little jobs and hobbies like these can make you really look like an individual on your CV.

During an interview, too, your potential boss might ask you what kind of things you like to do in your spare time. "Drinking at the weekends" isn't an answer they're looking for, but hobbies like writing, painting or swimming can show hard work, passion and dedication.

Include any awards or prizes. If you've never had a job before, your CV can look a little empty, but don't forget to include any awards you've earned or competitions you've won - they may not seem important, but they can look great to a potential employer. Have you ever been involved in a soccer tournament? Ever won a drawing competition? Become a runner-up in a poetry contest? Add these small achievements to your CV and it'll start looking great in no time.


Work round your timetable

Find out your timetable as soon as you possibly can, and include this in your application. An employer might see that you're a student and assume you're not available to work Monday to Friday. But if your timetable allows you to have some days free, or free periods on a Friday afternoon, include it in your application. They'll know when you're available to work, and be more likely to know if they can employ you or not.

Never let your job get in the way of your studies - boosting your CV and earning money is definitely important, but the whole point of going to university is to study and earn a degree. Make sure that your job doesn't get in the way of classes or study time, but you work enough hours to earn what you need. Generally, anything from 8 to 16 hours a week should be fine.


This article isn't guaranteed to get you a job, but following these tips will improve your chances. Don't expect a perfect job right away, sell yourself well on your CV, and make sure your job doesn't interfere with your studies. University life is great, so make sure you make the most of it.

© 2014 Poppy


Submit a Comment

  • poppyr profile imageAUTHOR


    3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

    You don't like to travel? :o

  • Link10103 profile image


    4 years ago

    I certainly do not care for spending money on parties and trips. Treats on the other hand I might end up going buck wild, especially if twizzlers are involved.


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