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Top 5 Questions to Ask When Choosing Student Jobs

Top 5 Things to Look Out for When Choosing Student Jobs main image

Guest post: Chris Eccles

It’s a fact of life that while studying at university or elsewhere, there will come a time when you think about earning some extra cash to fund both studies and lifestyle. And, hey, if that lifestyle is a work-hard play-hard kind of philosophy, then any extra finances towards replenishing that dwindling bank account are going to be very welcome aren’t they?

But how do you go about finding the ideal student job? There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. How do you decide which jobs are most suitable for you? In no particular order, here are the top five things to look out for when choosing student jobs:

1. Can you make your student job work for you? 

Okay, you might need to find a part-time job quickly to replenish your dwindling bank account, but that doesn’t mean you have to apply for anything and everything. When you are looking for student jobs, always keep in mind that your work does not have to be boring and poorly paid. Read job descriptions carefully and ask yourself whether or not you would find this role rewarding and fulfilling. Are you going to be given room to learn and enjoy your new challenge, or is it a role that will leave you feeling bored and unstimulated?

There are some great opportunities out there that you could find benefit you in so many ways – it’s not just about the money. As well as getting hands-on experience of the workplace, don’t forget the valuable transferable skills you will be developing and strengthening while you work, such as teamwork, decision-making and time management.

These are the transferrable skills that you can highlight on your CV. When the time comes for you to start applying for graduate jobs, this practical experience will strengthen your application and help you stand out from the competition.

2. Is there room for maneuver?

Another thing to look out for when choosing student jobs is room for maneuver. Is there an option to work flexible hours? Remember, one of the main reasons you are working is so that you can fund your studies, and there are going to be times where you might need to work fewer hours so you can complete essays or projects or revise for exams and assessments. Some part-time jobs are ideally suited to students precisely because they offer such flexibility.

As well as needing to work less hours on occasion, there is of course a flip side to working flexible hours. There could be occasions where you have more time on your hands – throughout the summer holidays, for example – and these are the times where you can give your cash flow a good boost by putting yourself forward for extra shifts.

3. Can you get there?

We’re talking ‘location, location, location!’ One obvious point to look out for when applying for student jobs is, if you’re offered the role, can you actually (realistically) get there? Balancing studies, student life and work is all about fine tuning your time management skills.

This perfect student job you’re interested in: is it close by? Is it within walking distance or do you need transport to get there? Is it on a public transport route, and is this route affordable for you? Remember, one of the reasons you are going to work is to earn money, not to spend it all on buses and taxis.

Again, there is a flip side to this. Do your research and read job descriptions carefully. Some student jobs, particularly events jobs in remote places, come with transport to and from the venues for their staff – so don’t write a job prospect off straight away just because it looks unreachable. There could be a pick-up and drop-off service.

4. Are you going to get paid a wage?

If you are looking for student jobs because you really need the funds to see you through university, then it is important to make sure you are going to be earning a wage for your efforts.

There are some roles out there where you might be paid ‘pocket money’ and, at the same time, be provided with accommodation, training and an unforgettable experience. This is sometimes the case for young people working in American summer camps, for example. While this setup is ideal for some students, it might not be for others.

5. What are the recruitment dates for your target job?

Do you want summer jobs abroad, roles at big events or temporary work over the Christmas vacation? One of the important things to look out for when applying for student jobs like these is the recruitment dates for different companies.

It is up to you to do the research and make sure you don’t miss out on opportunities just because you missed the application dates. For example, many companies will start recruiting at the end of summer and in early autumn to fill their Christmas vacancies. Likewise, you might need to apply in January for summer jobs abroad.

Sign up for alerts from job listing websites so you receive recruitment updates straight to your inbox and you can keep track of when you need to apply for the jobs you want.

There are lots of things to look out for when choosing student jobs and the main takeaway from all of this is to read job descriptions carefully and research the companies offering the roles. That way, you can go in with your eyes open and get the most from your position.

Chris Eccles is the owner and co-founder of E4S, a website dedicated to helping students find term-time and holiday jobs. Find your perfect student job at www.e4s.co.uk today.

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