Getting your first student job is a rite of passage that the majority of students will need to follow during their time at university. The spiralling costs of university and the challenge of meeting new people when you’re away from home for what could be the first time can often make finding work in your student city a necessity.
As well as subsidising student living on campus, getting that first student job can provide you an escape from the stresses of studies. It can also provide priceless experience for after you complete your course and make your way into the world of future employment.
Of course, getting a part time job whilst studying doesn’t come without its challenges. We’ve put together this handy guide on what to look out for, how to apply and what the benefits are to you applying for a campus student job.
Pick Your Sector Wisely
This one might go without saying but making a wise decision on the industry you work in is of paramount importance. It may well be that you already know your career path of choice before you even start your first year of study, but finding a placement could be easier said than done, so be prepared to go a little bit out of your comfort zone.
For those who aren’t so sure on what it is that they want to do when they complete their studies, a part time job in hospitality or retail might just be the perfect choice. This is a popular choice for first and second year students looking to earn some extra money, not least due to the perks such as food and toiletries, and the flexible working hours to fit around your studies.
This also gives you first-hand customer service skills which in turn can help you improve your confidence and ability to communicate, vital for your future career in any industry. These are also attributes that are required in any profession and so will serve you well in interviews and even your seminars during your course.
Starting Your Search
The internet is, as one would expect, an extremely valuable resource for finding student jobs. There are a vast number of websites out there that advertise student jobs such as StudentJob.co.uk; Europe’s biggest job site for students and young professionals.
Searching for a part-time student job shouldn’t stop there though. Often recruitment agencies can help offer invaluable advice on the best opportunities for your skillset, and your university tutors can point you in the right direction of any opportunities they might be aware of.
For students who really want to make a good first impression, going to meet potential employers face-to-face can be extremely effective. Take the time to go to any store or business you might wish to express an interest in and ask to see a manager. This can stand you in better stead when it comes to securing yourself an interview and making that vital first impression.
Prepare Your CV
Once you have an idea of the kind of job you want to apply for, it’s time to create a perfectly tailored CV for the roles. Take your time to ensure that your CV is well presented, remember this is the first thing your potential future employer is going see so take it seriously.
It’s important to note too, that you should not be sending out the same CV for every role you apply for. Prepare your CV based on the specific requirements that they are asking for in the job description and make sure to show off any relevant experience you might have for the role.
If it’s an online application take your time to sell yourself and ensure any open questions are detailed. Try to avoid clichés and repeating phrases, instead point out which aspects of the role you are interested in and why you think you’d be perfect for it, giving relevant experience if possible.
Nailing the Interview
Once you’ve got yourself an interview it’s important to show that you’re enthusiastic about the role you’re applying for. It might not be your dream job, but you need to show employers what it is that you can bring to the role and really let your personality shine through.
Come prepared with any previous experience, try to be relaxed and natural, and of course dress smart to indicate that you’re serious about the job.
Another great idea is to always have questions prepared to ask at the end, as this will get you bonus points and show that you are genuinely interested in the role. Don’t just ask about salary, benefits or annual leave though; why not ask them to tell you a bit about the team you would be working in, or why they enjoy working there.
Finding a Balance
Most importantly, you need to make sure that your studies always come before your job. It can be quite easy to fall into a trap of working long hours and taking as many shifts as you can for extra cash, but a campus student job shouldn’t be at the detriment of your degree.
Before you commit to a role, make sure that you and your new employer are in agreement with how many hours you can do a week and how flexible you are, especially when exam period comes around. Your student job is there to help you subsidise your studies, don’t run the risk of burning out by taking too much on!