Students with no money? Earning whilst at College/University

November 8th, 2007
By Jon H
Students with no money? Earning whilst at College/University

During your studies you’re not earning a full time wage and you’re probably going to be a student with no money, so finances will be getting a little sore. Having your student loan will help, and your overdraft (whether it’s 500 or 2,500) probably is being used at the moment to pay for groceries, alcohol and ‘much needed extras’. With the need to buy the latest phone or ipod (or even the Ipod released tomorrow in the UK), and the need to eat, buy textbooks and pay for where you’re staying, you will soon be running short of money.

If you’re not in the red, and become bored easily (you have some spare time on your hands), getting a job on or close to campus can always increase your social circles.

Why get a job?

Having a job and earning money whilst at uni is a must for some people. Everyone will be in a different situation, single parent family, only child, rich mum and dad etc. Some students may not want to work, some might not have time, whilst others may need to work to pay their rent or go out on a Wednesday night with the ‘guys’ (why are Wednesdays so popular anyhow?).

What could I do though?

Work in a hotel or for a catering company
Getting a job in a restaurant/hotel or with a catering agency can be quite easy, as you generally don’t need any experience and you can start straight away. Working in a bar or restaurant can be quite challenging as you’re always on your feet and it’s hard work round Christmas time. The pay isn’t great, but if you get a job at a good restaurant or bar, then the tips could be worthwhile. I worked in a bar when I first went to uni and I was walking away with at least £50 worth of tips a night, it is achievable and it obviously helps when you’re a student.

Retail in detail
Working in a shop, such as Next or Burtons is of course an option for you. Personally I’ve never done this as people come and go very quickly – they look, try on and purchase within 10–15 minutes. For me, I always enjoyed knowing what drink a certain person had been drinking all night and preempt their order. For some though working in a shop environment is for them, and there are busy and quiet times as much as any other job. If there is anyone that is working, or has worked in a shop, then please leave a comment below – I’d be interested in your experiences.

A job on campus
Getting a job on campus can be great. It could be on a bar, in a shop, as part of the students’ union, as a part-time lecturer (if you’re a post-grad), or even on tech support in a library – there are many more I’m sure. The bonus of working on campus? You can literally ‘fall out of bed’ and there you are, not catching the bus, getting the car started or waiting for a lift – quick, easy and convenient. Most will pay the minimum wage though, so if you’re thinking that working for your uni, or a contractor that works for your uni, then you’d be mistaken.

Seasonal Work

As Christmas is soon approaching (there’s only 46 days until the big one), many employers will be on the lookout for people to work over the Christmas period – this period will probably begin (for many industries) in the next few weeks, so going out and seeing what’s about is a task you need to do in the next few days and over the weekend. To cope with the serge in demand of extra shoppers/diners/drunken louts, businesses will take extra people on (especially students, yay!) for a number of weeks to combat this rise in business.

Do something different

Have you ever thought that some of the jobs are mundane and boring? If you’re an adventurer and like doing different things in life then I’d suggest joining your local UOTC (University Officer Training Corps), it’s part of the TA and yes you do need to get up early and do a bit of PT (physical training), but it’s well worth while. Plus, firing ‘guns’ on a range, going to other countries (like Canada and France) and getting paid for it is an opportunity that I would advise anyone to do. Everything is paid for and they even come to pick you up at the University for training evenings and ‘play away’ weekends. There is some physical stuff, but I managed and so can many others, plus there’s cheap beer and generally lots to do – good social networking.

Another way to make money could to become an entrepreneur. Whilst studying at college/university many people want to make something more of their lives and some become successful in this field – head over to young entrepreneurs of 2004 to read about some interesting stories on college entrepreneurs with some great ideas. Did I want to be an entrepreneur? Yes, but I’m still trying to get there, I haven’t managed to concentrate fully on the whole aspect of self-employment – but I digress.

Where to Look?

You want a job (or need one) and are ready, geared up and ready to sky rocket, but where do you look? Sourcing information should be a strong characteristic you have by now, even if you’ve only just started your course. A few areas that you could review for job openings can be: – for catering jobs, hotels, restaurants, contract caterers, fast foods restaurants – plus they’ve got some interesting resources too

Campus notice boards – a great way to notice if there are any jobs ideally suited to the scope of students, these tend to be near a careers advice office, or could be on the campus intranet

Google – with google’s local search and great indexing system you may be able to find a job

Local newspapers – all local papers generally have a job section in, sometimes something really good pops up, it’s worth taking a look.

Thanks, but I don’t need a job

You don’t huh? Well, think of that when you go to an interview with a potential employer and they ask what experience you have in the world of work. None? Then I don’t think you’ll get very far, as employers like to see that you have some experience in the ‘world of work’ and that you know what working for money actually entails. Being managed and managing your time, commitments and job will show to an employer that you’re responsible and have the ability to develop with them.

Remember: Companies will be taking on seasonal staff over the next week or so, so it is probably best to start looking around now. Dependant on what type of work you’re interested in will relate to how many jobs are on offer and the rate of pay that you’ll get. Here in the UK, you will get the national minimum wage (which has just gone up), but whether you will get anymore than that will depend on the job, employer and industry you’re working in.

The Discussion

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