If you are considering working alongside your degree to earn a bit of extra cash, you may be asking yourself what job should you get? And you will also need to learn how to manage working and studying when at university. There are so many different work sectors and types of jobs out there and it can be difficult to know which one would be perfect for you and who is giving effective student advice. Here are some things to consider.
Some locations offer greater opportunities than others, like cities. However, it isn’t as effective if you have to commute far or pay out a lot of money to get there. Look around for local opportunities, for example, if you are studying a journalist degree, write to your local paper or gazette and ask for work experience or a chance to work for them in the summer.
Working in a related field similar to what you are studying and what you wish to carry on after you finish your degree is the best place to start looking. It’s good practice to look at what current jobs are available in your chosen career path to give you an idea of qualifications and experience employers are looking for. Now that you have an idea, you can see about gaining that experience during your time at university, during the summer breaks, to give you an advantage when you leave.
If your degree requires lots of revision or studying hundreds of theories to take exams at the end of the year, taking on a challenging role or working more than 20 hours a week will be too much to handle. Working with children, or tutoring can be quite mentally draining and this won’t help in exam season. Also, if you have a set contract then promising to work 27 hours a week in October as you don’t have a lot of university commitments at that time, won’t help you out in the summer or end of terms. Be realistic in what your lifestyle can handle.
You need to be prepared to realise that your desired job won’t be directly within reach after your first day of term. It can take lots of experience and hard work after finishing your degree to get where you want to be. You should think about how you climb up the career ladder and set realistic goals so you can celebrate when you do work your way up.
Also, there is a big chance that you may have to do unpaid work. This is extremely hard, as everybody has bills to pay and working for free can be challenging and feel unrewarding. If you take on an unpaid role, consider the consequences greatly beforehand. An unpaid experience of a few weeks should help you understand the job role, but whereas some internships can be as long as 4 months without pay, how will you support yourself? Working a part-time job and working unpaid will put more pressure on you and you may start underperforming on one of the commitments. Try to find a short work experience or job so that you can prepare and cover yourself during a time of not earning.
Sometimes, if there isn’t a lot of job opportunities available, choosing something that is near and not mentally challenging will help you get some cash on the side. Retail is a great place to start as you are dealing with people and providing a service, as well as working with money and learning other skills. The skills you learn from retail can be beneficial to other areas, such as, if you were promoted during your time there, learning people management and leadership techniques will come in handy.
When to work
You can decide to work in the summer and when you have a break in studying, like, around Christmas and New Year, or to work little and often and go for a permanent job during your degree. The only problem you may come across is that if your university is far from home, you will be tied to where your permanent job is. For example, having a job at home will limit you to only work during non-term time, and having a job at university may mean you won’t get the chance to come home as often as you have responsibilities where you are now. Think about which area you would prefer to work and have ties with.
As there are so many different areas of work you can become involved in, it is hard to know where to start. Directgov is a fantastic website, run by the government (they also do your student loans!) where you can search by area. Not all students work during university, so it is best to take the time to think about what you want to do before diving straight into it.
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