Part Time work - what to expect
So you've decided that it's time to find a part-time job. Whether it was because you dropped your sandwich on the pavement and considered eating it anyway to save money, or because you're tired of going shopping with your friends and never being able to buy anything, you've decided that you need some extra cash and have started scanning job adverts. But, what happens when you're hired?
While a large proportion of students have part-time jobs during term time, the majority of those who do have trouble balancing their jobs with social and academic commitments. It's easy to understand why as student life is constantly busy, but if you decide to get a job, these are a few points to think about before you accept any positions:
When would I work?
Make a rough timetable of your weekly schedule as it stands right now. List your class schedule, club meetings and any other commitment that you absolutely have to do. Then, think about how much time you spend on your studies - you shouldn't count this as free time that you can use for your job instead, but you might be able to move your study time around in order to fit paid work into your schedule.
If the only free time you can possibly find in a week is a couple of hours on a Sunday, then you're going to have trouble finding a job that fits that. But, if you can potentially see a few evenings and maybe some weekends free, then that will give you more flexibility in the kind of part-time job you get. Remember that any time you've set aside for paid work will need to include travel to and from the business.
How many hours would I work?
When you've figured out the kinds of times you could work, the next thing to think about is what sort of regular commitment you could give your employer. If you're looking for a job at the start of term and think you can work 20 hours in a week, keep in mind that you may not be able to do that towards the end of term. If your job has shift work that allows you to take as many or as few time slots as you like, you can adjust your hours down when your coursework gets really busy. Discuss your situation with your employer so you can find out how flexible your working hours can be, and so you don't promise something you can't deliver on later.
What can I get out of it?
While the main reason you're getting a part-time job will be to improve your finances, remember that it's something to put on your CV when it comes to finding work after you graduate. If you can get a job related to the degree you're working on, it's a fantastic way to combine work experience with extra cash. But if you can't, you'll still benefit from having provable experience of dealing with customers, using computers in an office, working in a retail environment or just keeping yourself organised as you meet your course requirements will being successful at your job.