Most students work alongside their studies. As well as the obvious financial benefits, a student job can boost your confidence, build your skillset, expand your networks and give you tangible examples to use at interview
Tuition fees are expensive, living costs can be hard to meet and student debts are hefty. Unsurprisingly, many students have no choice but to take on part-time jobs to help lessen the financial burden of university study.
During term time, institutions recommend working no more than 20 hours per week to ensure that your studies aren't negatively affected. International students should check they have the right to work in the UK while studying, and if so ensure that the number of hours they work doesn't exceed those stated in their visa.
If you're searching for a student job and are in need of some inspiration here are some of the most common options.
If you're looking to earn some extra cash, there may be no need to look beyond your institution. University jobs for students, also known as campus jobs, exist in the following areas:
- Admin assistant - Photocopying, filing, data entry, paying invoices and booking travel are just some of the tasks you could be doing.
- IT support - Involves working part time to provide technical support for halls of residence or particular departments.
- Hospitality staff - Most students' unions have shops, bars and cafés that all need running with shift work, making it easy to fit around your studies.
- Resident assistant - Requires you to be a live-in supervisor in your halls of residence. You'll be the first port of call if students have an issue with their living quarters, acting as the middleman between student housing and students.
- Library worker - Involves dealing with general queries from users, reshelving returned items and keeping the shelves tidy.
- Student/campus ambassador - It's your job to promote the university through open days, presentations and practical activities both inside and outside the university. Sometimes called a brand manager, you could also work for an organisation to raise their profile on campus and improve recruitment.
- Student content creator - Some institutions employ students to create content for university platforms such as websites and social channels. This content could be in the form of blogs, vlogs, articles and videos.
- Teaching assistantship - PhD students receive financial support and training in return for six to eight hours per week of leading classes, hosting tutorials, marking papers and giving lab demonstrations. To find out more, see scholarships and bursaries.
Vacancies appear throughout the year. Most work will be during term time, but double check as you may be expected to work in the holidays.
Head to your student job shop, as it will have a list of everything that's on offer at your institution. If you want to work in a certain department, contact them directly to see what's available. There may also be a mailing list you can join so that opportunities get sent straight to you. For most roles you'll need to email your CV and cover letter explaining why you want the job and what you can offer.
Working part time keeps your bank balance in the black and gives you a taste of working life. It improves skills such as time management, organisation, leadership and teamwork too.
However, not every institution permits you to work alongside your studies so check with your university before looking for part-time opportunities and learn how to balance work and study. If you're not a UK student there may be restrictions on the number of hours you're allowed to work. For more information, visit UKCISA - Tier 4 work.
As of April 2023, you'll be paid at least the National Minimum Wage (NMW) of £7.49 per hour if you're aged between 18 and 20, rising to £10.18 if you're between 21 and 22. Those aged 23 and over will get the National Living Wage (NLW) of £10.42. To qualify for benefits such as the state pension, you'll need to pay National Insurance, and a National Insurance number is required to do this.
You could try:
- bar work
- waiting tables
- mystery shopping
- an office job
- promotional work.
To see what's available, visit your careers service or student job shop. You could also contact companies speculatively to see what they have to offer and hand in your CV.
Alternatively you can also search:
Think about how the job you're doing can be linked to your career aspirations. For example, experience of working in a kitchen can be useful if you want to be a chef, working front of house in a hotel could be helpful if you plan to work in the tourism and hospitality sector and a part-time student job in retail could be useful if you want to break into the fashion industry.
Whether your part-time job is relevant or not, it can still add value to your CV. If the experience is recent or it helped you to gain useful transferable skills that you can use in future positions, then it’s a good idea to mention it on your CV. If your part-time work experience is years old and bears no relevance to the job you're applying for then leave it off your CV.
Online jobs for students
Increasingly popular as they allow you to work remotely, online jobs for students are available in a number of areas. Because you're working from home you'll avoid extra costs such as travel and lunch expenses, which means you keep every penny you earn.
- content creation
- completing online surveys
- data entry
- freelance writing, proofreading or transcribing
- social media management
- video editing.
If you're still in need of extra cash you could start a side hustle. You could sell unwanted belongings, such as clothes, books and electronics on the internet via platforms like Facebook Marketplace, eBay and Vinted. If you're a crafty type you could sell your creations on Etsy.
If you don't want to work alongside your studies but still need some extra cash then use the holidays to your advantage. The Christmas break is a great time to get a job. Retail and hospitality organisations are busier than usual over the festive season and often recruit short-term staff, known as temps, to cope with demand. This type of work is also useful if you're returning home and only need something temporary.
Most vacancies are advertised, but if you're looking for a job at a particular company and can't find anything, it's worth calling to see if there are any jobs available. You'll need to start applying early to mid-November with an up-to-date CV. This will allow for the interview process and any training to take place.
It's also a good idea to think outside the box at this time of year, as many organisations need extra help. Companies like Royal Mail offer full and part-time indoor sorting positions from early November until 23 December across the UK, while warehouse positions are available to help organisations such as Amazon meet the demands of Christmas shoppers. If you don't mind a bit of fancy dress, you could consider helping out in a Santa's grotto.
To find inspiration for the warmer months, see summer jobs.
This type of work experience looks great on your CV, provides first-hand knowledge of a particular job or industry, boosts your skillset and provides you with a network of contacts. As the majority of internships are paid, they provide the extra bonus of helping out financially.