Victoria, our Advice & Money Student Intern, shares her advice on how to find a part-time job that suits you…
The best way to increase your income is to find part-time work. Work? Yeah right, as if you have time for that on top of your raucous social life and the ever-growing pile of university work at your desk. However, don’t give it up for lost yet. Part-time work can actually help you improve your time management skills. You may be a super organised Einstein before you know it, but with less of the scratchy moustache. Learning how businesses work will also improve your commercial awareness. What may seem like just mumbo-jumbo that gets put on the front of CVs, are actually exactly the skills which graduate employers are looking for. Plus, getting a job means money, which can make the barren wasteland of your budget a little more fruitful and the crawl between student loan payments more bearable.
Part-time work can be enjoyable if you go for the right job. As the saying goes, find the right job and you’ll never work again… And you’ll be able to afford those shoes you’ve been in a long-distance relationship with through the shop window for the last month. If you know what you want to do, make that application sparkle rather than applying for everything under the sun. You should ask yourself, are you applying for the right job? If you’re struggling to know what type of work you should apply for, find out with our fun little part-time pursuit personality quiz.
The One-Stop Jobshop
Provided you remember your passport, the Jobshop on the Fourth Floor of the Students’ Union can get you all signed up in around 10 minutes. They’re the relative royalty of part-time student work, and will make you feel super loved with all the emails they send you.
Casual work is by far the best way to earn some quick cash in your spare time without sacrificing your freedom. Jobshop send out plenty of casual vacancies, so you can choose work which fits best around you. For example, you could be working at the SU one night instead of being sat at home watching Corrie, or working at an open day instead of heading to town to spend money (that you may not have!) Jobshop also send out non-casual vacancies, if you want a more regular source of income.
7 Ways to Earn While You Enjoy
Your dream part-time pursuit really depends on the type of person you are, and what you enjoy doing. If you turn the house into a flood risk by blubbing uncontrollably at Titanic, a cinema job might suit you. If you’re the life of the party, then working on a bar could be your best bet. If you want something more orientated to your future career, you should think about a part-time or short-term internship. These are fantastic for giving you the relevant skills and experience to get ahead in your quest for your dream job.
Here’s my top 7 ways to earn while you enjoy, a list of possible jobs along with knowledge for applying which I’ve accumulated through first-hand experience or asking others.
Whether you’re set and driven on a set goal, or have no idea what you want to do with your life, there’s an internship for you. Internships can be more valuable than unskilled work in allowing you to learn new skills that will be impressive in your graduate applications. I’m currently doing an internship with Cardiff University Student Support, something I applied for in the standard third year panic without any real hope that I’d get it. Now I’m here, writing this blog, having a great time and learning to use software I’d never even heard of!
- Visit Careers and Employability, your department’s Careers Advisor, of follow @CardiffCareers
- Follow @ExpWorksCU on Twitter, or email email@example.com
Internships are more like graduate jobs, so it’s a good learning experience even to apply for one. You should make sure your cover letter screams concision and enthusiasm. In the interview, you should exude professionalism and a keenness to learn.
Retail jobs can help you fulfil your dreams of knowing all the current trends, or the features of the newest technology before it’s even released. It also means you may get a nice staff discount, but be careful not to spend all your earnings in the shop you work in! I worked in a clothing store for two years, and cherished my staff discount as if it were my child. I’ve never gotten over losing it, which is probably why I’m still wearing a wardrobe from two years ago. Does that count as vintage? Probably not.
- Take advantage of the run up to Christmas
- Be proactive
If you get to the interview stage, try to be as chatty and friendly as you can. Remember that in retail, the customer always comes first, so make sure you emphasise how much you know about good customer service. Here are two key phrases to mention: stock loss and average transaction value. You’re committed to reducing stock loss (stealing) and you understand the best way to do this is to be alert at all times and to acknowledge all customers with a smile or greeting. You’re also really interested in driving average transaction value, so for example, suggesting a controller to go with that console or a belt to go with that dress.
Promoter or Brand Ambassador
If you want to be the hero of all your mates when you save them from queuing in the rain, the promoter life is calling. Of course, you’ll probably still be stuck outside in the typical Welsh weather, but at least you’ll have a big beastly umbrella to protect you. If you love meeting new people, being a promoter or brand ambassador are a good way of doing that. Sometimes these kind of jobs work by commission, and there’s no harm in giving something a try, but it helps if you have, or can build a network of people.
- Be proactive
- Work your contacts
Being a promoter or an ambassador is all about confidence and the impression you give off. Emphasise how much of a chatty, friendly person you are. You’re unafraid to approach people, even if that means having several similar chats about the weather.
If you’re a committed fan of all things film, then working in a cinema would suite you well. If you get a job at a cinema, you may be able to get discounted or even free showings, and also discounted food.
- Be proactive
- Be knowledgeable and enthusiastic
If you get to the interview stage, it’s important to know what films have come out in the last year and how well they’ve done. Make sure you show how enthusiastic you are about the films and the cinema industry, that way they know you’ll gel well with the staff.
If you love having fun with friends, bar work might be the perfect transition from one end of the dance floor to the other. It’s one of the most fun jobs out there, and you can make tips in addition to your wages. Once you’ve been there a while, you find yourself part of an impenetrable team of soldiers united in sober solidarity. I’ve worked on a bar for the past two years whilst at university, and I can honestly say it’s one of those jobs with a thin line between love and hate – but the love definitely wins out when you find yourself doing the night fever with someone your dad’s age whilst grinning your absolute ears off.
- Get some experience through casual work (Jobshop is always looking for people to do casual bar work)
- Be proactive
- Like or follow their social media accounts, as this is where they often advertise that they’re hiring
- Work your contacts – if you know someone who works in a bar, get chatting to them and ask them if they’re hiring
Bar work is all about customer service, but also about customer safety. Emphasise how alert and intuitive you are about the responsible sale of alcohol, which means not serving anyone who is drunk. It’s also all about being chatty and confident, so try to play this up as much as you can.
Restaurants are another great source of work, and again there’s the opportunity to make more money through tips. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to get some free food out of it. Live like a student, eat like a king and all that.
- Get some experience through casual work
- Be proactive
- Work your contacts
Like all hospitality businesses, customer service is key so emphasise how well you understand how delivering amazing service will get customers to come back again. You should always be polite, and you should never take any plates away if someone on the table is still eating. It would also be worth clueing yourself up on food safety. You should also mention or demonstrate how well you work under pressure.
If you want to attend big events without breaking your fragile student budget, you should do some event work. The Principality Stadium is always looking to hire people at some of the world’s biggest matches, and this is usually done through recruitment agencies. The stadium and other venues also advertise through Jobshop, and event work can be a great way to get experience if you want a more regular income.
- Sign up to Cardiff Uni Jobshop
- Sign up to recruitment agencies, like First Event Staff or Principality Stadium Experience
Once again, you should emphasise your customer service experience, or talk about how much you like working with people and contributing to a great atmosphere. You should show or tell how well you work under pressure.
Careers and Employability
If you’re considering working, why not pop down to ask the experts at Careers and Employability at 50 Park Place? They can help you spruce up that CV and find your perfect part-time pursuit. You can book your careers appointment quickly and easily online.
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Victoria, Advice and Money Student Intern
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