Thursday, 16 June 2016

How to get a part-time job whilst studying

One of the most common questions I get asked by potential students is: "Is it easy to find part-time job?" This is followed up by another question: "Is it possible to cope with your studies?"

Before I had this International Ambassador job, my main part-time job was working as a waitress in a restaurant. Was it easy? No. Like all jobs, it's just like your studies. It requires effort, time and commitment. The employer is paying you after all! Part-time job really does help to ease a tight student's budget and most importantly, it's your hard earned money! It makes you think twice before spending and of course, potentially saving up for a summer trip around Europe :)

So how did I get this part-time job?

1. Build up your CV

Just because it's a part-time job does not mean that you should not focus on the quality of your CV. Notice that spelling error? Did you place the margins of the paper properly before printing? Employers notice these things because your CV is a reflection of you and is a trigger if they would want to call you up for an interview.

2. Limited Working Hours (Visa Requirement)

Another important thing for international students is to always be aware of the amount of hours you can work during term time. Some part-time jobs may require longer hours, so it's important to keep this in mind when applying. Most international students have a 20 hours per week during term time limitation and to be honest, that's more than enough! Don't sacrifice your studies for work. You are here to study after all.

3. Look out for vacancies....or be bold!

Shops, cafes, and restaurants often advertise vacancies on their front door but on the same hand, they often do not advertise at all!

I got my part-time job at the restaurant by taking the initiative and handing in my CVs in every café and restaurant, even though they were not advertising any vacancies. The restaurant, which rang me up for an interview did not advertise at all. Thus, be bold :) There is no harm walking in asking for vacancy and handing in your CV.

As for my current International Ambassador job, I kept an eye out on the University of Sheffield's career page. There are loads of on-campus job opportunities, especially in the beginning of each new term. Places are competitive because the University pays higher than the minimum wage. However, most University's jobs often require an online application form to be submitted, rather than handing in your CV.

The most important thing in any job hunting is to cater your skills and experiences for the role you're applying for. By knowing how to sell yourself well, you will be invited to more interviews.

4. Work and Study Balance

If you have found a part-time job, congratulations! Every job has its own working hours. You may be required to work on night shifts or during weekends. Whatever it is, bear in mind of the importance of your studies. Do not take in more shifts knowing that you are well behind your studies.

I worked twice a week when I felt my workload was piling up and only took up an extra shift, when I was free or felt I could cope. Know that balance.

5. Commitment and Responsibility

Just because it's a part-time job does not mean you should take it lightly. You should not be calling in sick an hour before work and you should not be performing at work half-heartedly. You would be risking your own job!

But most importantly, you never know when you need a professional reference for your future career. A good performance at work means a good reference by your employer. A part-time job is just as good as a graduate job. So be committed when you start working and treat it as a responsibility. You will find that it makes working there easier and improve your relationships with your employer and colleagues.

I hope this post sheds some light into getting a part-time job! There are many opportunities in Sheffield; it is a student city after all :) So, good luck!

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