Finding a part time job is something that every student finds difficult whilst they are at university and this venture has been made even more challenging because of COVID-19. Securing work takes time and effort, but it is possible!
Make sure that your timetable can accommodate a part time job
It’s important to be realistic in your venture to find work. Whilst earning a wage is desirable, your studies are more important. Most universities would advise working a part-time job for no more than 15 hours per week, during term time, to ensure your university work does not suffer.
Search for part-time jobs in advance
It is good to start looking for jobs as early as possible because it is likely that you will not find work straight away. Applying early will also put you ahead of the rest when fresher’s week comes around and everyone is frantically applying for a job.
Start by searching for part-time positions on online sites like Indeed or Totaljobs and by looking directly on companies’ websites. You can even sign up to these sites which will send notifications of when a part-time job becomes available in your area.
Social media can also be the perfect place to hunt for work as companies will likely share their job opportunities on sites like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook; just make sure your profile looks professional before you respond to a post.
The University of Manchester provides great online resources to aid students in their search for work, including the Careers Service and the Students’ Union job shop.
If you are not having much success with online resources, you could consider calling a recruitment agency. They usually have a database of positions waiting to be filled and so it makes sense to get involved.
It is important, when you are searching for work, to use your own networks. If you are lucky enough to have friends or family working at a company you are interested in, they might be able to give you a heads up when a new becomes available and even put in a good word for you.
And finally, if all else fails, just ask the old-fashioned way. When it comes to finding a part-time job, walking into a place with your CV and asking if there are any job vacancies can be very effective. It might seem daunting at first, but it does get easier.
Make your job applications relevant to you and your studies
Students, although not professionals, still possess so many of the skills that employers actively search for. It is important to take stock of the qualities that you have and use them to dictate what jobs to apply for. By applying for jobs that utilise your skill set, it increases the likelihood for success in securing the role and within the position itself.
Another factor to consider when applying for work is whether the experience will be useful to your studies or future career. Take full advantage of being exposed to the working environment and keep it relevant, this will put you in good stead when you graduate and are applying for permanent work in the same field.
(I have just secured work at a dental practice as a part time receptionist and nursing assistant. This role utilises my knowledge and skills as a dental student whilst providing a great clinical experience).
Be optimistic with your applications
Sometimes applying for jobs that seem a little out of reach can pay off. If you have an impressive resumé, conduct yourself well, and express a willingness to learn then employers may overlook some minor discrepancies between your application and the applicant requirements.
Create a great CV
A good resumé that makes you stand out is essential. Your CV does not have to be job specific, that is what the cover letter is for, but it does need to wow your potential employer.
- Keep it concise and to one sheet of paper.
- After giving your contact details, open your CV with a brief personal statement that sums you up in a couple of sentences.
- Use headings, including education and employment history, to keep the format simple and easy to digest.
- For every experience, job, or achievement it is important to include a key example of what skills you managed to develop.
- Add any wider personal interests at the end to help convey your character and personality.
Devise a stand-out cover letter
A good cover letter will sell your job specific skills and abilities to the recruiter; it, ultimately, persuades the reader to invite you to an interview.
- Do your research, take some time to look into the job you are applying for and the company. Use this information to tailor your cover letter accordingly.
- Keep the letter well-present and ensure it is easy to read.
- Aim for half a side of A4 to keep it concise and to the point.
- Cover letters should be addressed to the person dealing with the applications, usually this will be shown in the job advert. If you cannot find a name, do not fret, ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ will suffice.
- Structuring a letter well is very important; open the letter with why you are getting in touch, the second paragraph should detail why you are suitable for the job, the third paragraph should explain what you can do for the company, the final paragraph should reiterate your interest in the role and why you would be the perfect candidate and finally, close the letter with ‘Yours Sincerely’ (if you know the name of the hiring manager) or ‘Yours Faithfully’ (if you do not know the name of the hiring manager).
Be an enthusiastic interviewee
First impressions are so important in job applications and interviews, so ensure that your potential employer knows that you are keen to work for them; dress smartly and prepare adequately.
It is always worth sending a quick email afterwards to thank the interviewer for their time; this not only shows that you are genuinely interested in the job, but also that you are appreciative of the opportunity.
Do not rule out freelance work
Throughout my time at University, I have held many freelance roles which include a remote coaching business and content creating/blogging work. The ability to manage your own time and work from home can provide the flexibility a student needs to balance their work with their studies.
Keep trying and do not give up
It can be really disheartening when a job enquiry is met with a rejection or, even worse, no reply at all. I have been there and received the t-shirt, multiple times. It is really important to continue trying, even when you feel like you have exhausted all application avenues.
It has taken me some time to find the right type of employment which was manageable around my studies and other freelance work. I began searching for a job in my first year of University and it has taken until my fourth year to secure the appropriate one. It really does take a strong mind and copious amounts of determination to continue searching but it will pay off eventually.