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Part-time work

Wednesday 19 December 2012 Work Experience

As university fees rise and funding becomes increasingly sparse, more students have no choice but to take on part-time work to support themselves throughout their studies.

Part-time and casual work has obvious benefits:

  • it helps to get your bank balance back into the black;
  • it boosts your transferable skills such as time management, organisational and teamwork abilities;
  • it gives you a taster of day-to-day working life.

Can I study while working part time?

Most universities acknowledge the fact that many students need to undertake some paid work during their studies, but recommend a limit of 10 to 15 hours a week during term time. However, not every institution permits it, so it is advisable to check with your university before seeking a part-time job.

If you are not a UK or EEA-domiciled student, there may be restrictions on the number of hours you are allowed to work. For more information, visit UKCISA: UK Council for International Student Affairs - Working in the UK during your studies or your careers service.

Think carefully before you decide to take on part-time work and consider how many hours you will be able to undertake in order to earn the money you need without jeopardising your academic work.

Part-time jobs can be carried out during the day when you are free from lectures, in the evenings or at weekends. If you are choosing to return to study after having worked full time, it may be an idea to ask your current employer whether you are able to keep your job but reduce your hours - particularly if your chosen studies will enhance your performance.

Where can I get a part-time job?

Your first stop when searching for a part-time job should be the university Student Job Shop - there will be plenty of opportunities whether it’s in the student bar or the university library, and you may even be able to secure work as a teaching assistant.

Many part-time roles are also available locally and are seasonal. Employers recruit casual employees to cover busy periods such as Christmas in retail and summer in hospitality. Visit your careers service or student job shop to find out what vacancies are available. For part-time positions, you can also search:

How do I apply for a part-time job?

Although competition for part-time jobs is often not as strong as for permanent roles, it is likely that you will still be expected to submit an application form and/or CV and attend an interview.

When will I be paid?

Wages are often paid monthly, sometimes weekly and are worked out by an hourly payment. Depending on your chosen role, subsidised travel and lunches and attendance at in-house training courses may also be part of the benefits. One of the most valuable outcomes will be the opportunity to have an employer referee on your CV, ready for when the time comes to apply for graduate positions.

Once you have obtained a job offer, make sure that you are given a written contract detailing the terms and conditions of employment. If you do not receive one, then ask.

How will it help my career?

Most part-time work does not count towards your course or gain you any academic credit. However, by carefully choosing the type of role you apply for, you can gain relevant industry experience relating to your studies, which may boost your employability upon graduation. For example, if you opt to take on a part-time job in a sector you hope to work in once you graduate, you will have relevant work experience and contacts to utilise.

However, even if your part-time job is seemingly unrelated to your career aspirations, you will have the opportunity to gain a number of skills which will be desirable in almost any industry. Learn more about some of the transferable skills that you may be able to include in