Back to advice

Summer jobs

Friday 12 June 2009 Work Experience

With summer just around the corner, the scramble for vacation work has begun in earnest. NUS offers some tips on how to find that all important job.

Jobs for students

The graduate job market is not the only one that will be crowded this year. Because while the average student might consider themselves to be something of an expert in negotiating troubled and often deep financial waters, there will be few who can survive this summer without taking some kind of paid employment. Even those who didn’t need to work in the past may do so this year just to balance the books, hoping to finish university with as little debt as possible.

‘As the era of easy credit ends, students will have to become better savers and be more sensible spenders,’ warns Tom Pearson, Financial Support Advisor at City University, London.

On or off campus?

For those fortunate enough to have secured work during term time, especially in an industry that is not seasonal, full or extended hours may be available during the summer and such an offer could solve your problems with minimum effort. Of course, staying on campus means finding somewhere to live and summer retainers, or continued rent payments, should be weighed against your anticipated earnings.

Making enough to live, eat and socialise would get you through the summer but prudent financial planning could also afford you the opportunity to save some money for the year ahead.

A recent Money Doctor’s report on the impact of the recession throughout the UK identified that students had been affected by a shortage in part-time work. So in the current climate, experts are advising students to consider their options more carefully and be more flexible and innovative in their job hunting.

Be realistic

‘Students need to be more realistic and pro-active in their preparation in applying for work,’ explains Andrea Wall, Employer Liaison Manager at the University of Sussex, before adding that students may wish to consider what skills they have picked up during study and the type of employers that might value them. Developing such skills in a practical environment and building contacts, she highlights, is increasingly important.

‘If you have identified the type of work you would like to do in the future, or a sector, then getting relevant skills before you graduate is a good step’.

Widen your search

On the south coast, language teachers and activity leaders are common seasonal jobs (albeit with specific entry requirements), while Brighton has opportunities in sectors such as digital media and care work.

‘Widening the search beyond your immediate local area may be fruitful,’ suggests Andrea. ‘At Sussex, we have set up a display in our information centre showing a map with local work opportunities beyond the immediate Brighton area’.

Work at festivals

Jobs at summer festivals are understandably popular, especially as the festivals themselves are a destination for many students anyway. For those looking for a less muddy form of employment, it’s worth asking your local council whether they have an admin pool, especially for those who can demonstrate good administration skills.

Andrea also reflects positively on overseas opportunities, which some students may rule out because of cost implications. ‘It is a viable option even in the current climate. Jobs overseas include resort and campsite representatives, chalet/villa cooks and water sport/activity instructors.’

Wherever you want to work, help and guidance can be found at your university careers’ service and students’ union. Most students' unions have job shops, where you will be able to find that has been offered just to students.