How to get a Part-Time Job at University

Most students have been there at least once. You’re approaching the end of the semester. The student loan’s being spread thinner and thinner, your overdraft is stretched to breaking point. And you’ve still got bills, books and nights out to pay for! At The Insurance Emporium, we know that life at university isn’t cheap. Whether you’re in this position or you’re planning on dodging the debt, we’ve put together our complete guide to part-time jobs for university students!

Is a part-time job right for you?

University student writing with pen

The first thing you’re going to have to decide is whether a part-time job is really the right decision for you. It’s important to consider a few things before you start making applications:

Balancing work and studies

If you know you’ve got a relatively intense course with a large workload, you’re going to have to consider the hours you’re available to work, or whether a part-time job is right for you at all. At the end of the day, your studies should be your priority, and you’ve got to find time to eat, sleep and live between all the studying and work! If you do have interviews or find a job, be honest and realistic with your employer about the days and hours you’ll have to spare.

Avoiding student debt

This might be a bit of an exaggeration; you’ll never entirely avoid student debt. However, if you’re earning a part-time wage, you’ll most likely live a little more comfortably than if you tried to survive on just your student maintenance loan. You might even be able to avoid the dreaded student overdraft!

Work on your CV

The right job isn’t going to just come to you – you’re going to have to put your best foot forward! One of the most important steps in your job hunt will be ensuring your CV is up to snuff. Make sure everything on your CV is up to date with any qualifications or experience and shows off all your best qualities. You want to stand out from the crowd to prove to employers you’re right for the job! Write a good cover letter, too. As long as you keep it professional, a cover letter is a great chance to inject a little personality into your applications, particularly useful if you’re applying for your first job and don’t have much experience on your CV.

Start applying early!

Living in a university town, competition can be tough, as thousands of students apply for the available part-time positions. Applying for jobs in the summer before university, or in the weeks before the new semester begins, could put you ahead of the hordes of students bombarding local businesses with applications.

Summer jobs

If you’re planning on going to uni this year, finding a part-time job in your hometown before you start could be useful. Some companies might be able to transfer you to a different location if you’re moving for university, so finding work with a large retail, fast food or restaurant chain could benefit you in the long run.

Common student jobs

Part-time job university

Before you start applying, think about what type of job would suit you. We wouldn’t advise going for just anything, as some jobs may have long hours which distract from your studies. Almost any work can be suitable for students if it fits your timetable, but here are a few common student jobs to consider.

Bar or pub work

Flexible working hours are the name of the game for bar staff. And it’s like getting paid to go to the pub! In reality, life isn’t always so glamorous on the other side of the bar, but pulling pints can be a great way to make some friends and gain confidence while earning some money. While it’s not for anybody who struggles with late nights; bar or pub work can be one of the more flexible student jobs.


Another backbone of student employment, retail hours are usually a little less flexible than working in bars. The upside is, you’ll more than likely have set finish times and won’t end up working late into the night – perfect for those with early morning lectures.

Student union

Your student union will most likely employ their university students in any shops, bars or cafes on campus. They might be more likely to plan your work schedule around your university timetable, too!

How to apply

These days, job applications can come in many forms! As long as you’ve got a quality CV and cover letter written, you’re ready to go. Here are a few places to look for jobs.

Online job applications

Many companies might only accept online job applications, so uploading your CV to sites like Reed and Indeed is a great first step to finding part-time work. The ease of many online applications means you’ll probably be able to apply for several in a short space of time. Don’t just send your CV and forget about it, though. Follow up your applications with a phone call a few days later if you haven’t heard anything back. The worst it can do is keep you on their radar!

Social media job postings

While applying online, many people forget just how powerful a tool social media can be if you’re looking for a job. Some companies might post openings you otherwise wouldn’t have heard of directly on their social media pages. LinkedIn* is another great platform for job hunting, which you’ll be able to use in your post-university job hunt. Just remember to keep your LinkedIn profile updated and think about making your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram private, as you might not want potential employers seeing what you get up to on a student night out!

Student job fairs

Many student unions host job fairs, where you’ll be able to meet local employers in person and get a feel for the type of work available for students. A quick tip – don’t roll out of bed hungover, expecting a job to come to you. Make sure you’re prepared, fresh faced with CVs in hand ready to meet your potential employer!

Handing out CVs

This may seem like an obvious one, but in an age where everything seems to be digital, it might get overlooked. Spend an afternoon with a bag full of CVs (and cover letters!) and hand them out anywhere that might be accepting them. Bars, pubs, shops, cafes might all need new staff, and meeting your employer could set you apart if they’re receiving countless online applications.

Other part-time options

Working on laptop

Like we said at the beginning of this blog post, a part-time job might not be right for you! There are a few other alternatives you could try which will boost your CV, ready for full time employment after university.

Work experience

If you’re not too worried about your financial situation, work experience that’s relevant to your field could be a great addition to your CV! You’ll possibly sacrifice a salary in the short term, but with potential long-term advantages for finding full time employment once you’ve finished university.

Freelance work

With the right degree, you could even do industry-specific freelance work. Like work experience, freelance work should add a strong element to your CV when you’re looking for full time positions, with the added benefit of paying the bills! With the right equipment and software, you’ll be able to try your hand at anything from copywriting and graphic design to data analysis, all from the comfort of your student home.

Whether you decide to look for part-time work, work experience or try your hand at freelancing, we hope this guide will help you enter the world of employment! If you’re a student (or the parent of one!), you might want to think about insurance for your contents. At The Insurance Emporium, our Pick ‘n’ Mix Student Insurance starts with cover for Contents up to £5,000. Then, choose from any of our Optional Benefits to create a policy as unique as you! You could even get up to 30% discount^ on your policy! Head on down to The Insurance Emporium to find out more!

* This blog is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or affiliated with Reed, Indeed, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

^ The 30% discount is made up of 20% Introductory Discount plus 10% Student Discount (if appropriate). The Introductory Discount is available for the first 12 premium payments on lunar and calendar monthly policies or one premium payment on annual policies.

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