The practicalities of finding part time work
In a previous blog we looked at why having part time work was a good idea and how it could really help you develop skills for your future. Part time work can also be helpful for university applications and giving you some useful experience for your university course applications.
This blog is more aimed the practical side of getting part time work lined up. There are a few issues to think through.
Firstly, have a look at your availability. How many hours a week have you got spare? How much time is your school work likely to take? How about any sporting or other commitments? This could include things like being a guide or scout young leader, playing in orchestras or Duke of Edinburgh awards? You also need to make sure you have got some ‘down time’ too.
Now you’ve given some thought to how much time you’ve got, the next issue to resolve is to consider whether you want a job that you can commit to do each week? Some retail or hospitality jobs could give you a flexible contract where you can pick up extra hours if you are available.
Another option would be to apply for a job for the holiday periods. This might include opportunities that wouldn’t be possible during term time. For instance working abroad or on particular projects where you are needed for more hours in a shorter period of time. Some seasonal jobs, like harvesting (for those of you who have a tractor driving license!) will be more available in the summer.
Once you’ve decided how much time you have got and how a part time job would fit in, the next step is to identify the opportunities. There are two approaches to take here.
Firstly, to find out what opportunities are being advertised. Most larger companies will advertise their vacancies online. Lots of retailers, the post office and hospitality will be recruiting temps from now due to Christmas being on the horizon. If there is a smaller organisation near you, its still worth checking their website and social media, they may advertise in the local press or use local recruitment agencies. It is worth contacting local recruitment agencies but be aware that often their work may be short notice and not fit in with your commitments. So worth having a conversation, you just need to be clear about what you can/can’t commit to! If you are looking to fill your summer holidays, these short term temping options could open up all sorts of interesting opportunities! Sites like https://www.studentjob.co.uk/part-time-job are worth looking at.
The other main approach to take is to contact companies directly to ask if they have any opportunities. You would be surprised how many places know they need someone but haven’t got round to advertising yet. Often they will offer work through word of mouth or to people who make contact. So its definitely worth asking around to see if anyone knows of vacancies too. Sometimes students worry that approaching directly might seem ‘demanding’ – it isn’t, you are just showing an interest in the organisation and their brand! There will generally be 3 responses, ‘yes, we need someone’, ‘no!’ or ‘no, but leave your details/CV’. You might be surprised how often people get contacted later on!
One other issue to think through is to identify what skills you’ve got. Are you really musical? Are you confident around horses? Can you juggle, or organise primary school children to do fun activities? All of these skills could open up part time jobs, that could be rather different to ‘just’ working in retail! This prospects article may be a useful read here too, https://www.prospects.ac.uk/jobs-and-work-experience/work-experience-and-internships/student-jobs-at-university.
So, just to finish off, some quick fire top tips
Get a CV ready (https://www.reed.co.uk/career-advice/how-to-write-a-cv/)
Ask your friends, their parents/carers about what opportunities they know about
Think through what skills you’ve got that are unusual
Be prepared to say ‘yes’ to unexpected or unusual opportunities
Be prepared to say ‘no’ if something’s not quite ‘right’
Talk to the school careers adviser/your tutor/parents about how they could help you find work
Get the balance right with the hours – part time work is meant to support your studies, not take over!
There are some restrictions on what and when you can work – https://www.acas.org.uk/young-workers-apprentices-and-work-experience, so check them out!
Whatever you do find, regardless of whether it ‘superficially’ links to your university course choices in the future, the experience will develop your skills and confidence, so go for it!
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