Skint? Here’s how to get a job at uni

Freya Hugheson 12 September 2019
Skint? Here’s how to get a job at uni

Revelling in freedom and more cash than you’ve ever had in your life. Spending a few quid here and a few quid there. It’s not that much, is it?

Sadly, it mounts up. And eventually, you could be forced to get … a job.

While working alongside university can seem like extra stress, it’s actually a great way to get more from your time. It can provide a welcome break from being shackled to your desk revising or bashing out essays. And you could get a new group of friends you’d never have met otherwise.

So. How can you get a good job at uni? Canvas the town for places you’d like to work. Apply to work at the SU. Check in with the careers department and see if they can help find you part time work. Above all else, follow these steps to prepare yourself. We’ve included some extra insights too.

Brush up your CV

If you had a job before university, chances are you’ve already got something resembling a CV. So it’s just an update job. If you’re working from scratch, remember to only include things that are relevant and actually make you look right for the role.

Tweaking your CV for each job is very, very worth it. So make the effort. And remember, employers don’t care about the silly things like your spelling award from year seven.

Write bespoke cover letters

Don’t know where to start?

One route is to use the job description as your basis. Answer each point with how you can do it or have done it before. It shows you’ve paid attention and you’re conscientious. 

And don’t forget to namecheck the company in your cover letter to show you actually give a damn about what you’re applying for.

Apply in person

If you’re after a job in a bar or shop, ask to speak to the manager about any open positions. And make sure you hand them your CV – most student jobs involve customer service, so it won’t hurt to show your positivity and friendly personality from the off. Out of a stack of faceless applications, the hiring manager is going to remember the person who made the effort to speak to them.

Research is your friend

Spend at least half an hour absorbing information on their website and memorise two or three facts about the company. 

You'd be amazed how few people make the effort, and it'll instantly put you miles ahead of most applicants. 

Learn what you can before the interview but don’t spend hours on it (unless the job’s going to be life changing).

Smarten up

It might feel like overkill to wear a formal suit or dress to a pub interview. 

And you’d be right. 

But do opt for something on the smarter side. A nice shirt and trousers will do the trick. Just avoid the jeans and trainers look. Even if it’s a casual workplace, the fact you’ve bothered to make an effort will take you places.

Follow up

Send an email to the people you spoke with to thank them for their time. Keep it brief and professional, or you risk sounding a tad desperate. 

Each point of contact secures your presence in the minds of the interviewers and helps keep the dialogue open. It also gives you some peace of mind and is great practice for later in life. 

So those are the obvious things you need to think about. And there are some killer benefits that await you. Like...

Social work

Not literally. But if you can secure a job working in the SU bar or shop, you’ll make friends with everyone, from first to final year.

This can be really useful for picking up tips and tricks to make uni life more fun – and even life hacks to get the most out of living on campus. 

And if you make a new group of friends away from your course and flat, it can make for a nice change in pace and conversation.

Structure is good

It’s really nice to have a break from your laptop. Even if it is to serve people coffee or lunch, or to work in a shop.

Be mindful not to take too much of your week up by working, though. Even if your course has low contact time, you’re expected to fill the remainder of your Monday to Friday studying. 

So look for weekend roles and enjoy the break. And the cash!

Get experience

It’s ideal if you can nab a job in the field you’re interested in. It could form a strong basis for your future career, and the people you meet could be useful contacts for life. 

But even if your new job hasn’t got much to do with your field of interest, there will still be transferable skills to learn.

Roll in it

Lastly, enjoy your hard-earned cash! We could suggest saving it or whatever. But really, this is your money and you should spend it however you like. 

Towards the end of your final year, maybe it is a good plan to save a bit if you’re planning to stay on in your uni town. But other than that? Make it rain, friend.

Freya Hugheson 12 September 2019