I was lucky enough not to have to work during my undergrad–not that I would have had time to, taking 6 courses a semester and all, but I definitely need an income now that I’m in grad school. I pay my own rent/food/transportation/bills etc., and that all adds up to some serious cash every month. It’s challenging to find a job that will cover all of those expenses with part-time hours.
If you only have 5-20 hours a week to work it’s important to do one of two things: get paid higher than minimum wage, and/or get skills that you can apply to a job after graduation. So while I am only getting a tiny honorarium of $500/month for full-time work at my internship this summer, the skills I’m learning will make that line resume worth it when I try to find a full-time job after graduation. Or so I hope….Note that I also supplement my income by selling beer and sometimes popcorn at baseball games and concerts, and occasionally get good tips. (Don’t be afraid to have more than one part time job, it will sharpen your time management skills.)
Beyond $10.25: Good Jobs for Students
Server/Bartender at busy bars on busy nights
It’s hard to make tips unless it’s busy so if you’re getting paid under minimum wage and working only Monday nights, it might not be worth it. Conversely working one Saturday night at the local pub could net you over a hundred in tips. These positions are coveted and require experience, a Smart Serve certificate and often a connection, so apply early, dress up and ask to speak to the manager.
In my opinion this is the ideal job for a student. The wages are ridiculous high compared with anything else you’re likely to get. I did this last year at my university and I made $37.50 an hour. One problem I did have was that my contract was for 3 hours a week but I regularly worked 10, so my wage per hour technically ended up being significantly less. You also get great skills in this job, it’s fun, it’s on campus and you can mark papers in a coffee shop.
This is also a great job during the school year. You can charge between $15-$60/h depending on your location and subject. I charged $40 and hour when I did this last year and found clients through my cousin who is a teacher. I want to keep doing this this year and expand my client base by putting up flyers. One downside is that travel time can be annoying if you don’t have a car, but maybe that’s just me.
If you have one or more days off from school, and good office skills, considering applying to a temp agency. I did this several years ago and they made my take some sort of computer test (which I didn’t even do very well on) and I ended up temping for a stock brokers office where I made $15/hour, had hot guys hitting on me all day and occasional got up to mail a fed-ex package.
What to look for in a P/T job
When considering a job, remember that your school has to come first.
- Flexibility…will they let you take time off for exams?
- Hours…does the business mostly operate in the day or night? Does this accord with your class schedule
- Location…Transportation can be a big waste of time, especially if you don’t have a car. If you do have a car, is the amount of gas you’re going to be using schlepping to your job worth it?
- Temptation…If you work at your favourite clothing store, will you just blow all your money on your sweet discount? It won’t be worth it if you do. Work at a place who’s products you hate and you’re sure to save your cash.