Every student knows that after the stress of exams comes an amazing period of life, full of long, hazy summer days (we can all live in hope!) with no stress or cares in the world… you can do anything you like for three whole months – you can go on that once-in-a-lifetime backpacking holiday across South America, you can go out every single night with your friends because Nothing. Is. Holding. You. Back. Oh wait, except for money.
That’s right, the summer holidays indicates the end of another year at University, which also means that sadly, no more student loan for you. And no more student loan means that suddenly, unless you already have a job and/or endless amounts of money, you’ll have to budget.
What most students know (and the students that don’t will after reading this article!) is that the summer holidays is the perfect time to get a job. You’ve moved back to your parental home meaning that no more rent has to be paid, so any money that you earn is all yours. Also, all the students who go to University in your home town will have gone home too, leaving behind a whole heap of vacant jobs just waiting to be filled. There are so many different types of jobs too – part time, full time, temporary, permanent, internships, work experience… the list goes on. The key thing any student needs to do is to figure out which type of job is best for them, and there’s no better time than to find out now!
The Shop Job/Bar Work/Waitering
This is the type of work that probably springs to mind when thinking of a job to boost your bank balance. This type of work may be scoffed at, but trust me, they teach you valuable things such as time keeping, organisational skills and customer service. These jobs are also likely to have the most vacant positions, so once you’ve had some experience in either one of these fields; you’ll find it easier to get another one again. It’s most likely you’ll get a part-time job, but there are always opportunities to increase your hours. In addition, if you are working for a shop, bar or restaurant that is a chain, there’s a great chance that you’ll be able to transfer to one in your University town so you can carry on working. Result!
The Office Job
So maybe working 9am-5pm in an office sounds a bit, well, dull and dreary to you; but this is a great way to get an instant increase in cash. These jobs are good for improving your IT skills and customer service, and they often pay better than shop jobs and bar work, because essentially; you’ll be working alongside full-time employees doing exactly what they do. The main types of things you’ll probably be doing is data input, answering calls and emails, and possibly working on reception. Again, these are all very useful things to do because once you’ve gained experience in this kind of job; it’ll be a lot easier to land a similar job in the future.
Work experience is, essentially, a few weeks of work in a company that relates to what you want to do in the future. It’s likely you’ll be shadowing a manager and getting an overview of the types of jobs they do, while seeing if it really is something you want to do yourself. Work experience is nearly always unpaid, but summer really is the best time to do it as you’ll be living at home with no expenses. It’s also a great thing to put on your CV, as not only will it show you have experience in the field you’re interested in; but you’re so passionate about what you want to do, that you worked for free. If you want to do work experience, it’s best to start finding contacts in the companies that you’d like to work for, and drop them an email or give them a call, making sure that they know just how much you’d love to get some experience with them!
The line can often be blurred between work experience and internships, and while they may be similar, there are some differences. Internships are often longer than work experience (minimum one month); and you’ll find that you’ll have actual responsibility yourself. Internships can be paid or unpaid, and some offer expenses and lunch. Unpaid internships can pose problems, especially if they’re based in London and you don’t have anywhere to live, so you really have to think carefully. However, internships provide great experience and are something else to put on your CV; and you’ll find that there are lots of internships available over the summer – get in there quick and send them your CV ASAP!
Pretty much any job is a good job, and you’ll find that potential employers will often prefer if you’ve worked over the summer instead of lounging around the house all day as it shows you have drive and ambition. So whether you’ve spent your summer working at Burger King, or interning at Elle magazine, don’t downplay what you’ve done – every skill and experience you’ve picked up along the way can be worked to your advantage!