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Getting a job at university

We’re coming towards the end of another term and our student bank accounts may as well show a sad face rather than a balance. Rather than making severely different lifestyle choices, a few hours of work a week can make a huge difference to those dwindling bank accounts. If you’re feeling the strain here are a few tips and places to look…

The best place to get a job while studying at university is within the university itself. From the Sportspark Café and shops in RUSU, to the campus shop and the library, the university relies on a mixture of full-time and part-time staff.

Of course, these kinds of jobs have their perks as well as disadvantages. They will usually be term time oriented, meaning there’s no issue of having to take time off from your job during holidays. Of course, the campus is also usually fairly close to home (unless you’re a rare type of student who can tolerate more than a 20 minute walk to and from campus every day). Possibly the biggest benefit: the low-hours contract. This means that you can work as little or as much as you like. So that means extra flexibility during that one dreaded week of term when every assignment seems to be due in.

However, there are also drawbacks to getting a job on campus. The University of Reading will only usually pay minimum wage. Also, these kinds of jobs aren’t for those who don’t enjoy bumping into old acquaintances, love interests or lecturers.

There are plenty of retail shops in Reading looking for part-time work [Photo: Anguskirk]

There are plenty of retail shops in Reading looking for part-time work [Photo: Anguskirk]

If you are interested in something even more casual, another way to work on campus is as part of the more seasonal activities. These include becoming a student ambassador, either centrally or within your own academic department. Or you could apply for a job in the telephone campaigns ringing alumni in order to raise money for the university.

If a job on campus does not sound good for you then there are plenty of other options. The easiest way to find a variety of other job vacancies is at indeed.co.uk. This website allows you to search for jobs in your area which can be filtered down to suit your needs. Many high-street employers are available here and it is a great way to easily see what is available to you, as well as highlighting new options, which you might not have thought of initially.

If both university and indeed.co.uk come up dry there are still plenty of other jobs out there. Almost any shop or service based employer (like a cinema or restaurant) will have a careers and jobs section on their website. You could always do it the traditional way by handing in your CV to various places in the city center, but there is no guarantee that they will have vacancies.

While work experience of any kind is preferential, it is astonishing how many things you might have done in your life that will count as valuable life experience, and will ultimately help you in getting that job. If you have been on a society committee and organized drunken night outs, on a job application this can be presented as loyalty to an organization.

So you’ve been successful in your job application and you have an interview. Most part-time jobs will have some sort of face-to-face interaction with customers. In these situations you need to present yourself confidently and friendly, and make sure to maintain a healthy and appropriate relationship with staff and customers. Maintaining a job is that easy: be confident, hard-working, and loyal.

About Rachel Holloway


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