The real value of part-time work

By StudyLink

PerthMost countries allow you to work part-time while you study. Not only is it a great way to earn some extra money, it can also give you valuable work experience – and make job-hunting easier once you graduate.

So make the most of any opportunity to work during your degree with our guide to working while you study.

Why work while you study?

There are so many things to fit into 24 hours – lectures, tutorials, assignments, exam revision, some kind of social life – and maybe even sleep. So why add more stress to your life with a job?

Well, first of all you can earn some extra money. And although you should never count on it to pay your fees, it will make life easier – you can travel more, try new activities, or even save up a bit to send home.

Work experience can also help you decide exactly what you want to do once you graduate. You may realise during your legal internship that this is definitely not the career you had in mind – and be able to swap courses before it’s too late.

And most importantly you’ll get some great skills for your CV – such as communication, problem solving, leadership or commercial awareness. This will give you an advantage when you are competing for a job when you graduate. If you’re working in a busy bar, you’re also showing teamwork skills and the ability to handle pressure. Voluntary work can develop your creative thinking while you develop fundraising ideas.

A second-year student from Sri Lanka chose to work part-time while she studied in the UK. “It gave me an opportunity to develop as an individual. Working while you study requires genuine commitment. You learn to prioritise, be flexible, balance your workload. It is also a great way of earning some extra cash. I would definitely recommend work experience to international students.

Can you really fit it all in?

Remember that your main reason for being there is to study. You need to get good grades to graduate. So don’t let your part-time work take over your life. Most student visas restrict you to 20 hours work per week during term-time. If you’re studying a full-time MBA you probably won’t have time to even fit that in – so be realistic. A summer internship may be a better option if you have a full study load.

A Business, Economics and Social Studies student at Trinity College in Dublin recently completed a summer internship at Google. Google has its European headquarters in Dublin, and offers paid internships to local students. As well as experiencing their ‘lunch and learn’ sessions, he worked with engineers in Zurich to create a new iGadget for iGoogle, and became a ‘Google qualified AdWords Professional’. He says; “working with students from all over Europe made me appreciate the challenges facing international business. I came to the realisation that working at Google is a lifestyle choice as much as it’s a job!”

Finding the perfect job

Check your student visa for any restrictions: in the US you can only work on-campus, for example. Make sure you have the required tax numbers (such as a National Insurance Number in the UK, or a Tax File Number in Australia).

Check out the careers centre: your university offers plenty of support for job-seeking students

Go local: check local newspapers or look in shop windows. Some local recruitment agencies can also help international students; so make sure your CV is up to date.

Ask your professors: they can help you find internships, or give you contacts within your preferred industry. They may also know of paying support positions on campus.

Make an effort: you may think that you are overqualified for a job in a local café. But it could be a good chance to improve your language skills, gain confidence and just meet new people. No matter what you do, always work to your best standard – because you never know if a potential employer could be watching! And you might also need a good reference for your CV when you graduate.

If you have any questions about working while you study, chat with one of our student advisors.

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