Side Hustle 101: Finding the Perfect Part-Time Job

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When you’re a student, money can be tight and your schedule can be even tighter. So, while you want to bring in some extra cash you don’t want to jeopardize your GPA or the search for your dream job. What’s a millennial to do? Fire up all cylinders and get yourself a “side hustle.” While a “side hustle” can mean a lot of things, for most students it means a part-time job that gives them the freedom to pursue their studies and helps to fund their way. Here’s some advice on how you can find the perfect working-while-studying job for you!

1. Choose the right side-hustle

It’s important to choose a job or side gig that will be flexible enough for your schedule. Remember that, as a student, your first priority is your education. Retail and hospitality jobs can be a great way to make money, meet people, and get work experience but sometimes they can also detract from your academic and career goals. If you’re being asked to dedicate your life to the deli during your third-year exam period, for example, then that job is probably not the one for you. There are options like catering companies that allow for a flexible schedule, and may even allow you to take off weeks and months at a time. Be upfront about your schedule and realistically determine how much time you can dedicate to your employer.

To tailor your search, use a career site like TalentEgg (#ShamelessPlug), that’s geared towards students where job posters are expecting and sometimes even expressly looking for student applicants. Also, use key search words like “student,” “part-time,” and “flexible hours” to find jobs that will suit your schedule.

If you have clear future career goals, i.e. you hope to work in law or medicine, then look into jobs that will bring you closer to those goals. There are a variety of administrative and entry-level jobs in different fields that are good for students. At the very least, getting a glimpse into your potential future may help you to hone your options. Your side hustle might even define your future goals as you learn more about the workplace cultures of different industries.

2. Consider at-home and on-campus options

There are plenty of jobs on campus that are not just tailored to students but created for students. Check your college or university’s job boards and work-study programs to see if you are eligible. If you can’t get an on-campus job, consider at-home options. There are tutoring and English language teaching options that will allow you to video chat from home or the library, for example. Jobs that are on-campus and/or are geared for students will be flexible for your schedule and will not expect to be your first priority. Plus, it’s a great way to get more involved with campus life and to meet students from outside of your classes and faculty.

3. Take the job seriously

Even if this job is just your side gig while you work towards bigger things, it’s important to take the application and interview process seriously. Take the time to write cover letters and to create targeted resumes. A few good applications can deliver better results than dozens of hastily thrown together ones. You never know what opportunities you can gain by taking the process seriously, and it’s also good practice for your future post-graduation. Once you land the job, make sure you treat it seriously too. Even though it’s temporary, you’re expected to be professional and reliable. Plus, you never know what your side job might turn into, so build a good foundation!

4. Use your academic and extracurriculars as work experience

Most undergraduate students have little to no work experience, but that doesn’t mean you need to have a bare resume. If you have extracurricular and/or volunteer experience, highlight the skills you’ve gained from them in your resume and cover letters. If you can demonstrate that you’re responsible and capable of managing multiple schedules then your lack of formal work experience shouldn’t work against you.

Juggling school, work, and social schedules is hard, but a part-time job or side gig will not only help fund your academic goals but it may also bolster your future resume. So get to work, have fun and remember to fit in some time to just relax and enjoy being a student.

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