Work While You Study
Work While You Study
Most students work part time in order to earn some cash to help fund their way through university, so it can be easy to view part-time work as a menial necessity for financial survival rather than as a learning opportunity. However, providing you realise the value of the skills you are developing, it is possible to turn casual work to your advantage for your future career.
The most important thing to remember is that all work gives you some experience, including bar work, volunteering and Saturday jobs. Like any other work experience, these will give you ‘business awareness’ and an understanding of how organisations work, and being able to articulate what you understand about work environments will contribute to your future success. Think ahead and remember that when you are looking for work you will need to give the names of referees. Employers welcome evidence that someone fits well into the workplace.
Work shadowing is usually informal - where you observe someone in their role to understand how they do their job. It is usually short term (a few days at most) and unpaid, and usually provides an insight into the type of work, rather than actual hands on experience. This can be useful experience to gain in careers where few formal internships exist- eg solicitor, opthalmologist. Work shadowing is usually arranged through speculative applications. The best idea is to start with a small request, such as one day, then see if you can extend this to a few days helping out at the organisation on an unpaid basis.
Suggestions for ways to find opportunities
- Use your networks, friends, family and social networks.
- Talk to employers on campus at our fairs and events.
- Network through Social Media - Facebook is fine, but LinkedIn is much more professional for business networking.
Make the most of long summer holidays by gaining paid work experience. Don’t forget that some of the biggest seasonal employers such as department stores, supermarkets and hotels are also among the biggest graduate recruiters, so a vacation job could lead you to your graduate career. But any vacation work can give you valuable employability skills.