You’ve been focusing on your academics, but maybe you want to save up for that spring break trip or you’re looking for a little extra cash to spend on the weekends. Maybe you have some new apartment bills and need a steady income to support yourself. Or perhaps you just can’t resist those monthly makeup subscription boxes any longer.
The fact remains that you’re looking for some cash to pad your pockets. While you’re in school, classes are your number one priority, but if you have enough free hours in the week, you might want to consider getting a part-time job. They may seem difficult to find, but you just have to know where to look! Here are seven great places to start.
1. Job boards and job search engines
Possibly the first place you’ll go on your part-time job search is online. The Internet is full of job boards and job search engines that list hundreds of opportunities.
Job boards host active listings of companies that are currently hiring. Employers typically pay to have their job openings hosted on the site. Campus Job is a job board specifically for part-time jobs and internship positions. It connects businesses that are interested in hiring college students with students looking for work throughout the academic year. From freelance gigs to positions at Fortune 500 companies, there are over 1,000 new job opportunities posted each week. And the best part? It’s completely free!
Job search engines like Indeed and LinkUp aggregate thousands of job listings from many different websites. If a company lists an open position on its own website instead of a job board, these job engines will find and index those openings. They’re perfect if you’re looking for specifics: You can narrow results by location or use keywords to look up availability in a certain field.
Snagajob is another great resource to find part-time jobs. This search engine specializes in listing hourly employment opportunities.
2. Contact companies directly through email or social media
You can contact employers online to let them know that you’re looking for part-time work.
Go to the websites of companies where you’re interested in working and search the sites for a link to their “Careers” page. There you’ll find information on job availability as well as whom you should contact about positions. If the website doesn’t explicitly list any positions, send a short email to inquire about part-time openings, such as, “I am interested in working for your company part-time. May I send my resume for your review?” Quickly list your skills and show how hiring you will benefit their business.
You can also leverage social media to find part-time positions. We know that companies are checking out our social media profiles before making hiring decisions, but you can use these same services to your advantage. According to a 2013 study, nearly 77 percent of employers recruit through social networks; among those, 94 percent use LinkedIn. Look through your connections to find someone who can introduce you to a company you’re interested in working for, or post in discussion groups to let people know you’re available for part-time work.
Facebook and Twitter are also great resources for finding part-time work. While you may not get hired directly through the site, it’s a great way to find what opportunities are available. Companies may advertise open positions on their Facebook pages or on Twitter using hashtags like #jobopening, #nowhiring or #freelance (especially for part-time work).
As always, make sure your social media profiles are compelling and professional to increase your chances of making contact.
3. Show up in person and ask if they’re hiring
While knocking on doors to find your next big break can seem outdated, it’s still a go-to option for getting that elusive part-time job. Bookstores, coffee shops, restaurants, clothing boutiques—there are endless off-campus places you could try for your next part-time gig.
Some stores even hire more employers during the holiday season, so your chances of finding a job could increase come December. So put on your business casual, print that resume on some glossy paper and head to town to do some job hunting!
The obvious drawback is that the businesses you contact are not always hiring. Still, if you’re lucky, you just may stumble upon someone who is! Keep your inquiry short and sweet. Ask for the manager or the person in charge and let him or her know that you’re looking for a part-time position and you want to know if the company is hiring. If the employer is indeed looking for workers, provide your resume, and you’ll receive an application in return. If not, provide your resume and thank him or her for his or her time. Most businesses will usually keep your resume in their systems and may call you back for a future opportunity. It’s always good to keep your options open!
4. Look for positions at on-campus businesses or in university departments
There are a host of resources that your college offers to help you find part-time employment. Your university has a dedicated career center to point you in the direction of on-campus opportunities. Your school may even have an online database of part-time listings for jobs on or close to your campus.
Look for positions at university stores and campus dining venues. These places hire students year-round to keep business running. Searching on campus allows you to cast a wide net: Go to the library, the recreation center or the student union to inquire about opportunities for students.
Academic departments frequently have availability for student assistant positions. Meaghan Shaw, a senior at Duke University, found one of her jobs when the psychology department emailed psych students to advertise a teaching assistant position.
“I love this experience,” Meaghan says. “Teaching was something I had considered doing for a while. I really wanted a new job, and this opportunity presented itself at the right moment.”
If your department doesn’t send out emails, you can always approach the business manager of the department to ask about a need for student assistants. Not only will you get a bit more cash in your pocket, but you’ll also get valuable work experience in your field of interest.
As with companies off campus, contact departments and organizations directly to express your interest. Bring your resume and remember to conduct yourself in a professional manner. The good news about on-campus jobs is that they have a high turnover rate: As students continue to graduate, positions will become available again.
5. Get in touch with your professional network
Your networking skills can be a vital asset to finding a full-time job once you graduate, but there’s no reason you can’t exercise them now to find a part-time gig!
Look to your professional contacts for any available opportunities. If you’ve had past internships, send your supervisor an email to let him or her know you’re looking for part-time opportunities. You’ve already established yourself as a reliable worker, so he or she can direct you to any opportunities in their industry, or he or she may be willing to take you on as a contract or temporary worker.
It’s important to keep in touch with former employers so that requests like this won’t seem rude or out of the blue! If you’ve fallen off the networking wagon, send a quick email to former employers to establish contact and ask how everything is going. Briefly mention that you are open to any part-time opportunities he or she may know about. Make a point of reaching out every few months; you don’t want to miss out just because you failed to keep in touch.
6. Ask your friends, family and acquaintances
People in your inner circle are good sources to keep in mind when looking for part-time work. Call your closest family members or post on your favorite social media site to let your friends know you’re on the part-time job hunt. Because your friends and family have your best interests at heart, they’re sure to keep you in mind if anything comes their way.
“I helped out with a Google Chromebook promotional event on my campus,” says Iris Goldsztajn, a junior at the University of California, Los Angeles. “I heard about the job from one of my sorority sisters. Thanks to her, five of us Chromebook promotional ambassadors were from my sorority!”
Other students on campus are also great people to ask about part-time opportunities. Ask upperclassmen how they found their part-time jobs, and ask if they’ll mention to their bosses that you’re looking for work; workers will be needed to fill those spots once graduation rolls around!
7. Go freelance
If a structured workweek isn’t your thing, consider taking matters into your own hands. We all want to make money doing what we love, and going freelance could be a great way to monetize your passions. Whether it’s tutoring physics students or editing term papers and thesis proposals, there are a host of opportunities that you can create for yourself if you give it some thought. Who knows—you could even start your own business!
For those of you with an entrepreneurial spirit, starting freelance work while you’re in college could be a great way to prepare yourself to create your own company. You can start making strides now while you’re still in college and have the safety net of academic life to fall back on while work is scarce in the beginning. Freelance work offers the ultimate flexibility, and with the capacity to choose your own field, clients and hours, it can be a great choice for collegiettes who find even traditional part-time jobs restricting.
To get started, make a list of your skills and abilities and think of ways you can market those skills to those who need them. Do you offer an easier or more fun way to learn foreign languages? Can you provide writing help to students who speak English as a second language? Are you really good at design and can you help create eye-catching resumes for other job seekers?
Once you figure out your niche, put your services out there: Post on your school’s social media groups, tack up flyers around campus and tell your friends to spread the word.
While academics come first and foremost, we do need to pay off our phone bills each month (and splurging on some new boots can’t hurt!). However, it can be hard to know just where to look. Use these resources to give you a good starting point. You never know what opportunities might come your way!