Working while you study
Just because you’re studying, doesn’t mean you can’t also be earning money. If you’re looking for some extra cash or just want to get a taste of working life before you put down the books, there are plenty of options available.
Your study calendar will have a big impact on how much you can work – after all, you don’t want to jeopardise your marks or grades. But picking up even a few hours of work a week can make a big difference to your bank account.
Here are a few steps you can take to make sure you’re prepared to jump into the workforce while still studying.
It’s unlikely that you’ll have enough time to take on a full-time job, so that leaves you with two choices: casual or part time.
Casual work is most popular among students. It means that your hours can change from week to week and you don’t qualify for entitlements such as sick leave or annual leave. Your hourly rate will (or should) be greater than if you were working part time to compensate for this.
Part-time work conditions are similar to full time; you just spend less time in the office. But you also get regular hours, sick leave and annual leave as you would with full-time work, which can be a big bonus if you’re planning on taking a trip at the end of semester.
First impressions count, and your CV and cover letter will be the first things employers see of you and judge accordingly. So make sure you’re giving yourself the best start possible.
If you can, chat to someone in recruitment or someone working in your preferred industry. They should be able to give you some pointers on what’s important to employers.
When it comes time to start writing there are plenty of pre-made CV templates available. Check out Microsoft Word templates as a first stop, or google “CV templates” to find a host of websites devoted to these.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is producing and circulating a generic cover letter. While it is time-consuming to write a letter specific to each job you apply for, there’s not much more off-putting for a potential employer than seeing a cover letter that’s been completely copy and pasted.
Tailor your cover letter to explain why you’re applying for that job specifically and also why you’d be a good fit for that specific company.
Employers and recruiters are increasingly looking to social media when researching candidates. As soon as they receive your application to work at their organisation, chances are they’ll google you to see if you have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and/or LinkedIn account, and if so what you’ve put on it.
Make sure your social media privacy settings are such that only friends and contacts you know well can access your information.
More and more recruiters are also using LinkedIn to find candidates for roles on their books, so it can’t hurt to create a LinkedIn profile if you haven’t already.
Any work experience will look good on your CV, but experience in a role related to your desired field could put you a step ahead later down the track.
If you’re not too sure where to start looking, most universities and TAFEs have an employment office that advertise jobs across a range of different industries from retail to hospitality to administration.
Online job sites have a heap of different jobs listed at any given time. You can filter them by location, industry and work type.
If you’ve got your heart set on working for one particular company, get familiar with them. By following them on social media, you can be one of the first people to see when they post a job ad.
Feeling gutsy? Walk in to their office and deliver your CV in person. This might be a little daunting, but done correctly it can leave a good impression. Just be careful not to hassle people – if they seem busy or uninterested they probably are.
It goes without saying that you need to prepare yourself for the interview by learning about the company. Check out their website and also any media articles about them.
You also want to make sure you’re able to get paid should you score the job. A transaction account can help make this happen. Think about a savings account as well – somewhere to put aside and build up any money you don’t spend. As a student you should be eligible for a range of special banking discounts.
Last but not least, if you currently receive government benefits check whether earning money will have an impact on these. Check out the criteria for all the federal government’s payments and allowances available to students.