You’ve started college or university and you’re thinking of getting a job. You have doubts about whether it’s a good idea, so here are some points to consider.
Additional cash is always beneficial
Employers like candidates that have had some previous real-world work experience
You can gain insight into a career that you’re considering if you can find a role in a relevant sector
You can gain business knowledge in a real work environment
Real work experience of any kind will give you a different understanding of the real world of work which will be beneficial in the future
You’ll learn many new skills that will be beneficial when you graduate and looking for your first “real” job
You will build your confidence
You will learn about job searching and will mean it doesn’t feel so scary when you start thinking about a career job
You get to meet other people from all walks of life and not just others that are studying
You lose time to study and it may impact you results
You will have less time to spend with friends and family
It may not be relevant to what you want to do as a career
The work hours may leave you very tired and unable to study
You may not be earning that much money
Working is an added pressure, so can you cope with both work and study
In general, gaining work experience will be beneficial to your development of soft skills, real world knowledge and experience, and build confidence, along with any financial gain. The main thing is to ensure that you don’t let it impact your studies.
Make sure you can get to all your classes and have enough time to get to work too.
Be realistic about the number of hours you can work, so you have enough time to focus on study, rest and still have some social time
If possible, find a job that will support your future career plans
If the job is not part of your career plan, make sure you are learning soft skills that can be transferred regardless. Really, it’s hard for this NOT to be the case, as even bar work will teach you how to cope in a busy pressured environment, develop customer service skills, and manage complaints, which will be useful in any career
Make sure you are earning enough to cover the cost of getting to work
If you have taken a voluntary role/internship, make sure you have budgeted for additional costs for travel and/or food if required
If you get a job and the conditions, treatment of staff or anything else concerns you, speak to a trusted person with experience, such as a parent or carer, teacher and discuss your concerns. It may be that you are just not used to how things work but some employers make take advantage of your lack of experience. So, make sure to talk it through with someone.
Many young people end up working in bars or restaurants and other roles in the hospitality industry as the hours can be fitted around college times. This can be fun as there are likely to be others of a similar age too, but the hours can be late and long.
However, particularly with the growth of online working, there are many other roles that can also be explored. Freelance research analysts, writers/bloggers, private tuition, and online services such as proof-reading, and translation work are just some of the possibilities to consider.
It may even be possible to set up a small business such as Josh Magidson, Founder of eatStudent.co.uk who developed an online platform to view local takeaway menus and get direct delivery. He eventually sold his company to JustEat for £500,000.
So, simply think through your options and explore the possibilities. Don’t be too worried and just go for it!