Working a part-time job while in college can be stressful, especially if you’re also balancing internships and extracurriculars. Fortunately, there are ways to combine your responsibilities so you can make the most of your time and energy. Finding a part-time job that’ll benefit your bank account and your college major is one way to go about increasing the value of your time and making yourself more of an asset in your chosen field. Here’s how you can find a part-time job that enhances your educational experience in college.
Finding the right part-time job
Searching for and securing a job is difficult in any case, but the search for entry-level, part-time, major-specific jobs can be much more time and energy consuming. There’s likely a career center at your college where you can find jobs and internships that align with your major, offering resources for both on- and off-campus positions. The most important thing is communication. If you want a job, ask about its availability and be sure to communicate why you’d be an asset to the team. When it comes to searching for jobs off campus, it’s all about seeking the right companies. For Anthropology students, try reaching out to a museum. For Automotive Technology students, look into local auto shops. Jobs through your school will likely be better for students, especially ones in your program’s department, because they’re created to align with your major. But getting out into the professional world is important and will prove to be highly useful. Plus, off-campus jobs are more often paid than those through a school.
Finding major value in any workplace
While you shouldn’t make too big of a stretch, you could probably find a way to relate any job to your major. It’s best to find something within your general field, but in nearly every workplace, you’ll be able to find something that aligns with what you want to pursue. For example, if you already work as a server at a local restaurant and you’re an Art student, you could ask your manager if they need assistance with advertising designs. A Business student could help out with inventory and scheduling, and a Management student could work toward a higher position.
Tradeoffs to consider
While it can sometimes feel like all opportunities to get involved in your chosen field are taken and you have to jump on the first thing you find, it’s important to consider the actual pros and cons of each job. And the biggest con to be aware of? If it’s going to eat away at the time you need to study, sleep, and take care of yourself, it’s not worth it. Finding a balance and overburdening yourself are two very different things. Here are a few other considerations to be aware of before you take on a part-time job.
It can be tempting to jump at opportunities that seem big and fancy or are offered by well-known organizations or groups that seem exclusive. However, offering more time and energy than you’re feasibly able to give won’t do anyone any good—least of all you. Find a part-time position that works for you, is accessible, and is not terribly overwhelming, and it will be far better in the long run.
I’ve found that when you take on a job in your chosen field, management will often take advantage of your eagerness to get involved and desire to be a part of something bigger. Make it clear the times you’re available and not available to work, and don’t budge. This is extremely important. The value of the job is for you to decide, but most jobs aren’t worth neglecting other aspects of your life.
Legitimate career benefits
Sometimes an opportunity that seems too good to be true turns out to be just that. Don’t overburden yourself just to take on a role that isn’t what it seems. Look into the legitimacy of any organization or project you’re considering participating in before you take it on. Some jobs might end up doing you more harm than good, and some jobs will certainly provide more long-term career benefits for the future. It’s important to thoroughly do your research to know what’s truly going to be good for you.
When it comes to part-time jobs in college, there’s almost always a way for you to get involved with something that aligns with your future career interests—it’s all just a matter of how you present yourself and allow yourself to be treated in the workplace. Find something that works with you (and for you) and go from there.
For more advice on part-time jobs, internships, and your future field, check out the articles in our Internships and Careers section.