Part-Time Jobs and Money-Making Ideas for Students

Looking for a part-time job to earn money in high school? Check out all these options and get your job search or side hustle started with this advice.

What word or phrase comes to mind when you think of a part-time job? For some people, it could be “time commitment” or “stress.” In the case of high school students, jobs can’t revolve solely around pay when there are school assignments, extracurriculars, and household duties that also occupy your time. Sometimes students need money to save up for a new bicycle, laptop, or another luxury that a parent doesn’t want to pay for. However, many high schoolers must work to earn money to pay for college and provide for their family. If you’re in either one of these situations, you’ll have to get creative in your job search and explore the abundant opportunities that can pay sufficiently while fitting into your busy schedule. Here’s how to get started!

Part-time jobs and other ways to make money

Every company will consider your needs as a student, knowing that you may not work as many hours as other employees who are out of school. There are no limitations to how to earn cash, but you can tailor your preferences and circumstances to the areas listed below. These are some of the most common, viable work options for high school students:

Online work

Since online jobs don’t require you to commute, there’s a wide range of options in this area. The COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged businesses to move some (if not all) of their work online, so working remotely may pay the same as in a workplace. Most online money-making activities can be divided into three categories: shift employment, self-employment with deadlines, and self-employment with ownership. Shift jobs require you to start work at a specified time and end at a specified time. This is direct employment for a company, such as an SAT tutor working for a test prep business. However, jobs with deadlines can be done at any time. An example of this is freelance work, which allows you to make contracts with various companies and agree on the payment. Lastly, being self-employed with ownership is the same as business. This self-paced method doesn’t involve deadlines or a fixed pay and can range from social media influencing to selling used clothes.

Related: 7 Ways Students Can Make Money During the Pandemic

Retail/restaurant industry

Many jobs in the retail and restaurant industry don’t require many prerequisite skills. These roles may be in fast food joints, grocery stores, small shops, and other establishments that sell products and services. Students under 18 years of age may be limited to where they can work, but this depends on the child labor laws of your state. Retail and restaurants are great options for students who’d like to be hired quickly. Even though the labor can be intensive for a first timer, working with the public like this can teach you endurance, communication skills, and teamwork. Think of it as a warmup before you enter a full-time job that necessitates a degree and experience after high school.

Paid internships

Unlike minimum-wage work, internships can provide knowledge and experience in a skilled career field that a high school student may pursue in the future. Internships may require more hours than regular part-time jobs, so an internship is best for the summer. These positions look great on college résumés because of the higher level of professionalism it entails and the hard and soft skills that are gained.

Personal business

This way of money-making is quite ambitious but can be done at any time. Your business doesn’t have to be formal or even require collaboration with others. If you start brainstorming business ideas, look for relevant markets and longevity. For instance, if you started selling masks online during the COVID-19 pandemic, this service might soon be less unprofitable when mask mandates are lifted and COVID-19 is less of an issue. First and foremost, the greatest business ideas are found by inspiration. For example, teen entrepreneur Beau Jessup created a website that allows Chinese users to choose English names based on their children after seeing a need during a trip to China. Through her website, she has named over 500,000 babies, making more than enough money to pay for college. Ambition may be worth it if it pays more than a part-time job.

Related: Student Entrepreneurs in the Time of COVID–19

Easy ways to find a part-time job

“Find” is the key verb—don’t expect jobs to fall into your lap or every business to be hiring. A typical job hunt can last days or weeks if you aren’t too picky. Here’s what you can do to speed up the process:

Be on the lookout for “Now Hiring” signs

Students who can’t drive themselves to work may have to find a job close to home. It takes time to ask every local business whether they’re hiring, so look through the car window to see any signs in store windows. An employer taking the endeavor to hang up a sign or banner proves that the need for more employees may be great. You’ll find many of these signs in restaurant windows right now, as there are a record number of job openings in the food service industry.

Search online for job openings and communicate

Indeed and Glassdoor are two convenient websites for viewing places that are hiring near you. Even if there’s not a job currently available to your liking, you can receive email recommendations of new openings that come. This method is the fastest and most effective way to find information such as wages, working conditions, and hours. For any other questions, you can call a company directly and ask to speak with the manager. If you’re trying to get hired quickly, notify the company that you submitted an application.

Attend business expos

Business expos don’t have to be carried out in a formal session. In fact, back-to-school fairs are generally expos in nature. Expos are the perfect place to network with businesses in your community. Representatives from each company will be there to promote their business, and you can ask if they’re hiring. When the answer is “yes,” keeping the conversation going may lead you to a new job. Be sure to ask questions that you may feel are necessary for determining whether you’ll be a good fit for the position.

Play to your strengths

What skill or talent could be used to your advantage? Your expertise doesn’t have to be as complicated as rocket science. For instance, at my high school, one side hustler I know utilizes their artistic abilities by creating and selling art pieces to clients outside of school. They certainly don’t have much competition for clients with their exceptional talent. Many companies that hire employees with knowledge and skill still hire high schoolers for part-time jobs, not internships. Get involved with a local or online community that can help hone your abilities for future opportunities that may come.

Related: How to Make Extra Money With Your Writing Skills 

Every busy student may find it difficult to acquire a particular job that works with their high school schedule and meets their preferences. America is a land full of opportunities for both the old and young, so the perfect job for you does exist, but it can only be found through proper searching. Once your employment is official, you’ll see your hard work pay off and be deposited into your bank account. Good luck!

Once you start earning a paycheck, get ahead of the money-saving game with tips with our Budgeting Basics and Spreadsheet for College Students.

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About Nicole Iwuala

Nicole Iwuala

Nicole Iwuala is a six-foot-tall high school student at Village Tech Schools in Duncanville, Texas. She’s an AP and dual-credit student who values hard work and independence. Not only is she a writer for CollegeXpress, but she also writes for her school’s yearbook and news website in addition to working as a math instructor. During her leisure time, Nicole loves to read literature, cook for her family, and study the Bible. Through her future-focused articles, she hopes to give students the knowledge and confidence to enter college like a champion.


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