College students will often look to supplement their money and gain valuable experience by taking a job alongside their studies. These jobs are often part-time or flexible in nature, and not too demanding or likely to cause a conflict with the serious business of attaining an important qualification. This article takes you through the top 15 jobs for college students, and what they entail.
How to prepare for a job search
Before looking for a job, it helps to consider what you are looking for, and any professional areas which either interest you or are linked to what you are studying. Prepare your CV or résumé, a cover letter, and practice some mock interview questions with a friend (behavioral interview questions work best). Think about where you want to work, how you’re going to commute there, and most importantly of all, understand how many hours per week you can work and when you are available to do so, as the recruiter will want to know this information as soon as they meet you.
What to look for in a college job
Jobs for college students shouldn’t detract too much from the main goal of studying and attaining your qualification. As such, they should be flexible, fit around your studies, and not be overly demanding in terms of stress or heavy responsibilities. At the same time, the job should stretch you and engage you so as not to become boring and enable a little self-development to prepare you for your future career and working life.
- Administrative Assistant (average salary: $18.40 per hour)
Administrative assistants are office support, helping out with filing, data entry, basic accounting duties such as processing invoices, answering the phone, writing and communicating memos, and taking notes in meetings. It’s an incredibly varied role in which you can learn a great deal of skills.
- Babysitter/Childminder/Nanny (average salary: $19 per hour)
Babysitters look after children whose parents might be at work, out for the evening, or on holiday. Typically, babysitters work for a set time such as one evening, whereas nannies might have a longer-term relationship with the family and take on the same tasks day by day, such as driving duties (e.g. to and from school). Either way, this is a great job if you enjoy working with children.
- Barista (average salary: $12.50 per hour plus tips)
Baristas work in restaurants and coffee shops, preparing coffees but also other hot and cold drinks, and they might get involved in food service and cleaning as well. Barista roles are high in demand and can be found in almost every town or city. Very little training is needed but you do need to be great with guests.
- Carer (average salary: $13.50 per hour)
Carers can be home-based or work from a hospital or other similar organization. This is a highly responsible and respectable role. It’s very hard work and there are acute shortages, but you will be working to improve and add value to someone else’s life, someone who might not be able to fully look after themselves. As such, being a carer is extremely rewarding.
- Cashier (average salary: $11.25 per hour)
Cashiers work in shops and take payments for items purchased by customers, usually by bank card, cash, or vouchers. Although all cashing up is completed electronically, cashiers should be a little savvy when it comes to numbers, as well as great customer service skills when dealing with complaints or refunds.
- Chefs (average salary: $16 per hour)
Being a chef doesn’t necessarily require a huge amount of cooking ability, as this is often trained on the job. Chefs operate in many different areas, such as catering, casual dining, fine dining, hotels, hospitals and so on. As such, they are very flexible and fun roles and offer great career progression, as well as a chance to eat for free, which is never a bad thing!
- Cleaner (average salary: $13 per hour)
Cleaners are in very short supply right now, and wages are increasing dramatically. This is a physical job that keeps you on your feet and working to ensure the cleanliness of the workplace. There are many avenues to becoming a cleaner, such as in an office hotel or hospital to name but a few. The role might be tough but it’s very sociable and rewarding.
- Library Assistant (average salary: $14.20 per hour)
Working in a library can be a peaceful, well-paid job that will appeal to bookworms and organized individuals. Library assistants support librarians in the organizing and shelving of books, archiving, the checking in and out of loaned books, and general help and support in the library. Picking up a library assistant job on campus is a great way to earn money in a convenient location to home and study.
- Receptionist (average salary: $13.70 per hour)
Receptionists can be found in all sorts of industries, from office buildings and residential apartments to police stations or schools. Receptionists meet and greet visitors, sign them in, are responsible for certain security arrangements, answer the telephone, take messages, receive and send mail and sometimes have control over the opening and closing of the building.
- Research Assistant (average salary: $17 per hour)
Research assistants can be a great option for college students as the job could be taken in a field directly related to what is being studied. Research assistants support scientists and other academics in pulling reports, analyzing data or getting involved in administrative duties. It’s a varied role and one which can lead to a rewarding career path
- Restaurant work (average salary: $13.50 per hour)
There are several roles in a restaurant, all of which are in very high demand. Hosts greet guests, take them to their table and manage reservations. Waiters look after guests, take orders, and serve food and drink. Bussers will clear plates and liaise with the kitchen. All roles require excellent customer service skills and some interest in food and drink. The salaries of these very sociable roles are rarely high, but the tips can be significant.
- Sales Associate (average salary: $13.40 per hour)
Sales associates often work in retail shops, helping customers pick out the right choices and sharing extensive knowledge about what is on offer. Sales associates often benefit from incentives, as well as some great discounts on brilliant products. Hours are typically business-related, when shops are open.
- Telemarketer (average salary: $13.50 per hour)
Telemarketers, sometimes called cold-callers, call people and – rereading from a script and/or using selling skills – try to convince them to buy a certain product or service. These roles are usually based out of large call centers, but increasingly often, there is an option to do this from home. A fair amount of selling skills, negotiating ability, and relationship-building skills are critical to success as a telemarketer.
- Tutor (average salary: $25 per hour)
Tutors provide ongoing support and guidance for students, usually as part of an academic curriculum, but they can also support with language skills and many other areas as well. Tutoring can happen in many locations, such as a home or a library (and even remotely), and as such, this is a very flexible job, as well as a way to fine-tune your own existing specific skills.
- Warehouse worker (average salary: $15.25 per hour)
These roles are responsible for the picking of goods, sorting them, and packing them ready for delivery (one good example is warehouse employees for online retailers such as Amazon). Another in-demand role available almost everywhere, warehouse operatives need to be methodical and organized and, in some cases, be available to operate heavy machinery such as forklift trucks.
The above list of jobs of college students is certainly not exhaustive; there are plenty of options out there to choose from, and these will vary from city to city. The most important thing to consider is to find a job you will enjoy, and one which will either complement your studies or at least not interfere with them.