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How a part-time job now can pay off later

Even if the Bank of Mum and Dad is happy to pay your phone bill and fund festival trips, getting a part-time job might have other benefits, too.

A part-time or weekend job is more than just some extra cash to play with. Here's why…

Applying to university

A part-time job can be a real asset in your Ucas application when demonstrating the qualities which admissions tutors look for in prospective students: independence, responsibility, initiative and working with others, to name just a few.

You can also use a part-time job to show you have subject-specific skills and experience (although you need to frame these correctly to make them count). For example, a maths applicant could show their proficiency for numbers from their stocktaking duties as part of a retail role.

If you haven't had a part-time job, admissions tutors aren't going to pull you up on this. But they will be trying to get an idea of who you are as an individual. How you spend your spare time and why this has made you a better candidate can contribute to this. 

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Interview confidence

Working in a real company, however big or small, can be a massive boost to your confidence. Taking on key responsibilities, learning skills and interacting with new people can work wonders. This confidence can really shine through in an interview scenario.

Admissions tutors and employers alike want to meet articulate, outgoing and well-mannered young adults; a part-time job can help shape these inter-personal traits. While you can be book smart and achieve high grades, a part-time job gives you a fuller perspective beyond your school environment.


Getting a job at university

Many university students work part-time while studying to supplement any student finance they receive and help with living costs. This puts less pressure on making your student loan stretch each term.

When you get to uni, don't wait around to pound the pavement with your CV. It can get pretty competitive, especially for more appealing jobs (in stylish shops and trendy cafes), and in smaller towns where there are fewer opportunities.

Previous work experience on your CV can really help your job-seeking efforts, especially if there's the option to relocate from a job at home to a branch in your uni town. An employer will prefer a candidate who is already familiar with the company's processes and needs little training. Your previous manager can even put in a good word for you.

Plus, the door may be left open at your previous college job when you're back for a few weeks during the holidays. A few weeks' worth of income can set you up nicely for the upcoming term before your loan goes in.

Graduate career prospects

This one requires looking further down the line, but starting to build your CV as soon as you can sets a good precedent for the future.

Every graduate position will set out education and skill requirements you'll need to satisfy. But it will work in your favour if you already have a couple of years of consistent employment (across a number of services and sectors) under your belt. It sends a positive message about your long-standing work ethic, and that you've made your own way from a young age.

Plus, if you've been writing cover letters and attending interviews since the age of sixteen, this won't feel so new and intimidating when doing the same for graduate roles. Hopefully this experience will show in your performance, too.

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