Freshers' blog

Pros and cons of part-time work while studying at university

Aside from the extra cash, there are lots of other great advantages to working part-time; but like most things, there are also some disadvantages. If you’re thinking of getting a part-time job, it’s worth taking a peek at the pros and cons we’ve collated.

We’ve also had a chat with recent graduates and current students to get some first-hand accounts of how they found it.

Pro: past experience looks good on your CV

Juggling a part-time job alongside your studies shows prospective employers that you can manage your time successfully. It displays your ability to be responsible, to adapt to a professional working environment and to learn new skills which could be transferable. Amy, a recent Graphic Communication BA (Hons) graduate from Loughborough University found that;

Amy Bishop Profile Picture“As a recent graduate, I believe working throughout my time as a student has given me the chance to gain skills which employers are looking for. It has helped make that transition into the working world so much easier.”

All in all, the experience you gain from part-time work makes you extremely desirable to prospective employees and might just give you that edge you need when you come to apply for a job after graduation.

Con: it might interfere with your studies

Once you’ve secured a job, you might find that your new employer wants you to work extra hours – which is great, at first. However, when the hours get more intense and you struggle to make it to lectures and to do the necessary reading, you might need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. You’re here for a degree.

Edem Amuzu, who is currently studying Chemical Engineering with Management here at Loughborough University, has found the same thing;

Edem Amuzu Profile Image
“At times, working mid-week and trying to make any lectures before 12pm was very difficult. When I first got the job I did feel pressured to do a lot of hours however as I got further into my course I felt less and less pressured as I realised I came to uni to get a degree.
I enjoy my job a lot mainly because of the people I work with and the experiences I’ve encountered. I feel I have gained valuable skills and I also feel like having a part time job is another method to network at this University outside sports and societies.”

Pro and con: new social skills and opportunities

Working part-time, you’ll get to meet new people and might even make new friends. This gives you an entirely new social sphere in which to delve into, but like Olivia, a recent English graduate, you might find that it has its downsides too;

Liv BW Profile Image“Having a part time job definitely had its challenges. Many of the jobs available to students are in some way involved with the night-life, which often means late nights and unsociable hours. When I worked at a club this frequently meant that I would miss out on ‘nights out’ because I was working them. I would see all my friends when they came to the club and it was hard because they were all having a laugh but I couldn’t get involved.
What softened the blow was that I wasn’t the only one; everyone I worked with was in the same boat. I was part of a team and we were all going through it. I ended up making a whole new cohort of ‘work friends’ just from spending so much time with them. And once you’re on good terms with the people that you work with, it feels much less like work because you’re having fun with them.”

There are lots of other benefits to having a part-time job, for instance, you will gain valuable experience concerning interview skills, writing a CV and working in a professional environment. You will also have the comfort of having a part-time job over the summer period or even after you’ve graduated, taking the stress out of finding a graduate job straight away.

Ultimately it comes down to time and how good you are at managing it. If you’re not good at time management and you start to feel stressed reduce your hours or stop working completely. On the plus side, if you find that part-time work suits you, you might find that having the extra experience sets you apart from your peers when you come to interview for a relevant job later on down the line.

Keep up to date with all the part-time opportunities available through Careers Online.

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