Unfortunately for many students, a loan is simply not enough to get you through the year alone. Endsleigh Insurance statistics show that a whopping 57% of students now work in order to fund their studies. And fair play to them: getting a part time or temporary job can be a great way to earn some extra cash whilst gaining valuable experiences and CV points. Equally important as your wallet though, is to consider the implications of having a job: will it affect your studies and social life? Are you getting what you deserve? This guide looks at some important aspects to think of when on a job hunt.
Should I get a job?
This really depends on how you are coping with budgeting and your income. Even if you’re not struggling for money, many students chose to get a job for experience. On the other hand, for many others it becomes understandably too difficult to balance a social life, study workloads and a job (in order of priority!). It is worth considering though, that there are a few ways to work more flexibly…
Working for the Uni
SUSU employs over 200 temporary and student staff, offering a range of generous benefits and flexibility. Working for the union means working for an employer who understands student needs, offering a range of contracts (starting from zero hours), and generous holidays, which includes SUSU closure days.
If you are not able to commit to a contract but occasionally need a bit of extra cash to line your wallet, the University also offers some casual work. For example, last year I worked as a Humanities Student Ambassador- you get to chose when you work, giving prospective students a tour of the campuses.
This type of contract does what is says on the tin; your contract starts at zero hours, meaning you work whenever your employer requests you and you are able to. There has been a bit of controversy surrounding Zero hours contracts in the media lately, and understandably: it is a bit of a double edged sword. For some students, the flexibility of the contract is great, as you are not restricted to set hours, and you can even take a break during busy periods such as exams. However, at the same time your employer is not obliged to provide you with work either, so if you need a job as a substantial income support, it might not be for you. Also, some people prefer a set hours contract because of its stability, giving you the option to work around your hours to make plans.
Some companies offer employees the opportunity to transfer to a more local store. This can be perfect for some people, as you can continue in a job where you already know the ropes. But before you agree to this, make sure you know where the Southampton branch is, and if it feasible to travel there regularly. Also, weigh up how good your job really is, or whether you would like a fresh start instead- maybe even with more job benefits. Particularly when starting as a fresher, you may not want to commit to regular hours when also settling in.
As a student, it really is vital that you make sure relevant forms are filled in by yourself or your employer, to ensure that you avoid paying tax that you do not need to pay. You used to have to fill in a P38 form, but now the government operates a Pay As You Earn system, which should be dealt with by your employer. This way you will only lose tax if you earn more than £9,440 a year.
Summer Temp job
Instead of being tied to a job throughout the year, it may be a better idea to work just in the holidays. This way, you can keep your term time free, and get a full time job- which in many cases is paid better than part time shop work. Working full time temporary contracts may also open up better opportunities to find a job more relevant to you in terms of relevant experience/ CV points. The only thing to be wary of, is that if you go through an agency, although it might be convenient, they might deduct an agency fee from your wages.
If you can get one, this is probably the best for you CV-wise; a bit of a double whammy as you can get paid for furthering your career prospects! However, be prepared- it may eat up a significant portion of your summer holidays!
TIP: start looking well in advance, placements get booked up quickly, and eagerness is sure to impress!