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How to Find an Internships and Part-Time Jobs Whilst Studying

Navigating university life can be both exciting and challenging. Between lectures, assignments, and social activities, finding time to gain practical work experience might seem scary. 

We’re going to explore the best part-time job options and internships for UK university students, how to balance work with academic commitments, and tips for making the most out of these opportunities. 

Whether you’re looking to bolster your career prospects or simply need a bit of financial support, this guide will help you make informed decisions and find the right fit for your needs.

Why Work While Studying?

Working while studying can be hard, so it’s important to know why you are doing it. People have a lot of different reasons for working while studying and some real benefits can be:

  1. University offers you the opportunity to be financially independent. However, being financially independent is not cheap! Many students take on part time jobs to supplement their income, and help to ease their finances. Part time jobs usually offer flexibility to work around your schedule while earning income to support your life.
  2. Internships and part time jobs can be a way of gaining experience in your field of study and offer you a chance to bolster your CV. If you know what field you want to go into after your studies it might be a good idea to apply for some internships or part time roles, as this can give you an advantage when going for full time roles post university.
  3. Develop versatile skills such as time management, organisation, team-work & communication. Even if your part-time job or internship isn’t precisely what you want to do after university, most of the time you will learn invaluable skills that will help you in your later working life
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How can you balance work and study like a boss ?

If you are considering a part time job or internship one thing you will need to consider is how you will be managing your time. Being a University student means juggling a lot of things – your uni classes, your social life, your study time, plus any extra activities you take part in. The first thing you may need to consider is whether your current life will allow for a part time job or internship? If not you may need to make some adjustments accordingly and so here are some tips to help you:

Prioritise your tasks

Write down or mentally lay out all the tasks you have to complete for the week and prioritise them by which is most important. This will allow you to create a realistic schedule.

Utilise university resources

Many universities will have a careers office where you can go to talk about your options for an internship or career path. They can be a great place to start looking for opportunities! There are also often resources such as workshops and tutoring to help you to keep on top of your workload while you balance your degree and  internship or part time job.

Minimise your commute

You will need to consider your commute time for both your internship/job and university. If the commute is too far for either option you may struggle to effectively time manage. Something that may be worth considering is moving to an accommodation closer to campus to minimise your commute to your university and maximise time spent studying.

What is the difference between an internship and part-time work?

Internship: The primary aim for internships is to continue a student’s education in a specific field. They are designed to provide recent graduates or career switchers with  hands-on experience in a specific field, allowing them to apply theoretical knowledge in a real-world setting.

Part-Time Job: The main goal of a part-time job is to earn income. While part-time jobs can provide valuable work experience and skills, they are not necessarily tied to someone’s field of study or desired career path. The primary focus is on earning money rather than gaining industry-specific experience.

Landing an Internship: Boost Your Resume and Gain Real-World Experience

Internships might be a good route for you if:

  1. You want to boost your resume. Internships can be a great way to stand out from the crowd when it comes to applying for jobs post university.
  2. You are looking for practical experience in your chosen field. Internships provide hands-on experience in your field, and fill the gap between academic learning and real world application.
  3. You want to expand your network. Internships can be a great place to build your professional networks, which you can utilise once you’ve finished your course. 

So, you’ve decided you definitely want to do an internship while at uni, here’s how you do it:

How can you find an internship whilst studying?

University Career services. Most universities have a career centre where there are resources, job listings and internship fairs specifically for university students. 

Online internship and job platforms: In the digital age we live in it’s no surprise there are plenty of online resources to use when finding an internship. Some platforms include:

LinkedIn, Gradcracker, RateMyPlacement, Prospects & Internwise 

Company Websites: If you already have a place in mind where you would like to intern it could be a good idea to go on the company website to see if they have any openings. This is also where you can find a company’s contact information which could be useful if you are looking to get in touch with the company to ask about opportunities they may offer.  If they are not currently hiring but you’re passionate about the industry/company it’s still worthwhile sending an email and mentioning your interest. It will showcase proactiveness, eagerness, and ambition, making you stand out from the crowd. 

What internship is right for you?

There are different options when it comes to internships in the UK. These options include:

  • Summer Internships: Typically lasting 8-12 weeks during the summer holidays, these internships offer short-term, hands-on experience in various industries.
  • Placement Year Internships: These internships will often be part of your course and will happen between your 2nd and 3rd year at university. These year-long internships provide in-depth experience in your chosen industry.
  • Part-Time Internships: These internships offer you the opportunity to work alongside your degree, offering flexibility while gaining work experience during term time.
  • Virtual Internships: These are remote internships, suitable for those with geographical or scheduling constraints that mean they cannot go into an office.
  • Graduate Internships: These internships are for recent graduates and typically last 3-12 months, providing a pathway to full-time employment.

Choosing which is right for you will depend on many factors including your workload, which stage of your degree you are in, your university course and what you want to achieve by the end of your internship. 

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Finding your perfect Part-time job

If you want/need to earn some spare cash, getting a part-time job whilst studying is the perfect way to do so! Some of the most popular industries for students looking for part time employment are:

  • Retail: a.k.a working in a shop of some kind from supermarkets to small independent clothing stores.
  • Hospitality: For example bar work, restaurants or hotels. 
  • Administration: This is for roles such as assistants, receptionists and secretaries.

Where can students find a part-time job?

There are plenty of free resources available to help you find a part-time job that suits you. These include:

Working while completing a postgraduate degree

If you have decided that you need a job or internship while completing your postgraduate studies, you should consider how to fit it into your schedule. Postgraduate diplomas often demand as much time and effort as a full-time job, making it hard to maintain a part-time job or internship. 

However, there are options to explore if you’re looking to balance both.

  • Many degrees offer part-time postgraduate courses, allowing you to study and work simultaneously. These courses typically have lower annual fees, but the overall cost might be higher as you’ll be studying for a longer period.  **Unfortunately, international students will need a full time student visa to study in the UK so this option is not available for them. 
  • You’ll need to think about the time you can spare and find a job that suits your timetable. Looking into flexible hours, evening work, or freelance opportunities might be better for you as a postgraduate student, allowing you to work when it fits.
  • Consider remote roles. If you’re aiming to gain experience while studying, remote jobs can be a great option. They can reduce commute time and potentially offer more flexibility, depending on the nature of the job.

Common student questions about working whilst studying

Can I work part-time and still succeed in university?

Absolutely, plenty of students sustain a part time job and do well in their degree. It’s all about your time management! Sometimes having a part time job at university can help get your foot in the door for future job interviews or employment opportunities, especially if your job is relevant to your future career pathway. 

How many hours a week should a student work?

It depends on you and your workload. Experts typically suggest 10-20 hrs a week whilst in the academic term, however this might vary depending on a number of things:

  • Individual circumstances: Some people will find it easy to balance working 20hrs a week with university work whereas others may struggle to do 10. It comes down to your own capabilities and work life balance.
  • Nature of the work: How intense the work you do will contribute to how much you want to work. Remote jobs can sometimes be less time demanding and rigid which can make them easier to commit more hours to. 
  • University Guidelines: some universities will have suggested guidelines and specific recommendations or limits specific to your course. Which would be wise to follow.

Finding your work life balance can be hard and there’s no right or wrong answer. It really depends on how much you want to take on and whether you have the scope to do it. 

What are the best part-time jobs for students?

  • Retail: a.k.a working in a shop of some kind from supermarkets to small independent clothing stores. 
  • Hospitality: For example bar work, restaurants or hotels.
  • Administration: This is for roles such as assistants, receptionists and secretaries.

The jobs above all tend to offer flexible hours and rotas to fit around your schedule and provide you with many transferable skills for future employment.

How do I find internships for my field of study?

There are plenty of places you can use to look for internships, some of the most popular are:

LinkedIn, Gradcracker, RateMyPlacement, Prospects & Internwise 

There will also usually be a job board within your university or school of study where field relevant internships are posted for you to explore a role that may work for you!

Thriving in university with a balanced schedule

Whatever the situation, we want you to be thriving at university. Finding a way of balancing study with work can be challenging at first especially when you’re still trying to find that perfect balance. 

Most importantly you need to make sure you’re doing what works and what is right for you! There are always people happy to help should you need it so make sure to reach out if you’re struggling. 

Recap: the benefits of working while studying

Just to recap part time jobs and internships can help you to:

  1. Gain Practical Experience: A part-time job or internship provides valuable real-world experience related to your field of study, enhancing your resume and making you more competitive in the job market after graduation.
  2. Develop Transferable Skills: Working while studying helps you develop crucial skills such as time management, communication, problem-solving, and teamwork, which are beneficial in both academic and professional settings.
  3. Get Financial Support: Earning an income can help cover tuition fees, living expenses, and reduce the need for student loans, easing financial stress and allowing you to focus more on your studies.