Man highlighting information in a newspaper with a cup of coffee

It is getting to that time of year again. Freshers week is long gone and probably so is most of your loan. As you contemplate the overdrawn months ahead, many of you will be considering getting a job but what is the best way to go about it?

For many students, their uni job may be one of the first jobs they have ever had. Even if it is not, it is likely that prior to uni, they have worked in their local area or in a small town or village making job searches far less daunting.

At uni, the sheer possible number of places to work can be very overwhelming. As can the levels of experience required. However, finding a job is not as difficult as you might think, if you determinately stick with it! Here are a few tips for any students out there currently searching:

What Jobs Are Out There:

Girl with blonde hair standing behind a pub bar

Working in a Pub is a great way to make friends. Image Credit: Kamal Hamid/

Bar jobs-

Working in a bar is great fun and it fits well around studies. I would steer clear of working in nightclubs because this will really mess up your sleep pattern. Anywhere that closes before three though shouldn’t be too tricky, especially if you only work weekends. You will have to work really hard but you will have a good time doing it and you will make a raft of new friends. If you chose somewhere that does food too, then you’ll save yourself some money with staff meals.

Shop jobs-

Again this is a fun job with loads of personal interaction. You will probably be able to find places that really want extra staff on the weekends, meaning it shouldn’t interfere with your studies too much. It is hard graft but it does not pay badly and if you work for a larger chain they may be able to transfer you to your home store once you have finished uni.

Promotional jobs-

I’ll be honest this job did not appeal to me at all when I was in uni but many people love it. Loads of companies, from charities to nightclubs, want students to advertise for them on campus. Your job would include handing out flyers, putting up posters and occasionally selling tickets for events. This is a really flexible job and most of the work you will do will be on campus so it fits really well around your academic commitments. Often you don’t need any experience either.

Uni jobs-

Jobs at one of the university bars, shops or food outlets are often seen as the holy grail of student work. This is mainly because shifts are flexible and are designed to work alongside your studies. Also you will most likely not be required to work during the holidays and will get paid pretty well. They also allow you to make good friends from around the university. These jobs are competitive though and often go in the first week. If you don’t get one, don’t worry too much, they are not that much better than working in normal bars and shops.

What if you have no experience?

Lots of people will think that if they have no experience, they have no chance of getting a job at uni but this is simply not true. As I said promotions jobs often don’t require experience but if this is not your bag then there are plenty of bars and shops that are happy to train staff themselves. The key is to go with larger chains such as wetherspoons, vodka revolutions or one of the big high street brands. They may do a few big hiring drives a year so keep your eyes peeled for any posters. They will often train all new staff anyway so it doesn’t make a difference whether you have experience in bar or shop work or not. Also look out for temporary christmas jobs, many places will be less picky about experience at christmas time because they need so many extra members of staff. Even if they don’t keep you on, you will have gained some experience which will make looking for another job ten times easier.

How to Find a Job:

Man making a coffee behind the counter of a delicatessen

Why not work in a deli or coffee shop? You can bag yourself some great free food! Image Credit:


I wouldn’t necessarily recommend job search websites for part-time work but social media is an excellent way to keep abreast of any job opportunities. Most cities will have a twitter account advertising jobs in the area and they may even have a specific one for bar or restaurant jobs. It is a good idea to follow any places that you particularly want to work in because they will normally advertise any vacancies on twitter and facebook first. For larger chains, look on their websites to find out about and apply for roles because often all hiring is done centrally, rather than by individual stores.

Pound the streets-

This is really disheartening at first and can be frustrating but walking around the city and handing in your cv to every single shop, bar and restaurant you pass is a really good way to find a job and you are virtually guaranteed success. It is much quicker than emailing places or applying online, in one day you can probably hand your cv to around 30 places and it is highly likely that at least one of the these places will get back to you. People are far more responsive if they meet you in person because they can put a face to the CV and will almost certainly chose you over someone who just emailed in. If you do chose this method, be smiley and engaging and let your personality shine through!

Freshers week-

Employers will target students in the first few weeks of each university year. There will be loads of people hanging around looking for new members of staff. Promotions companies in particular have a huge recruitment drive at this time of year. It is quite easy, at this stage of the year, with your bank account looking healthy after your first loan payment, to be dismissive and think 'I will start looking in a few weeks'. Don’t! All the good jobs will be gone.

Word of Mouth-

This is one of the best ways of finding out about vacancies before they are advertised all over the internet. Chances are, especially if you are in your second or third year of uni, you will know people who work in bars, shops or restaurants. If you put the word out that you are looking for something, they will let you know first if they have heard of any jobs on the grapevine. Local bars and shops often have really good relationships with each other and so even if it is not at the place they work, friends will usually know far more about what jobs are going, around the city.

The Rules of Job Hunting:

Don’t give up-

This is job searching 101. It is very easy to get overtaken by work and social commitments and after all job hunting is exceedingly boring and frustrating, but don’t give up! The more you keep putting it off, the more likely it will be that the good jobs are taken. Finding a job is really hard but it is nowhere near impossible, whatever your level of experience, you just have to stick with it! 

Don’t be too picky-

This is the other rule to finding a job quickly. If you decide that you only want to work in a super cool craft beer, kimchi, yogalates kind of place you are narrowing the number of jobs out there considerably.

Those types of places are also far more likely to only hire people with a huge amount of experience or even people within their own friendship groups. It might not be quite as classy to work at wetherspoons, but it will be far easier to get a job and the job will probably be better. Working for a big company gives you far more rights and perks. They have to treat their staff well because they are in the public eye, small companies don’t have this problem. Although some smaller companies may have a more personal and holistic approach to their staff, others will treat them like crap, not giving them any proper contracts, getting rid of them whenever they want and, in the worst places, not even paying minimum wage.