Beyond Starbucks: Great part-time jobs

By admin
Category: Financial | Date: Thu 09 Oct, 2008

If you need to supplement your loan in order to survive, but can’t face serving cappuchinos or stacking shelves all day, try looking beyond the most obvious student jobs. These are just a few examples of jobs that are easy to fit around your classes and lectures – and which could get you valuable experience in whatever field you want to go into after university. That’s got to beat working in Tesco’s…

Babysitter / Childminder

If you like kids, babysitting or childminding is a great way to earn some cash whilst studying. It can help to have a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check from a previous employer, and any sort of first aid certificate is a plus. If you did any babysitting as a teenager, get in touch with the families and ask for a reference – a lot of parents will require one.

Why it’s great:

  • If you’re lucky, you get paid to have fun (I’ve had babysitting jobs where I got paid to take kids to the cinema…)
  • Free food! Most parents are more than happy for you to help yourself. Some have even offered me wine …
  • If you’re babysitting in the evening, or if you’re taking care of older kids who can occupy themselves, it’s a great chance to catch up on some uni work.
  • Almost all babysitting jobs pay cash-in-hand.


  • Parents looking for a regular childminder are often pleased to hire a student because they know you’re not about to disappear to a “real job”.
  • If you belong to a church or community group, let parents know you’re available to babysit: hand out leaflets or put a poster up.
  • Some parents may advertise via noticeboards on campus and your careers’ service, but try Gumtree for more listings.

Bookshop assistant

For anyone interested in a career in publishing, media or writing, a part-time job in a bookshop can be great experience (and much easier to get than an internship). The staff discount is often very useful, too!

Why it’s great:

  • Customers tend to be nicer (and quieter) than those in supermarkets or other shops.
  • No-one will think you’re weird for reading in your breaks.
  • You may get the chance to run promotions and events, and this can mean meeting famous authors.

Waterstones are particularly good for helping out budding writers:

In April Waterstone’s staff will have the chance to win a week at a writing course run by writing foundation Arvon. The two winners will be selected by a panel of Waterstone’s staff and industry experts.
Waterstone’s ‘Writer’s Year’


  • As with any retail job, you’ll need to be prepared to work weekends.
  • If your campus has a bookstore, ask about part-time jobs there.
  • Don’t just look at the big chains: try independent and second-hand bookshops too – these can be quirky and fun places to work! (Just avoid anywhere called Black Books…)

Personal trainer

If you’re a fitness freak (and have been signed up for your university gym from day one), why not offer personal training? You’ll need to study for a qualification if you want to do it professionally, but you may find some fellow students willing to pay cut-price rates for a bit of motivational pep talking and someone to jog alongside them.

Why it’s great:

  • You get to do something you love and help other people meet their goals.
  • You can stay fit whilst getting paid for it!
  • It’s flexible – you can always turn down an appointment if it’s inconvenient.



Whatever you’re studying, you’ve probably got a lot of subject expertise behind you (don’t discount those A-levels!) Tutors for school kids – any age from infants up to sixth-formers – are always in demand, especially if you have A-levels in languages, English, Maths or sciences. There are several big agencies that recruit tutors, or you could hire yourself out as a private tutor.

Tutoring children in your subject (or its basis, such as Maths or English) is widely available – look for advertisements online, in your local newspapers or approach schools in your area to see whether you’re able to promote yourself to parents through them.
Weird & Wonderful student jobs

Why it’s great:

  • Helping kids to learn – especially if they’ve been struggling to get to grips with a subject in school – can be very rewarding.
  • High hourly pay
  • You can do as much or as little as you like


  • Ask local public schools if you can put up a notice or poster
  • Try advertising on local forums (and look out for parents posting there to request a tutor).
  • See if you can join an agency – they’ll take a cut, but they’ll sort out the admin side of things for you (ie. they’ll find parents who need a tutor!) Some agencies require tutors to have a degree, but others will accept undergraduates.
  • If you’re a PhD student, you might be able to get paid to teach undergraduates at your university.

Over to you

Further reading:

What do you do to make ends meet? Have you had any weird, unusual or creative jobs, or do you prefer to stick to the tried-and-tested? Is there anything you’re feeling inspired to try out?

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