About 4 out of 5 of college students work while going to school. For some people, it’s a great way to help pay for college. For others, it’s the only way. If college is the key to a great career, it can feel like you need to get a job to go to college... to get a job.
The good news is that college jobs can be worth more than just a paycheck. Here are three ways to make a college job work for you.
1. Treat it like an internship (that actually pays you.)
You might not be earning college credit from your part-time job, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get valuable experience. Here’s a little secret about the professional world: a huge part of work is simply knowing how to operate in a work environment! Especially in your first years at a job, it’s all about navigating the professional environment. It turns out that just knowing how to deal with bosses and coworkers is a pretty valuable experience in itself. Internships are incredibly valuable, but getting paid to learn it is pretty nice, too.
2. Sneak in study time.
Huge caveat: make sure your manager is cool with it if you do this. It’s just a fact that for a lot of part-time jobs, there’s a significant amount of down-time. A lot of managers are pretty understanding that you’re a student. Ask them if it’s okay for you to catch up on some reading during the slow periods. If they agree, you’ve just scored some built-in study time. Nice! Now you’re clocking hours at double-duty.
3. Rock those employee benefits.
Part-time jobs can come with some pretty sweet perks. Retail jobs tend to have product discounts (working at a clothing store can keep you looking stylish!), and restaurants are known to give deep dining discounts to employees. It can be a nice way to save a little cash, but did you know it can be so much more? At 25 hours per week, a lot of companies actually start offering benefits like 401ks. That’s right - your part time job can help you get through college AND start saving for retirement. Not too shabby.