University life

Ten (non-dodgy) ways to make money as a student

25 Jan 2023, 13:36

Find a part-time job at university that will put money in the bank and skills on your CV.

A person taking money out of their wallet

Funding your life at university might seem daunting, but there are hundreds of opportunities out there to earn some money while studying. Whether you want a quick cash fix or to gain career-specific experience, check out our pick of the top ten jobs that will make you money and develop invaluable skills for your future employment.

Learn more about which part-time jobs are the best to kick start different graduate careers.

1. Tour guide

Many places offer opportunities to work as a tour guide – at the university, giving tours to prospective students, in a museum or conducting walking tours of the city. You may be able to create your own work schedule, though you could be expected to meet a certain number of hours per week.

Tour guide positions will be advertised online but it’s worth checking the city centre for any sight-seeing tour meeting points where they might be advertising. Most guides tend to earn between £10–15* per hour, with the benefit of possible tips. Having this job on your CV demonstrates aspects of leadership (such as emotional intelligence and crowd management) and communication skills.

2. Brand ambassador

If you’re looking for a more casual job in which you can socialise during working hours, consider becoming a brand ambassador on campus. Businesses such as Tinder, RBS and Innocent Drinks typically look for students to promote their brand or products. Your working hours will depend on your employer; you may do a full day of work once a month or ten hours of work spread out over a week. Pay tends to around £12 or £13* per hour, with further bonuses and perks potentially available.

Your responsibilities could include sharing social media content, distributing merchandise and getting people talking about your employer – all activities you can add to your graduate CV to show off your commercial and people skills. This job is sometimes called a ‘promoter’, especially if you’re employed by a club or bar, which might involve working night shifts. Many of these positions will be advertised online but keep an eye out for brand ambassadors on campus – they may be able to offer advice on how to join their ranks.

3. Bartender/waiter

Working in a pub, bar, cafe or restaurant is a student classic for a reason: there’s a strong demand for staff. Look out for notices in windows, but don’t be afraid to walk in with your CV even if there isn’t one. Many places may be willing to take on casual workers or to keep your CV in case of a staffing emergency.

Expect a fairly flexible schedule but with block shifts of six to eight hours that could end late depending on your establishment’s closing time. Most jobs will pay just above the minimum wage , but you will often get tips too. These jobs are good opportunities to build up your people skills, customer service and confidence.

Top ten skills you can get from a bar job.

4. Student caller

Many universities hire student callers who contact alumni to raise funds, increase awareness of university initiatives or carry out surveys on behalf of the university. These positions will be advertised on the university’s website and tend to pay between £10 and £15* per hour. You may get to choose your working hours, making it a good job to balance with your studies. In addition, logging your calls and keeping records will give you an insight into the administrative work that is part and parcel of most office jobs.

5. Retail assistant

Many shops are willing to hire students on a part-time basis. Vacancies will be advertised online or in store (look out for notices in shop windows) and tend to pay just above the minimum wage . Employment in retail means your schedule may be flexible but be prepared for block shifts of up to six or eight hours at a time, especially if you choose to work on weekends. Having a job in retail will add numerous skills to your graduate CV, such as commercial awareness and customer management.

Learn more about the skills you can gain from working in retail.

6. Tutor

You can teach your first language or your degree subject in person or online (this includes tutoring websites, where you teach virtually). Jobs can be found through universities, agencies, classified ads or online. You will most likely be asked to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check or similar background check. The pay for tutoring varies; in many cases, you set your own fees. Many tutors ask for between £20 and £45 per hour, depending on the age and academic level you teach, but bear in mind that you may have to pay your agency or tutoring website commission out of that. You will have control over your schedule and you will be able to add adaptability and communication skills to your CV.

Keep up the tutoring after you graduate as well: graduates can often charge higher fees than undergraduates.

7. Babysitter

Babysitting is suited to students looking for occasional work. You will find opportunities advertised online, through your careers service or on notices in coffee shops or post offices. Your family and friends could also help you find a babysitting job through their network. Most jobs tend to pay £8.50–10* per hour, with the additional benefit of potential study time if you’re babysitting children who go to bed early. Graduate recruiters look for employees who can take on responsibility and working as a babysitter is a good example of this.

8. Dog walker

If you love man’s best friend, dog walking is worth considering. The hours are short and can be worked around your university schedule, and the pay tends to be up to £15* per hour. Look for dog-walking jobs through dedicated websites or pet shelters and kennels (bear in mind that if you set up your own business rather than be employed by a dog-walking company, kennels or shelter, customers will expect you to have insurance). But not only do you get to add how responsible you are to your CV, you also get to play with a dog to prove it!

9. Usher/flyer distributor

Many theatre and music venues will advertise for ushers on a seasonal basis, so you’re not committed to the job for too long. Venues might also advertise for people to hand out flyers, particularly in big cities known for performing arts, such as Edinburgh or London. The pay tends to be at, or just above, minimum wage level and you may also get to watch productions or concerts for free. The best way to find these jobs is online or by visiting the venues in person. For those looking to pursue dramatic arts careers, this demonstrates your interest and commitment.

10. Delivery rider/driver

If you have a bike you could become a delivery rider. Your schedule will be flexible, though expect to work night shifts and in all kinds of weather. The pay might be hourly or according to the number of deliveries you make, but tends to average out around £9.00–14* per hour, with the possibility for tips and discounts in certain restaurants. You can find most delivery jobs advertised online, though if you order pizza one night, don’t hesitate to ask your delivery rider questions about their job! Being a delivery rider also shows employers you can be trusted to work independently.

Learn more about the skills you’ll gain from a part-time delivery job.

Other ways to earn cash at uni

The options above aren’t your only choices. You could look into working for your students’ union where jobs are often reserved for students. There are also opportunities to participate in other students’ studies or experiments, though make sure you know what the experiment entails before you sign up. The pay for this will vary: short surveys may pay £5–10* while an in-depth study may pay between £20–50*. You could even find a job that makes the most of your existing skills – if you have a lifeguarding qualification, look into working for your local swimming pool or if you’re a great dancer you could teach a dance class.

If in doubt or if you’re struggling to find work, don’t forget that your university careers service is there to help and is a good starting point to look for jobs or get advice. And, when applying to jobs, to make sure they conform to the minimum wage legal requirements.

Learn more about the minimum wage and your rights as a part-time worker.

*Estimated salary information in this article has been sourced from job boards and various specialist pay websites.

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This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the targetjobs content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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