College is an exciting time of learning, growing, and experiencing your first taste of the “real world”. Unfortunately, a four-year public college can cost over $28,000 each year and a private institution averages over $32,000 a year.
So, while your studies should be your top priority while you’re in school, it’s not uncommon for many college students to look for some type of employment to start paying off student loan debt, to open a savings account, or just to have some spending money and freedom.
It’s been reported that about 40% of undergraduates work at least 30 hours a week while in college. That can burn you out quickly if you’re not careful. So, what are some of the best jobs for students, and how can you start preparing now for your future career?
Finding a Part-Time Job
There are plenty of part-time job opportunities that won’t force you to take too much time away from your studies. Some of the highest-paying jobs are actually more “gig-based” like nannying/babysitting, dog walking, or tutoring. You can choose to take on these jobs as it works for your schedule, which means you won’t have to miss something important in school in order to work.
If you want a more structured, hourly position that ensures a certain amount of pay each week, some of the best options for college students include the following:
- Bank teller
- Warehouse worker
- Medical receptionist
There are even some temporary job opportunities if you’re having a slow semester or you need some extra cash. The U.S. Postal Service, for example, hires “casual workers” twice a year for 90 days during peak mail periods.
Use different resources for finding a job including LinkedIn, your local newspapers, and job sites like Monster.com. You might think there aren’t any active part-time opportunities available, but they’re out there if you’re diligent in your search! You can even check out flyers or advertisements posted around campus for companies that might be hiring and looking specifically for college students.
Starting Your Own Business
Do you want to bring in some money but you don’t want to work for someone else? College can be a great time to start your own business. Many college students who have skills in things like graphic design or writing take on freelance jobs. It’s a great way to make money on a per-gig basis, and it can also help to boost your resume and build your career while you’re still in school if you provide consistent work to reputable clients.
The more you network and build your client base, the easier it will be for you to grow your business. You can even start a service-based business in your collegiate town, such as a cleaning company, a pet-sitting business, or landscaping.
If you get enough regular clients, that can lead to positive marketing opportunities and people sharing strong reviews. When you graduate, you’ll already have established a strong business, and you may be able to expand it to different locations.
Kickstarting Your Career
Most people go to college to learn more about the career path they have chosen, but there’s no rule that says you can’t kickstart that career in college. If you know what your passion is, you can make the transition to life after college easier on yourself by having a career-focused mind now.
One great way to do that is to sign up for an internship. Internships allow you to work for whatever industry you’re interested in and get hands-on, real-world experience that you simply can’t get in a classroom. For example, if you want to go into the marketing field or work in developing content marketing strategies for companies, interning at a content marketing agency can help you to hone in on skills like social media, analytics/data, personalized content, and design, which you can use to boost your resume and land a job faster after you graduate.
Internships are also a great way to make connections and network with people already in the business world. College grads often make the mistake of presenting themselves only online when they’re looking for jobs instead of going out into the world and networking with people. While searching for jobs online has its place, there’s nothing like face-to-face interaction for someone to think positively of you and to connect you with the right people.
If you’re knee-deep in your studies but you also want to start making money, you have several options depending on how much you want to work. Whether you decide to be your own boss, work a part-time job, or intern somewhere that may clear a path for a brighter future, making money while you’re still in college can end up saving you a lot of extra financial stress once you graduate.