Part-time Jobs

Need to subsidise your student drinking habits, or maybe another advance on your pocket money before you even think about going to uni? It's time to step into the world of part-time work.

So What's Available?

If you're young, dumb and willing to work for peanuts the fast food industry wants you. Flipping burgers is the easiest job to land, you don't even need to speak English that well. Plus you get to take home a billy no-stars polo shirt and some great stories about what's really in the secret sauce.

If you want something less greasy, the retail sector loves part-timers, especially come Easter, Summer and Christmas. Department stores pay the best but work varies and you could end up doing anything from posing in the designer clothes department to selling buttons in haberdashery.

Next best thing to your Uncle Mark having a fruit 'n' veg stall is a supermarket. They offer the most flexible hours and some still pay time and a half for Sunday work.

Quick Cash

Beware of jobs that advertise 'Looking for open-minded people that like chatting on the phone'. Unless you're prepared to be Sleazy Sharon from Scunthorpe for seven pounds an hour. Sales jobs also boast big bucks but are almost always run on Commission, so check how much double glazing you'll have to peddle door to door before lunch is on you.

When to Start?

Getting hired takes time and can be tricky. Check press for recruitment fairs and register with employment agencies and websites. Hitting the high street armed with a gleaming CV is also a good start. Above all, remember not to lie on your CV as big companies will always run check-ups, even for saturday staff.

Top recruiter Barbara Haven at Sainsbury's plc says the most important thing when looking for a part time job is to know about the company. "The first question I ask during an interview is 'why do you want to work here?' You need to show an interest in what we do."

Working vs Living

Though the experience of being an independent individual can be quite pleasant, most employers expect you to actually do some work. It gets worse when you find yourself tired, your job boring and most depressing of all you have to sacrifice (or moderate) you Friday night because of work the next morning.

If you're a student working also means you have less time to drink beer, we mean concentrate on your studies. The offer of extra hours and cash may sound attractive but don't let studies and having a life take a back seat. Some universities (particularly colleges at Oxford and Cambridge) don't allow term-time work, so best to check before your professor sees you pulling pints at his local haunt.

Where's the Money?

One thing part timers get used to very quickly is payslips. And although you may not remember the tax man or National Insurance slaving away at work with you they certainly take a cut. Get used to it.

Remember that just because you land a job with a big company we all know and love it doesn't mean they are going to pay or treat you like the fabulous person you are. To know your rights as a part-timer and the minimum wage responsibilities visit the governments DTI website.