For many people, college is one of life’s most transformative, meaningful, and memorable periods. It’s an important time to expand your worldview, strengthen your confidence and sense of purpose, and develop your professional skill set. It can also be a great time to add valuable, real-world job experience to your resume. Though many of your days and nights in college will be crammed with studying and socializing, many college students today manage to find slivers of time each week to commit to a gig or part-time job.
Besides providing you with practical skills that can translate into a permanent job later on in your career, these jobs can also help you acquire the extra cash that you’ll need to pay for books, tuition, food, transportation, rent, or future student loan payments. However, it’s essential to bear in mind that not all jobs will be equally well-suited to the life of the average college student. Your college years, after all – in addition to being extremely fun and enriching – will also be very demanding.
You’re only going to have so many spare hours each week to be able to commit to a job, so it’s crucial for you to be able to select an employment opportunity that will be flexible enough to accommodate your busy academic schedule. Luckily, the rise of modern communications and computing technologies have made flexible, part-time, gig-style, and online jobs more widely available than ever before. Furthermore, many of these jobs will be ideal opportunities for busy and inexperienced college students who are interested in earning a little extra income.
1. Barista (average annual salary: $24,000). If you love coffee and you also enjoy socializing with people, then you may be the perfect candidate for a barista position at your favorite local or campus coffee shop. Working as a barista is an excellent opportunity to develop your social skills. And when business is slow, it can also provide you with the time and space to cram in a little extra studying. Free coffee is another major perk that attracts many college students to barista jobs.
2. Restaurant server/host (average annual salary: $23,000). Restaurant server jobs tend to be fairly flexible and fun, a great job opportunity for any undergraduate student who is light on their feet, enjoys working in a busy working environment, and doesn’t mind occasionally working late nights. As the host of a restaurant, your primary job will be to welcome customers, engage in pleasant conversation, and help them find their seats. It’s a relatively undemanding position – often with flexible working hours – that can help you meet tons of new people and hone your conversation and negotiation skills.
3. Receptionist (average annual salary: $28,000). Like a restaurant host, the receptionist’s role is primarily to greet customers and make them feel welcome as soon as they enter a business. Strong interpersonal and communication skills are an absolute prerequisite for most receptionist job opportunities, as is proficiency with most Microsoft Office programs, such as Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word.
4. Tutor (average annual salary: $33,000). Working as a tutor is an ideal job for many college students because it provides them with an opportunity to (a) teach others, (b) become even more familiar with their field of study, and (c) earn some extra money in a fun and flexible manner. Tutoring is one of the most engaging and rewarding job opportunities available for college students.
5. Cashier (average annual salary: $24,000). The typical cashier’s most notable job responsibilities include overseeing financial transactions, operating a cash register, and interacting with customers. This is a flexible and low-stress job opportunity that will require strong social skills, a willingness to stand for long periods, and a demonstrable ability to organize and manage large quantities of cash responsibly.
6. Childcare (average annual salary: $25,000). If you love to interact with children, we strongly encourage you to seek a job as a nanny or babysitter. This is an ideal job opportunity for any college student who is only looking to commit a few hours each week to work outside of school and enjoys being around kids. Keep in mind that most parents and nanny agencies will require you to obtain your child and baby first-aid and CPR certification before you’ll be allowed to begin working.
7. Research assistant (average annual salary: $43,000). As a research assistant, you’ll be responsible for scouring multiple sources of data – including academic texts, the internet, and public records – to provide the person that you’re assisting with the information they need. It will require a knack for investigation and data analysis, as well as a strong ability to identify patterns across multiple sources of information. One of the additional benefits of working as a research assistant is that there are often opportunities to collect and analyze information directly relevant to the major you’ve chosen to pursue.
8. Social media manager (average annual salary: $58,000). In recent years, social media has become a primary marketing and hiring tool for businesses across almost every industry. Consequently, many employers today place a high value on young people who are intimately familiar with the finer points of social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. So if you’re an expert on all things related to social media, then this might very well be a perfect (and highly flexible) job opportunity that’s well worth pursuing.
9. Campus library assistant (average annual salary: $25,000). Working behind a desk at your campus’ library may sound a bit boring, but try thinking about it this way: Yes, you’ll probably have to spend long hours in quiet solitude as an employee of your campus’ library – but that’s the perfect setting if you’re trying to fit in a few extra hours of studying or reading each week. It won’t all be downtime, of course, but the fact remains: This is an excellent opportunity for anyone who’s seeking to work a flexible job in a quiet, relaxed setting.
10. Rideshare Driver (average annual salary: $29,000). Driving for a company such as Uber or Lyft is a fun and highly flexible way to earn some extra cash as an undergraduate student. It will require, among other things, a strong sense of direction and a willingness to remain seated for long stretches of time. Strong conversation skills are not necessarily required for this type of position, but they certainly help.
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