My part-time jobs while studying

Ana Maria Cirstea

What part-time work you have had since being at university?

I worked a range of part-time jobs during my undergraduate degree at Durham. My first job was as a waitress in a local restaurant, I then served afternoon tea at a tourist attraction, and finally found my role as an intern in the Careers’ Service where I worked for about 2 years. Between my undergraduate and my Master’s degree, I also worked in the Admissions office at the university.

How did you hear about your student jobs?

I found both of the server jobs through my friends who happened to work there, so it’s always worth asking around. I found the University jobs on the Careers’ Service job portal. I also spotted some opportunities on the Careers’ Centre social media pages – so it’s worth giving them a follow!

What do you see as the benefits of your jobs?

Working a part-time job alongside my studies was challenging at times, but I learned so much from it. My experience working at the Careers Centre was the most enriching because it allowed me to choose my hours, so I could schedule work, lectures, seminars, and time off myself. This meant I could truly focus on and learn from my tasks which helped me develop important skills for my future career. Having this independence and being seen as part of the team also helped me develop my self-confidence and work experience.

Do you think your jobs will help your future career? If so, how?

As an international student, working part-time helped me to develop an insight into working in the UK and to meet local people from outside the university. This insight also came with real work experience and a chance to develop new skills. Employers look for someone who has done work outside of their studies, even if this is in a completely unrelated field. You would be surprised how you can get all points in an interview by talking them through how you calmed down an upset customer or how you planned your team’s rota. It’s all about the way you frame it!

What skills/experiences have you gained that you will take forward in the future?

The main skills I gained from my part-time jobs were time management and communication. Working and studying meant that I needed to carefully manage my time and decide what was most important to me. It also allowed me to learn how to complete tasks within a given time frame with the resources available. My part-time jobs also helped me learn how to be clear in my communication – whether when serving customers their coffee or when writing reports for the university. It all played a role in the skills I have today.

What are your top tips on applying and interviewing

When it comes to applications, I’d advise you to always go for it! If it sounds interesting or suitable for you, submit your CV and see what comes of it. Make sure you are prepared for your interview – do your research into the workplace and think about what questions you might receive. Pick specific examples to substantiate your point and try to clearly set out the answers to their questions. Show them your enthusiasm and remember that you probably have the skills they are looking for.

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Our students work in part-time roles to run our student social channels

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Ana Maria Cirstea

Hi, I'm a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology

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