Tips on getting a student job

Studying full-time without working part-time isn’t always an option these days. With so much financial uncertainty, everyone is looking for ways to earn more money, regardless of their situation. If you’re paying for your own studies, you’ll need as many income streams as you have time for.

Even if your studies are being funded by your parents or a scholarship, bursary, or student loan, having extra cash on hand is always helpful. Whether it’s part-time after classes, on weekends or during the holidays, a side hustle or a part-time job should give you some financial independence without affecting your studies.

Here are some tips and tricks that may help when you’re looking for a student job:

Highlight your strengths

Never undersell yourself. No matter how small you may think an achievement is, always mention it to a potential employer if it aligns with the role that you are applying for.

Overcome the experience barrier

Finding a job can be difficult if you don’t have any experience. To overcome this, you’ll need to display your transferable skills. For example, if a job is looking for someone with experience in childcare and you grew up taking care of younger siblings in your family, your experience in babysitting is a transferable skill that you should mention when applying. If your tertiary studies are related to childcare, you would mention that too.

Tailor your CV to every application

Your CV is your chance to make a great first impression. The biggest mistake many people make is having one standard CV that they use to apply for every job. If you want to stand out and showcase your skills, tailor your CV to each job you are applying for.


The most important thing is never to give up, no matter how many jobs you’ve applied for


We don’t mean you should include false information – instead, you should present the details in a way that best aligns with the job description. You can ignore any of your qualifications, skills and achievements that aren’t required for the job, and instead include those that do fit the requirements listed in the job ad.

You’ll find some informative videos on YouTube and TikTok with tips on how to create a winning CV. Keep it as straight and to-the-point as possible – no more than 2 pages – and proofread it carefully for spelling or grammatical errors.

Keep applying

Job hunting is unpredictable – you might get the first job you apply for, or it could take countless applications. The most important thing is never to give up, no matter how many jobs you’ve applied for, or how many rejections you receive. Keep at it – eventually, you’ll find the job that’s right for you.

Explore remote work

If you can work remote jobs online, you can earn money whenever it suits you during your free time. Technology means we are no longer bound to office hours or on-site work – you can work internationally as easily as you can locally. Many companies are hiring remote employees, and some even allow you to set your own hours. Depending on your skill set and the course you’re studying, you could find opportunities online as a tutor, researcher, transcriptionist, translator, content creator, graphic artist, designer or copywriter.

Find something linked to what you’re studying

Waitering or working at a store while you’re studying might seem like the obvious option when you have no other experience, but with a bit of digging you might find a student job that helps you get experience in your field and secure a job after graduation.

Many universities and colleges have programmes to help students find a job with private companies while studying and once they’ve graduated – check if your institution offers this kind of assistance. Speak to the head of your faculty and find out if they have any student jobs available in the faculty – it’s also an excellent way to show your educators that you have a keen interest in the subject if you’re thinking of an academic career and joining the faculty for postgraduate studies when you qualify.

Work experience in your field of study is useful after graduation when you’re looking for a job. It makes for a more competitive CV, but more importantly, gives you years to network with others in your field while you’re studying, some of whom may be potential future employers.


It will be easier to hang on to jobs while you study if you maintain a solid academic record

Jobs that may be available on campus include:

Student facilitator/tutor

You’ll help other students with courses or modules that you’ve already completed. You gain experience in teaching and mentorship, while solidifying your knowledge in your field.

Marking or admin assistant

Within faculties, lecturers and administrative staff need help with marking and other admin, like capturing marks. This will help you get administrative experience – another useful skill to have on your CV after graduation.

Museum, archive, or library assistant

If you’re studying to be an archivist or librarian, check if your institution’s archive or library hires student assistants.

Research assistant

Many lecturers need to publish as much as possible, so they hire research assistants for help on new papers. As a research assistant, you’ll gain experience in the specifics of your field, and the job will give you a feel for independent research.

Student newspaper

Many colleges or universities have student newspapers where students in language, communication, graphic design and business can gain experience in a real-world environment.

Don’t neglect your academic performance

Your marks do matter. Many of the jobs we’ve mentioned are dependent on your academic performance. If your marks start to drop, you may not have the time for a student job anyway, because you’ll need to put extra work into your studies. It will be easier to hang on to jobs and keep earning an income while you study if you maintain a solid academic record. 

Finalise your academic timetable before you find a job and make sure that you can work your hours around your timetable. If you don’t think that you’ll have enough time during the week for both a job and studying, stick to weekend-only and holiday jobs.

Having a job while you study can ease financial stress, but don’t spend all your money on fun and games. Save as much as you can from your student jobs – it’s never too early to start planning your financial future. The difference between starting to save for your retirement in your 20s and starting in your 30s can literally amount to hundreds of thousands of rands. Learn how Nedbank can help you save and invest, even if you start with as little as R1.