Working while you are a college student is a great way to build your skills and learn time management as you juggle academics, work, co-curricular activities, and your social life.  Earning some cash is not a bad thing either. Without much extra work or planning in high school, you can make yourself more employable in college. Whatever grade you are in you can take easy steps toward increasing your employability during your undergraduate years.

Think about what you enjoy and how to parlay that interest into a paying job.  Remember your skills and confidence will grow from a variety of experiences such as extra curricular activities, volunteering, athletics, theatre, school newspaper, and student government.  Here are just a few ideas that you can add into your high school curriculum or free time.  There are many more options–it all depends on your interests and talents!

  • Do you love to work with children?  Babysitting is a great way to earn cash and show you are responsible and trustworthy.  Spend time babysitting in high school and/or as a summer camp counselor and take a babysitting course through your local red cross chapter.  Not only are these jobs fun and creative, but also help you grow an impressive resume for a potential employer.  Remember, in a college town many professor’s have young children and are on the look out for dependable sitters.  Make friends with your professors.  If they don’t have a need for a sitter they probably will have colleagues who do.
  • Are you a swimmer?  Plan to take the basic lifeguarding course (many schools offer this program for free during physical education class).  Then put your certification to work!  Town pools, country clubs, high school pools, community centers, apartment complexes all need lifeguards.  Colleges have pools and need guards. Get experience and keep up your certification.  You might consider additional certification to teach swim classes which pays more than guarding and most colleges will offer lessons to the local community.
  • Are you a musician or vocalist?  You can continue to pursue the music you love and earn some cash while you do it. Strings, band, a capella and more — there are many interesting options and ways to put them to work.  Work with friends (think trio or quartet) or join/form an a capella group.  Restaurants or couples planning weddings (to name a few) hire musicians and vocalists.  Practice your passion and earn some book money at the same time.
  • Are you interested in film making?  Technologically savvy?  Filming sports or other on campus events or working at campus IT help desk are two additional ways to cash in on your expertise. If this is your passion –indulge– and you can convert this to a good part-time job on campus.
  • Do you love Dogs?  Walking your professor’s best friend not only puts some change in your pocket, but also will provide a four-legged furry companion for you.  Consider pet sitting for friends and neighbors now so that you will have a few references for future doggy endeavors.

Whatever you plan, consider working no more than 10-12 hours per week.  College is a balance of class/study time, co-curricular activities, work, and social activities.  Navigating through all these will help you excel in and outside of the classroom.

Image source: Money by Brendan Riley on Flickr. Used with Creative Commons License