If you’re like most graduate students, you might find yourself strapped for cash on a regular basis. Many students are lucky enough to earn scholarships, grants, or work studies, but other students attend grad school by paying their own way – sometimes through student loans or from their savings. Either way, grad students might need a small push when trying to decide where to get a part-time job.
Do Your Research
As a graduate student, you have plenty of job options to choose from, including on-campus jobs, internships, work studies, and local, off-campus jobs. You might want to begin at your university’s career center. On-campus jobs are some of the most popular ways to earn money in college. Some of the more desirable positions include research and teaching assistants, graders, department assistants, and tutors. For descriptions of these and other on-campus jobs, visit this About.com article for job searching.
Sometimes, even a part-time job isn’t enough to pay the bills, especially if you work less than 20 hours a week. If you already have a job either on campus or in your area but are still looking for ways to earn money, you might have to get creative. For instance, find items in your home that you don’t use or need anymore and sell them online; advertise tutoring services to undergraduates, high school students, and middle school students; and offer other services or talents to friends and family (e.g., babysit, teach an instrument, house-train pets). Read this article by Ryan the graduate for more suggestions about earning more income in grad school.
Weigh Your Options
Now that you’ve been shown which types of jobs will work best for you and your schedule, it’s time to decide which route to take. Many students want as much money as they can get their hands on, and others would rather gain more experience during their graduate years; it’s important to weigh your options when you’re facing a decision between more money and better experience. For example, do you apply for a better-paying, off-campus job, or do you take a lower-paying position in your department?
If you take the off-campus job, then you might earn more money than if you were to take the departmental position. On the other hand, this job would not necessarily give you many networking opportunities in your field, and authorities might not understand schedule needs when you ask for specific shifts. Another positive to applying for this type of job is that it brings you away from the school environment and allows you to experience a new atmosphere.
Taking the departmental position will allow you to work closely with professors and other professionals in your field, but it might make you feel a little burnt out and possibly bored with your chosen field. This position might not bring in as much income as you need, but the amount of experience that you could gain from departmental positions could be invaluable. Future employers might see that you sacrificed a little extra money to network in your field and took time to discover yourself professionally before entering the real world.
I understand that not all on-campus jobs are geared toward graduate students trying to gain experience, and many off-campus jobs can prove to be more valuable than on-campus jobs can. For instance, students who work in on-campus cafeteria positions probably don’t gain specific skills for their chosen field as much as other students do who find off-campus positions as paid interns in their field. Do/did you have a job in graduate school? What kind of advice can you give to others who are looking for part-time positions in addition to school?