Finding Valuable Part-time Jobs As An International Student


April 05, 2021

From finding accommodation to adjusting to a new country and language, any student studying abroad has a lot to think about. Whilst your first priority should of course be settling into your new home and meeting your new classmates, working a part-time job can also be a really valuable experience.


Working part-time doesn’t just help pay the bills and give you the money to travel or take part in leisure activities — it can also help you make friends and immerse quickly into a new culture, all whilst developing stronger language skills.


It is also a great way of gaining some real work experience which will boost any future job applications once you graduate. Employers will be impressed by your initiative and drive to work alongside your degree, all whilst living in a different country!


Ready to find work but not sure where to start? From where to look for opportunities to how to make a great impression in your application, here are our top tips for successfully finding part-time work as an international student.


Know what you need from a job

Getting a part-time job alongside your studies is a great first step in any career. It shows employers that you have great time-management skills and are prepared to be committed to your professional development.


Before beginning your job search, ask yourself how much time you have to dedicate to part-time work. You must put your studies first and then, depending on your course, you may be able to work anything from one night a week to every weekend.

International students studying full-time undergraduate or postgraduate degrees at UK universities can work a maximum of 20 hours per week. Make sure you keep this in mind when job-hunting.

Get your documents in order

Before taking on any part-time jobs, volunteering or internships it is really important to check if your visa status allows you to work in the UK.

As well as an appropriate visa, you will also need a National Insurance (NI) number. This is a unique number used by HM Revenue and Customs and the DWP to ensure you pay the correct amount of tax during your time in the UK.

It can be a time-consuming process to get your visa and NI number sorted. Therefore it is a good idea to organise them well in advance of applying for jobs.


Familiarise yourself with the application processes

By preparing yourself for the recruitment process, you can make a plan of action and learn more about some of the steps you aren’t familiar with.  

Most job applications begin with an online form of some sort, which usually asks for your details, previous work experience and education. You will often include a CV and covering letter at this point too. 

Traditionally, the next step is a telephone interview or in-person interview and assessment, but some companies may also ask you to complete psychometric or games-based assessments. You can practice these online.


Seek support from your university

Your university is there to support you, not just in your studies but also in your career. Have a look at your institution’s website or visit the student union to find out how they can help you.

Many universities have great careers services, which will be able to help you with everything from writing CVs and cover letters to practising interviews. Even if you already have a CV, book an appointment and get some expert feedback on it.

Most universities also offer on-campus part-time jobs as well as jobs specifically for international students. These jobs are great as they are designed to be flexible and work around you and your study commitments.


Check social media sites

The job-hunting landscape has grown dramatically over the last few years and there are now so many places to look for your next part-time job.

LinkedIn is a good place to start, with around 250 million active users making connections and posting jobs. The Dots is described as “LinkedIn for creatives,” so if you are looking for a more creative job this is another great place to start your search.

Even sites like Facebook and Twitter can be very useful places to look for jobs. Companies may advertise vacancies on their pages, and lots of people share or retweet opportunities too. 


Ask other international students about their work

A great way to find a good part-time job whilst studying is to ask other students who have been in the same position as you how they found their job.

What jobs have they worked? Can they easily manage their job at the same time as their studies? Some jobs which are really good for students include working in a bar or restaurant, working in retail or tutoring.


Use your skills to your advantage

The job market is really competitive, so above all, you must make yourself stand out. Teamwork, communication and resilience are all desirable skills and competencies, so include these keywords in your application. Try and describe times when you demonstrated these skills.

As an international student, your knowledge of other cultures and languages can be a really useful added extra to help you find valuable part-time work. 

Don’t be afraid to show off on your CV and cover letters. Employers read through so many applications, so make yourself memorable. They are always keen to see applicants with different experiences and transferable skills.


Written by Talya Honebeek

Talya is a freelance writer and Journalism Master’s student at the University of Sunderland, writing about everything from fashion and lifestyle to education.

Photo by Daniel Norris on Unsplash


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