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How to get (and keep) a job while juggling school

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By Sylvia Lorico

Whether you are working to pay off your student debt, or just looking for some extra cash, it’s necessary for many students to have a job during the school year. As a student, there are some difficulties in not only getting a job, but also keeping one. Here are some tips.

1. Use the Career Centre resources to perfect a resume or cover letter

Many students make the mistake of jumping to apply to every opening without examining their application first. Your resumé and cover letter define you. A poorly written resumé can shut you out from some job opportunities almost immediately. Head over to the Career Centre at Ryerson to brush up on your skills. They offer both online and in-person workshops on how to write proper resumés, ace an interview and more.

2. Always network and keep in touch with people

Another mistake job searchers make is to go to networking events or opportunities without maintaining contact with the people they meet. While a good resumé is important, keeping real-life contact with potential employers and having connections is important. Whether you are at an event to congratulate some friends or to job-search, always remember to keep in touch with the people you meet. Be approachable.

3. Take advantage of online services like LinkedIn or Facebook

Online job search websites like LinkedIn or Indeed are great resources because they take the elements of your professional career, including your resumé and interests, and connect you with potential employers and job opportunities. Social media sites like Facebook or Twitter are also resources you can use to promote yourself to potential employers. These sites allow you to connect with companies and employers you otherwise might not have access to in-person. Be professional online.

4. Talk to and negotiate with your employer about your schedule

This is an essential step to maintaining a work-school balance and being an adult. Your boss should be aware that you are going to school while working a part-time job. It is unrealistic for your boss to expect you to work 30 hours when you are in classes five days a week. If there are a few days that work better than others, remind your boss. Communication is key in maintaining a stable job.

5. Schedule time off work ASAP

As soon as you start working, check out the Ryerson calendar and D2L for important dates. This calendar will list your tentative midterm and exam schedule. Talk to your boss immediately about these dates. This way, you avoid scrambling to take enough time off to study for your exams.

6. Time management is key

Breakdown your weekly schedule at work and at school to make sure there are no conflicts. Allocate time for studying, friends and downtime for yourself. A balanced lifestyle means less stress at work when you have a project or exam.

Bonus: YOU come before work

Whether you’re working to pay off tuition or rent, remember that your job should not be the primary focus in your life. Work hard at your job but remember to prioritize your health over all things.

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