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Elena's Blog: Looking for part-time work?

By Megan 13 Oct 2017

Student life can be hard as it is, but when it comes to expenses, it’s a whole different story. Rent and transportation are high - especially in Edinburgh – grocery shopping in average can reach £120 per month, and of course lets not forget that we’re human and like to spoil ourselves some times or let some steam off with a night out!

When in a full-time course it can be difficult to find a job that we can fit around our schedule, so the safest option is a part-time job. However, not all organisations are willing to be flexible with the rota, considering they have to meet their businesses needs first and foremost.

Best option in such a case, is to find a job in hospitality. Finding a part-time job in hospitality can mean various things; waiting in a hotel restaurant, bar or banqueting department, working in a pub/bar/club or an autonomous restaurant, etc. What’s the difference between working in a hotel or an individual venue you ask? Well, working in a hotel gives you more flexibility when it comes to the amount of hours you could cover, due to the larger number of staff. Also, a hotel will most likely hire agency personnel, in case of lack of a sufficient number of staff, whereas an individual bar or restaurant won’t seek to pay agency rates to hire staff for a shift, making things a bit tighter in terms of workload for the existing venue staff.

However, your best option can be to consider becoming a member of a hotels’ banqueting staff. The pay might be minimum wage and probably you won’t make tips (I can only be honest), but there is a large number of events you could be asked to work on, whilst having the opportunity to turn down a shift if you can’t work on a specific day and time, if lets say you have an essay to hand in the day after! – (It is advised to give at least a weeks notice if possible. If you are considered unreliable, they might stop giving you shifts).

As I aforementioned, there are agencies that hire individuals and send them to various places as a one time shift, that will pay higher rates than working for a venue itself. However, if you do a good job, these venues may ask to buy you out of the agency (obviously you don’t get a pence out of it…..) and hire you as their own, or put a request forward to the agency to have you in shifts as frequent as possible, some of which can be a last minute thing and you can easily turn down with no obligation if you cannot work.

Working for an agency can be good during the festive periods due to high numbers of events, albeit, it might be quiet before and after that period of time. If that is what you’re looking for, you can apply at 
ASA Recruitment and Blue Arrow. These agencies frequently have shifts available and employ staff on a regular basis, so if you don’t get a response, just pop in, hand in your cv and they will most likely give you a form to fill in and arrange an interview with an agent straight away (at least that was my experience with ASA).

Nonetheless, if you’d rather have a more steady job and regular hours, a good place to start looking for hospitality jobs are on the Caterer website. Again, a gentle reminder, not everyone is going to respond and not everyone is going to respond positively, so if things get rough, don’t lose hope! Pop-on those trainers of yours, print out some copies of your CV in the library and start handing them out! There’s no better way to show your determination and commitment to a business! And hey! Even the fort is 15 minutes on a bus! #JustDoIt (yes, I’m quoting Nike!).

Now, I know I have focused on hospitality - mainly because that is where I obtained most of my experience – but, when working in this industry transferable skills can be derived for future career prospects/current studies, whilst getting a deeper understanding of how businesses work, as much as, how people think and why they think the way they do. It can be fun and it can also be stressful, but what job isn’t really?

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