Best College Jobs
This post is a good prologue to my post of how pretending to be rich is keeping you from BECOMING rich (Here: http://bit.ly/separationzone)
I mentioned how upon graduation, you should generally speaking have surplus money every month, IF YOU HANDLED YOUR BUSINESS IN COLLEGE. In this post, I will touch on a key aspect of handling your business during college: Having a job.
If you are in college, you should have a job (or business.):
1. You can make a solid income (for a teen.) This will allow you to graduate with significantly less student debt. Which should be a concern considering the average student debt balance is roughly $38K. There are no signs of it coming down. (Source: http://bit.ly/Loanstats)
2. You will learn a lot about time management and work ethic.
3. If you pick the right job, you will get significant experience in your field come graduation time. You will be miles ahead of your peers.
4. Even if the job has nothing to do with your career (waiter, Walmart cashier, etc.), you want something on your resume. An empty resume come graduation or senior internship season is a hard-sell.
Exceptions to the rules above:
-Student-athletes with a realistic chance at going pro, rising musicians who are getting offers from labels, etc. No point in getting distracted and jeopardizing millions in earnings for a couple of thousands a month.
Now the jobs are in no particular order. They can vary according to the city. I focus on jobs that have the following:
-Relatively high earning potential. (Staying from minimum wage jobs.)
-College schedule-friendly. (No frequent travel or overnight work during the week.)
-Jobs that incorporate transferable soft skills.
Let's get started!
I was a waiter for a couple of years during college. It’s a pretty solid gig, especially for inexperienced underclassmen.
-Contrary to popular belief, you can make solid money (Again for teen standards.) I worked at a popular Tex-Mex spot in college town where I would average $13-18/hr depending on how busy the night is.
-There is little invasion to your schedule. No courses to take, no unexpected customer calls. You just go in your shift, clock out, and you are free until next time.
-You become pretty good at talking to people, time management, and emotional management (Look at cons below.)
-Depending on the place and management, it can be a blast socially. On some occasions, it almost feels as If you are hosting a party...and getting paid for it.
-Instability. Most of your pay is based on tips/commission, which fluctuates according to how busy the place is, how good of a job you do, and yes, what mood the client is in. On the best days, I would get $20-25/hr, whereas a handful of slow days left me with roughly $9/hr.
-Stress is pretty high. If the kitchen messes up, you (and your wallet) still pay the consequences. Not to mention that many customers are simply rude and you are expected to “apologize” whether you are wrong or not.
-Tied back to the point above, you will deal with a lot of rude/drunk people, and yes, YOU HAVE TO SWALLOW YOUR PRIDE. Not apt for snowflakes.
Overall: Solid first job choice. It’s one of those jobs I wouldn’t do again, but I am glad I did it.
2. Any commissioned sales job:
I am currently working in the tech sales industry, and I can tell you that sales jobs are some of the best jobs out there. You are not measured on your seniority, years of experience, Alma Mater, or whatever…you either hit your numbers or you didn’t. As fair as it gets.
-The money can be pretty good for top performers. I knew of peers making $10k+ in the summer working full time, then continuing to make solid amounts working part-time during school. Far-cry from your typical $8-10/hr college job.
-Unlike many college jobs where there is an income peak (You won’t break 6-figures as a waiter.), in sales jobs, you could secure a full-time position upon graduation at your current company and make good money. You will have a huge advantage come promotion time…not to mention that you will already have an existing book of clients.
-Sales jobs RELY on social skills, therefore, you will notice a correlation between your improvement on the job and other areas of your life (dating, networking, etc.)
-Low job security. Sales jobs are based on your numbers, plain and simple. Hit them and exceed them, you cash out. Miss them and you will begin walking on thin ice.
-Quota pressure can be invasive. Although many managers are respectful of college schedules, they will enforce the quota numbers. That might mean that If you are falling behind, you might have to skip the Saturday game to make some client calls or risk missing quota.
Overall: Good job for most students, as it probably has the most earning potential. It will be stressful. Top performers will LOVE IT, bottom performers will HATE IT. It’s what you make of it, you eat what you kill.
3. Any job related to your field of study:
This category is broad. But you get the idea: What better job for a pre-med student than a part-time job at a hospital? This may be harder to find in some fields, but it’s worth a try. (This is different than an internship.)
-The obvious one: The industry experience. A marketing student who worked part-time at a marketing agency for 1 year before graduating will have a huge advantage over his peers who worked at Starbucks.
-You will find out very quickly if the career is for you. You might enjoy the activity (Ex. Financial modeling.), but hate the job culture (Ex. Wall Street 80hr/week lifestyle.) The sooner you find out the good, the bad and the ugly the better.
-You will build a solid network. In any industry, you are only as good as who can vouch for you. Therefore, graduating with a network willing to vouch for you is priceless.
-You will get to apply what you learn in class, making both class and work more interesting as they complement each.
-“Dumb intern stigma”. Unlike the other jobs mentioned, there will be a heavier seniority factor in place, it will take a bit longer to prove yourself. As a result, you may find yourself dismissed by more senior workers until that happens.
-Ego battles. Contrary to the point above, if you prove yourself valuable, you could make a case for a promotion to a supervisor role early on. Logically, that will upset more senior workers and could cause drama.
-Unlike the other jobs, the pay is typically a bit lower. I knew friends at my old school working for an advertising agency for $9-11/hr doing professional level work.
Overall: Great job for students in saturated fields (marketing, advertising, accounting, etc.), If you are not in dire need of money, it can be a great option to set yourself up long-term.
4. Niche jobs:
-Great gig in sporty state schools or if you can land a gig at a popular gym and If you have a good social media presence.
-Your body is your business card.
-Unstable, but If you market yourself right, it can be profitable.
-This is especially good for those who are good(preferably If it's your major.) in subjects people tend to struggle with (STEM, calc, economics, finance, etc.) I have seen tutors charge $40+/hr.
Social media marketing
-Again, hard to get clients early on, but once you have built up some references, there is a good upside.
-This is one of those jobs you could do after college as a side-gig or main job If you EXCEL.
-Your follower count and personal social media is your business card.
Overall: As you may have noticed, these gigs have low barriers to entry and the top of pack are the only ones who EXPLOIT it. as opposed to previous jobs where even ok performers did well. A guy in ok shape will have a tough time landing clients as a trainer, a guy who is rocking a 2.5 GPA will struggle to get tutoring clients. You get the idea. If there is an area where you EXCEL (top 5%.), it could fit in here.
Any job is better than doing nothing:
Those are some of the best jobs I could think of, but here is the takeaway:
Any job or productivity is better than wasting your whole summer playing PS4.
Even If you have to work for minimum wage at Burger King at first, you will get value out of having a job. Once you have something on your resume, it will be much easier to move to something you like.
Not to mention that if you don’t like your job, YOU SHOULD CREATE ONE. Starting a business can be a very rewarding experience and will set you apart from your peers. Even If you don’t make millions, you can make money on your own terms.
You will learn a lot of tangible skills that will carry you through your career and help you find success, skills that aren’t learned in the classroom, but in the field.
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