Looking for a well-paid side gig that fits around your college schedule? Want to be independent, travel and afford to rent an apartment? I know, it ain’t easy to make ends meet. Sometimes, all you need is a few creative tips from someone like Shelby Dattilo. When her financial aid package got cut in half, instead of running to her parents for help, she sucked it up and found 5 unique jobs that are fun, flexible and worth much more than minimum wage!
1. Were You an Athlete in High School? Try Reffing
With your skills and “insider” knowledge, you could easily become a referee. You’ll stay in good shape and have a flexible schedule. Usually, your supervisor won’t even mind that you have to block out times taken up by classes or other commitments.
“Typically, leagues are so strapped for young, athletic officials that they will continue to give you assignments even after a minor scheduling transgression,” says Shelby.
What’s the real selling point here? This job pays more than you’d think. Shelby officiated lacrosse and field hockey, which usually pays from $55 to $95. Not bad for a few hours of work, right?
“If you get enough experience you can even transition to collegiate officiating, which can pay hundreds of dollars for just one game.”
2. Join Clubs/Activities Boards
Thought about joining student government in high school, but never got the chance? Well, that was the case with Shelby. When she saw a few spots reserved for freshmen on campus, she went for it in an instant. Eager to make a difference, Shelby had no idea that this position is paid, right until she got a check in the mail for a few hundred dollars.
“I had to go to three different campus offices to find out that it was for my participation in student government since I was never told I would be paid for my time.”
Shelby says it’s totally worth getting involved, even if you’ll get paid less. If you find a gig that represents something you believe in – go for it. Most students have no idea that campus activities pay cash, or about opportunities they open up.
“The experience you can gain for your resume and the connections you can make are just some of the added benefits to getting involved in school activities.”
“I even have a friend that ended up landing a job as a tour manager for Counting Crows after working for our student activities board.”
3. Find a Job on Campus
Want to continue being involved on campus? Find a job that will keep you there and pay good cash! You’ll get to work about 20 hours per week, learn more about your school, earn above minimum wage and meet a ton of awesome people.
“Financially speaking, the information I gained while working there was invaluable because I was forced to communicate on a regular basis with offices that helped me when applying for my financial aid or registering for the right courses to graduate ahead of schedule,” shared Shelby.
The pay is good, schedule tends to be flexible and you even get to work on school assignments during slow days. Plus, always keep your resume in mind – a gig like that will show that you’re responsible, committed and involved!
4. Become a Bookstore Associate
Shelby admits she quit this job after a few days. But don’t scroll down! Her reasons had nothing to do with the job, and there’s something in it you might like.
“I genuinely think working at a bookstore is a stellar way for any college student to make a little extra cash, and sometimes I wish I had stuck with it,” she admits.
You can expect minimum wage, but with lots of non-monetary benefits. For starters, it’s every bookworm’s dream! You get to work in a quiet, cozy atmosphere, which won’t stress you out as much a job at a smelly local bar would.
The best part – you get discounts on expensive course textbooks!
5. Boost Your Income and CV with a Paid Internship
According to Shelby, it IS possible to get paid internships while you’re still in college. During her final semester of senior year, she scored a full-time internship which paid a full salary and even allowed her to continue taking a final course to get a full-time student status she needed for financial aid.
“I would highly recommend to everyone in college reading this to go out there and secure as many internships as you can before leaving college. This was the only one I did, and I regret not looking for more sooner.”
Think you need connections to get a well-paid internship? Shelby proves this statement wrong. She says that it’s important to know your worth and search for internships even if they seem too far-fetched.
“If you think the work or time commitment deserves a wage, try asking for one even if it wasn’t offered. It doesn’t hurt to ask, and many companies do have it in their budget to pay interns.”
“I made the equivalent of a $40,000/year salary at my internship, and probably could have gotten more if I had just asked.”
Have some spare time? Think of the skills you already have. What’s your unique trait?
For example, Shelby teaches swing dance lessons in her spare time. Is there something you’re good at that people would love to learn?
It could be anything – from piano classes to English tutoring and content writing. Having a side gig will help you save cash and provide invaluable opportunities to gather a load of experience and useful lessons for your future career.
Find this article useful?
Share it with your job-seeking college friends!