Jobs · 7 min read

Do I Need Work Experience To Get A Student Job?

young person on the way to get a student job

Let’s be realistic. Not all of us can go through university without picking up some extra work experience on the side. For some, it’s a means of surviving. For others, it might be simply to gain some experience or develop skills in a specific area. The likelihood of someone wanting a student job while having to focus on their studies isn’t extremely high, so it’s likely a matter of needing the money.

Whatever your reason for wanting a job as a student, this may have left you wondering if work experience is a necessary prerequisite. But while it’s true that work experience can enhance your chances of landing a student job, it is not the be-all and end-all.

Why Is It Useful To Have Work Experience For A Student Job?

The important thing to understand is that when you leave college, you’re going to be applying for jobs. Now, going to university is a great thing to have on a CV, but do you know what makes it even better? Having additional work experience. Sure, having work experience isn’t necessary or important with all jobs but it’s still helpful.

The primary benefit of having work experience is that it demonstrates that you have transferable skills. These include things like teamwork, time management and communication. Having work experience also shows that you can adapt to different work environments and have industry knowledge in specific fields. Basically, you’re just showcasing your abilities in numerous ways by showing that you can handle pressure, can take on more responsibility, etc.

However, it's important to note that these skills can be showcased elsewhere. Once you identify the role you want, think about the qualities you may need and the extracurricular activities you may have done that demonstrate them.

What If You Don’t Have Work Experience?

If you don’t have work experience, don’t worry about it! It’s important to understand that you need to focus on your studies first and if you’re someone who’s unable to find a balance between working and studying, then you should focus on studying. This is assuming you’re able to survive in university without the need of a job.

Many employers understand that, as a student, you may not have had the time or opportunity to build up your professional portfolio. Remember, employers also value individuals that have the right kind of skills, attitude, and potential. When looking at candidates, they will also take into account factors such as your academic performance and extracurricular activities in the hiring process.

Ensure your CV conveys as much of this as possible, bulking it out with achievements, interests and hobbies. Whilst experience is important, it's not the only way to impress a future employer. Don't be afraid to talk yourself up and mention all the things that make you look better in the eyes of an employer.

Which Student Jobs Require Work Experience?

While there are plenty of roles that do not require work experience, many do. It is always essential to check before applying to any job that your criteria and the advert match up.

Work experience can help employers to narrow down the applicant pool. Make sure you take the time to understand the requirements of the roles you're applying for to avoid wasting time. If there is a job you like that does require experience, think about ways you can gather this elsewhere before applying. In some cases you may need to hold off on getting a certain job while you build up the experience needed to get that job. If it’s a job that you really want, and one that might help you in the future, then you shouldn’t be afraid to go after it!

What Type of Student Job Can I Do If I Have No Work Experience?

If you are starting from scratch, it might be worth looking into jobs that do not require you to have work experience. These kind of roles range from working in customer services and sales to hospitality, online work and micro-tasking.

Another option is to think outside the box. Aside from more conventional jobs, side hustles offer fantastic opportunities for students with minimal experience. There’s also so many great side hustle opportunities out there to take advantage of so you’ve got options!

Side hustles can be a great way of earning income as well as getting some practical experience. They also come with far more flexible and convenient time demands.

Other online roles can also be a good place to start. Jobs like tutoring, transcribing, upselling and pet sitting are just a few of the jobs available online that require minimal experience. Once you start working, you can quickly use these skills to land a more experienced role. There are a ton of things you can do that will earn you decent money that have zero work experience requirements. It’s all about looking around for something that you can do with ease.

Where Do I Find A Student Job That Doesn’t Require Work Experience?

If you feel unsure about your lack of work experience, there are online platforms that can help you. Student job platforms work by matching you with a range of job roles suitable for your skill level and experience.

Signing up to these platforms allows you to browse a range of jobs that suit you, without having to worry about being held back by your lack of workplace experience. Start by researching online side hustles and aggregate online side hustles together so you can find something that suits you.


Work experience can be a tricky topic, but it won’t necessarily hold you back from being employed. Start by looking for jobs that advertise themselves as entry-level to give you the best chance of success.

If you are looking at more competitive roles, consider how your extracurricular activities and hobbies could demonstrate the skills the job requires. Be smart about how you present yourself, using your CV as a tool to communicate this.

Regardless of your experience, there are thousands of options for students looking for entry-level jobs. Whether you start by working online, in a bar or as an intern, your time at university can help you get your foot on the ladder and gain experience to use for future roles. For the most part, you’re looking for a job for some extra financial income to help you out on campus, so there’s no shame in taking any kind of job regardless of its work experience requirements or lack thereof.

Want to improve your financial literacy and work towards your savings goals? Get started with Prograd today.

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