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A lot of people would consider the Christmas break to be a good chance for students to catch up on some rest, as well as an opportunity for them to go out and celebrate with friends both new and old. If that didn't fill their schedules then there is still the small matter of studying in preparation for exams in January.
Increasingly, however, students need to maximise every opportunity to make some extra money to support themselves in their education. The cost of living continues to go up for everyone, but factor in the rising costs of gaining a good education and it's not hard to understand why students will be fighting tooth and nail to find the most lucrative employment opportunities.
That being said, they do still need to allow time for study if nothing else, and may or may not have had time to lay the groundwork during term time for getting a good holiday job now. As a student, an ideal situation would be to have found great work over the previous summer and kept up a good relationship with your manager, so that you can pretty much walk straight back into some flexible part time work over Christmas. Alternatively, you might have thought well ahead about your prospective employment needs and thus been making efforts to join temping agencies and apply for jobs a month or two in advance.
There are many reasons why this won't have been possible for everyone though, so this article will attempt to help out those who might need some more 'last minute' ideas.
Despite what was said above, you're not going to lose anything by joining recruitment agencies to try and find temping jobs in your local area. Even if they can't help you out this time, you can get yourself on their books and stay in touch with them so that you're ready to go well in time for the Easter and summer breaks next year.
At this time of year, unless you have a specific skill that might lead you towards certain work, you are likely to be looking at seasonal work in retail and service industries. While these posts may well have been filled by now you just never know who might have dropped out of a post with a bigger company, or whether there might be a smaller business looking for someone who can join them straight away.
To get started, do an internet search for recruitment agencies in your local area and visit their websites. Try to get as much information as you can prepared before you make contact with them - see if their websites list any basic criteria for applicants and most definitely have a CV typed up and ready to go. This article should prove useful if you need some tips.
This approach requires you taking on an entrepreneurial mindset! Your chosen career might not be in waste disposal or event planning, but you could make yourself more than you might think by offering to do time-consuming jobs for people in your area.
You could send out flyers saying you'll take everybody's old wrapping paper and boxes to the rubbish tip for recycling straight after Christmas, or you could offer to wrap presents before Christmas (this might be especially good for families with young children who are faced with having to secretly wrap stocking presents in the dead of night!). You could clear paths of leaves, you could even wash cars - the possibilities are endless.
Doing something like this won't be glamorous, but you could end up learning a lot from having to set up your mini business and at least you would get to go for something that you could tailor to fit in very closely with your schedule.
When trying to work out how much to charge, this link to the guidelines for the UK's current minimum hourly wages might help. You might choose to offer a single charge for your service (one trip to the tip, for example) or you might choose to charge an hourly rate, but at least this gives you an idea of what's reasonable for the work you're doing.
Babysitting might sound like something you grow out of doing once you hit university age, but it could end up working out really well for you. Yes, you'd probably have to curtail a few nights out on the town, but there shouldn't be any shortage of people looking for babysitters over the Christmas holidays as it's prime party season. You might also find that it's a perfect opportunity to get some studying done, which would free up some of your other time.
Parents will be very careful about who they leave their children with, so the ideal situation would be to find families that you already know, as they will trust you without the need for any interrogation. If that isn't possible you could try Childcare.co.uk, which allows you to register and then for parents to search for an appropriate babysitter in their local area.
Christmas is a great time to have a clear out anyway, but for students it could be a great way of making some extra cash. Take the first few days of your holidays to go through your wardrobe, your CD and DVD collections, and so on. You're sure to come across some items that you no longer use and these could easily be sold on auction websites such as Ebay.
When using these sites, take clear photos and provide detailed, honest descriptions of each item. This will encourage potential buyers to bid on your items and allow you to make as much as possible.
As with babysitting, this might take up a bit more of your time than you would ideally choose, but it could be a good money earner. This option would work brilliantly if you already know people who might require these services, as it's likely that they would much rather hire someone they trust if that were an option. However, if that doesn't work for you then you could always consider joining a website such as Trusted House Sitters, which enables those who need house or pet sitters to match themselves with suitable people from their local area.
Bear in mind that there may well be a lot of information required from you in order for you to 'pass' the application process- clearly people are going to want someone reliable taking on such an important task on their behalf. Take the time to answer all questions carefully and as accurately as you can - it will save time in the long run if the answers you give 'check out' when they are cross-referenced with various agencies.
If you have any crafting inclinations, now might be a good time to bring them to the fore as people rush around looking for new and unusual gift ideas. To reach the widest audience you could join websites such as Etsy and Folksy but it might be too late to take advantage of their networks prior to this Christmas.
Instead, you could offer you wares to family, friends and neighbours as gifts to buy for others and if all else fails, you could at least save yourself some money (which is as useful as earning it!) by giving your handmade goods to your loved ones yourself.