In a perfect world, all internships would offer livable wages. Until that day comes, supplementing your income with a part-time job is a smart way to make ends meet while you gain valuable experience in your career field.
Check out our tips below to learn how to maintain your sanity while balancing the demands of an internship with the demands of a part-time job.
- Communicate clearly with all parties
It’s crucial that everyone involved in your internship and part-time job be on the same page. Inform your part-time job boss and your internship supervisor of your two commitments. Create a schedule that works for everyone. And keep each party in the loop on any changes you need to make to either schedule.Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and set boundaries, when necessary. There will likely be a time where you’ll need to say No to another shift at your part-time job (due to your internship). There will also likely be a time where you’ll need to say No to extra hours at your internship (due to your part-time job).Know that when done tactfully and thoughtfully, you’ll likely earn the respect of your superiors for speaking up and communicating in a mature manner.
- Accept that you will endure moments of stress
Take a moment to face the reality of the situation and come to peace with it. What you are doing is difficult. You will face moments of considerable hardship while laying the groundwork for a post-college career with an internship, while also working a side hustle to support yourself financially.But guess what? With every moment of hardship you work through, you become stronger. Managing this juggling act will help you develop a set of skills that will greatly aid you when you move into the professional work world after college.You are learning how to handle and work through stress, which is something you’ll need to be equipped for in your first job out of college (for any job, really). And in both the internship and your part-time job, you are likely sharpening your set of soft skills (which are skills that are becoming increasingly important to companies across many industries).Remember during this stressful period of juggling to stop and visualize your career goals. Remember that the stress is temporary, and that the strength you’re gaining from dealing with it lasts forever.
- Learn to budget
Money – and time – will likely be tight when you’re working part-time during your internship. If you need help keeping track of your expenses, use Excel or a similar spreadsheet, and record your pay dates, total monthly income, and the average (or specific) amounts you pay for bills. Try this at the beginning of your first month juggling the internship and part-time job, and see how much money you have left over at the end of the month.Based on this, you can plan better financially. If you’re just barely getting by, consider getting picking up another shift (or additional hours) at your part-time job.If you’re doing well financially, think about cutting back on some hours at the part-time job so that you can focus more on your internship. If this becomes a reality, Ask your internship supervisor for homework, or additional hours, or additional activities to engage in outside the internship that can further develop your knowledge of the field you’re working in.
- Use (and grow) your skillset
The longer you maintain this balancing act, the more you’ll use – and grow – your skillset. Whether it’s technical skills you’re developing in the internship — expertise with certain software programs, or marketing writing (for example) — or soft skills — customer service and communication skills that you employ in your part-time job (for example), take note. Begin a list of all the skills you’re learning and honing in both the internship and the part-time job.When the time comes for you to apply to jobs in your field, or perhaps parlay the internship into a full-time job, you’ll know right off the bat which skills you’re in possession of. Having a handle on your skillset will aid you greatly when it comes time to build a resume, for you’ll know what to populate your resume’s Skills section.
- When things come to an end . . .
As things begin winding down with both the internship and part-time job, take stock of your accomplishments, and put them all down on paper (or, you know, in a Word doc). Almost everything you’ve learned while juggling both responsibilities can be used in a resume.Also, ask for feedback from your internship supervisor on your performance. And definitely connect socially with everyone at the internship who you worked with—you’ll need them for networking purposes later on. Also, these folks might be able to open doors for you with a LinkedIn recommendation.
One final word of advice: don’t burn bridges with either the internship or the part-time job. Successfully managing both comes out to an enormous win for you personally. When the time comes for you to line up references for your first full-time job in your field, your part-time job boss and internship supervisor will most likely be able to go to bat for you!