When I was in college – and by college I mean the combined time I spent studying for diploma, degree and masters – I supplemented my parental and PTPTN allowance with a bunch of part time jobs.
Had to lah. For one, I felt guilty for using FAMA scholarship when getting my diploma and degree, especially after I found out my parents were actually facing financial difficulties during the time. Parents, I tell you, they never tell you anything :'(
For another, looking and finding part time jobs for college students turned out to be a productive way to waste time. It’s procrastination but in a good way. Don’t lie to me – some of you college students reading this, you’re looking for part-time jobs despite haven’t finished your assignments yet correct not?
It’s okay, no judgement. In fact, doing a little work is good for you, beyond the obvious income factor. If your parents make noise, tell them a HSBC-led research said that ‘the academic performance of students who work 10-19 hours per week is superior to their peers‘.
In this article, I want to share the pros and cons of different types of part time jobs for college students in Malaysia. Let’s start.
#1 – Booth attendant / Promoter / Event staff
I did a few of these gigs. The ones I remember:
- Handing out Salonpas samples at multiple pharmacies around KL
- Manning booths during fairs (the ones at malls)
- Tasked as a ‘greeter’ at a corporate event
- Good, immediate money. Payment ranged from RM80-200 per day
- The employers don’t tend to micromanage. They check up once in a while, but mostly leave you to do your work
- If you do good work, the recruiter may remember and get you again for their next events
- Personally, manning booths during fairs were busy but quite fun! Time passes by very fast
- A LOT of opportunities during festive seasons and annual events like book fairs etc
- Tiring. Some of the jobs were all-day jobs, may need to stand for up to 12 hours. You need to be in good health
- Seems to be competitive (but to be fair what job is not competitive nowadays). I was only hired for maybe 1 out of 10 or so applications I submitted
#2 – Focus group
Note: not to be mistaken for online survey jobs. Those pay crap. Focus groups are face-to-face discussions, conducted for the purpose of market research.
- GREAT money. I remember being paid RM200 (if I remember correctly) for one 2-hour session
- Easy. All you need to do is be there and answer questions by the moderator and give your own personal opinions on a product/service
- You need to fulfil the exact requirement of that focus group setting, and that’s out of your control. Some may need for you to be a car owner. Others need you to be new mother. There’s a reason why I only did a couple of sessions – I didn’t qualify for the rest
- Timing is fixed. If you can’t make it to the session – usually conducted during office hours – too bad
- Not immediate. Upon signing up in focus group platforms, you may have to wait weeks or months to get an invitation you’re qualified for
- With improvements in technology, I’m not sure if companies still want to shell out money for expensive focus groups tbh. There are other cost-effective ways to conduct market research. I personally think its a dying – if not dead – industry. Feel free to comment
- Can be spammy. I remember receiving bulk invites via email and text, for focus groups I am not eligible for
Places to browse for these jobs: OpinionHero is one option. comment if you’ve tried it or other platforms.
#3 – Service jobs
Simplistically, there are two ways to make money: sell products or sell services.
As a college student, selling products can be a bit hard because you may not have the money to keep stock – unless you get paid by commission, which I’d argue is no longer a part-time job.
Doing service jobs, on the other hand, is selling your time and skills for cash. You can either browse job sites, or offer your own services. Kaodim is a good place to browse for an overview of service jobs:
Personally, I’ve done:
- Tutoring (at an international school) – for 1 year
- Waitressing (at a fancy restaurant near my uni in UK) – for a couple of months
- Catering baked goods – failed before it started
From the limited experience that I had, my favourite was the tutoring one. It paid more and the environment was comfortable.
- Complete autonomy, until you are employed and have to listen to your bosses/clients
- Sometimes you kind of stumble into it when people around you offer to pay you for the services. For example, I’ve certainly told my friend I’d pay good money for their cookies they made and brought to a potluck, and hired someone for their tech services when I see them posting about it online
- Technically unlimited income potential
- (For people who know what services they are good at and can sell) Other people take advantage of your passion and use that as an excuse to pay you less. Unsupportive friends and family may ask for discount or even expect it for free. Have to learn to say no
- (For people who don’t know what skill they can sell) You get stuck in analysis paralysis and can’t pick what to offer
- Differentiating yourself from other similar service providers might be a challenge
- You have to learn marketing, networking etc to get potential customers
Places to browse for these jobs: Go to your preferred job listing websites, or if you want to be self-employed, read my How to Get Clients: A Guide for Malaysian Freelancers article
- How I Get Great Clients Who Pay & Treat Me Well
- How to Charge Clients: 5 Methods Freelancers Can Use
#4 – Student jobs in uni
Some of your schools may put up student job listings. I’ve heard of people working as lecturer assistants, staff at student bookstore, staff at student cafeteria and more.
Personally, I worked as a student DJ when I was studying at UPM. I’m very sure no one tuned in but it sure was fun lol. Until now I put ‘English DJ at Putra FM’ in my CV.
- Convenient because it’s located right there in school compound
- May give you perks like discounts, free meals and/or access to areas restricted to students. Gives you bragging rights
- Easy to find the job listing – just go to the student center. If it’s not displayed, ask where you can find it
- They don’t usually pay well
- Try not to mess up too badly. May have lasting consequences
Places to browse for these jobs: just go to the student centre. If the job listing is not displayed, ask where you can find it
Thus concludes the 4 types of part time jobs for college students in Malaysia, its pros and cons, and where you can find them. Am I missing any other types of jobs or platforms?
This article is written for college students in Malaysia looking for jobs (I know its tough out there, hang in there bby), but I’d love to hear from everyone. Share in the comments section your own experience working while studying – what did you do to earn money? Can you share with us how you got the job, and if you’d do it again?
Any tips would be appreciated!