Quirky ways students can make money and boost their CV

Sophie Phillipson, founder of HelloGrads.com, shares her 10 favourite CV-enhancing, money-making ideas for students.

Love Money
Last updated:13 March 2018 - 07.08pm

If your funds are rapidly depleting, there are plenty of ways to make money and learn transferable skills to give your CV a boost.

Here are 10 quirky ones you might not have considered.

1. Supper club host

If you have a talent for cooking and you can command a room, try hosting a supper club. Sophie Phillipson

Work up a set menu and make use of your sprawling student network to invite housemates, friends and friends of friends who are missing home-cooked food.

Use social media to create a stir and share menus and photos. Take payment in advance to cover the cost of ingredients, and make sure you factor in the cost of your time.

Dress the room, and add candlelight, as eating out is as much about the ambience as the food. Note you cannot sell alcohol without a licence so get diners to bring their own wine.

2. Movie extra

If you don’t mind waiting around, and you’re punctual, reliable and discreet, signing up as an extra for TV, films and commercials can be an enjoyable way to make upwards of £80 per day without needing any prior experience or training.

 Most extras start by signing up with a local casting agent, but do your research, and go with recommendations if possible, as rogue agents exist.

You’ll need a headshot and full-length body shot, which don't need to be taken by a professional photographer, plus a list of vital statistics and any interesting skills or hidden talents, be it horse riding or ballroom dancing.

[Read more: How shopping like my nan saves me £360 a month]

3. Tour guide

If you’re uncommonly well acquainted with your city’s pub landlords, independent shop owners, or clued up on local history, share your knowledge as a host.

Airbnb Experiences lets you turn your knowledge or talent into an enterprise, offering experiences, classes and trips that can be booked by visitors, tourists and locals.

There’s everything from surfing lessons and forest hikes to sampling the best street food spots your city has to offer.

4. Social media manager

Working in bars, cafes and restaurants is part of the university experience, but the opportunity doesn’t end with mopping floors once the punters have left.

Upsell your digital skills and make those hours you spend on Instagram pay.

Offer to run your workplace’s social media feeds in return for a monthly fee and update customers with events, news and entice them back to the venue with beautiful, smartphone-captured photography and special offers.

Prove your value by growing followers, running competitions and engaging with potential customers.

You may find your digital skills go even further, such as helping to set up or develop the website, and blogging.

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5. Pub quizmaster

Expand your general knowledge and blind punters with your intellect week in, week out by hosting a pub quiz.

Pitch the idea to your favourite local, and offer your skills as quizmaster in return for a fee  – don’t forget to factor into your price the hours you’ll spend thinking up the questions.

The best pub quizzes include questions of varying difficulty and areas, have half-decent prizes, and may include experiential rounds, too.

6. Upcycle furniture

Keep your eyes peeled for discarded and unwanted furniture near bins and on Gumtree and Freecycle.

If you have an eye for design, look at ways to upcycle and give a table or chair a new lease of life with sandpaper and a fresh coat of paint or wax.

Fortunately, the “distressed” look is so five years ago, which is just as well because making furniture look shabby chic takes far longer than it should.

7. Digital design

Can you knock up a logo in an hour, do you do skateboard art or design T-shirts? Could you make a beautiful business card? Are you a hobbyist illustrator?

Sign yourself up to sites like Fiverr and turn your digital design and art skills into cash. Create a profile and set your rate.

Freelancer sites work on feedback, so the more work you do, and the more positive reviews you accrue, the more work you’re likely to secure.

8. Odd jobs

As children, many of us topped up our pocket money by helping the neighbours – washing cars or sweeping leaves. If you’re not brave enough to go door knocking, try TaskRabbit.

You can offer specific services at an hourly rate – such as running errands or waiting in line for a restaurant table or new product launch – and if you have experience in gardening, cleaning, packing for home moves, or assembling flat pack furniture, these are all in-demand services listed on the site.

9. Write reviews

There are dozens of sites that offer you the chance to make money or vouchers from the sofa, by writing product reviews, watching videos and filling in online surveys.

Swagbucks and InboxDollars are two of the bigger US-based ones, while Ciao is UK-based alternative.

Earn cash while flexing your critical analysis and writing skills.

10. Sell your rubbish

The most remarkable things sell on eBay and Gumtree, including wine corks, milk bottle tops, empty jam jars and cardboard toilet roll tubes – all coveted by arts and crafts fans – as well as empty perfume bottles and designer gift boxes.

Big student households produce plenty of waste for the sorting so it could be worthwhile.

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Sophie Phillipson is the founder of HelloGrads.com. The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of BT.