How (and Why) to Find a Second Job

July is make more money month at Women's Money Week. The first post in the series, Decide How You'll Make More Money, is a must read before this post. The second post in the series was about making more money at work. And last week's post was about How to Make Money on the Side

About This Week's Action

This week’s post is about how to get a second job. A second job is a much better option than freelancing for many people because you earn a regular amount of money without having to put forth a lot of extra stress. (Yes, there is a lot of time required with a second job, but because of the stability of work it’s not as stressful as freelancing.)

Why Make More Money on the Side

Stability A second job is a great way to increase your income without taking any risk. You get a regular paycheck depending on how much you work. This is much more stable than freelance work which requires finding a client, selling them on a project, doing the project, getting paid, and then having to find a new client to do work for.

Fast Cash When I wrote about earning more money with side projects, I noted that it often takes a good amount of time before you start actually earning anything. But, if you get a second job, you’ll start earning from the moment you start your shift. This makes for relatively fast cash.

No Self-Starting Required Freelancing isn’t for everyone. It requires dedication, ingenuity, and patience. You have to be a self-starter to be a successful freelancer. But, once you have a second job, all you have to do is show up, do what you’re told to do, and go home. Working a second job is by no means easy - at one point I was working three jobs and got mono because my immune system was shot from working too much - but overall it’s less frustrating than freelancing.

Great Discounts I know several people who take second jobs not just for the extra cash, but for the great discounts they get by working at a particular place. If you like clothes then work at a clothing store to get up to a 60% discount on monthly clothing purchases. Shoes your thing? Try a shoe store. If you like to travel then perhaps an airport or luggage store is the best for you. Or if you spend a lot on groceries or at Target each month the discounts at those types of stores will be a great extra perk in addition to the hourly wage.

How Long Does This Action Take?

If you're lucky you'll be able to score a second job with a long weekend of job searching. But, 1) the economy is improving and 2) given that you already have one job it will be easier to get a second job, so even if you don't get lucky, by following the steps I've outlined below you should be able to find a second job within 6 weeks.

How to Find a Second Job

1. Ask Yourself This

What type of job do you want to do? Are you willing to do anything? Or do you want to work with a certain skill set? Work with people or by yourself?

While you may be most qualified to find a second job that overlaps with the skills you work at your regular job, I recommend finding a completely different job to do. If you work with people all day in a noisy environment, look for a second job sorting books at a library or stocking shelves at the grocery store. Likewise, if you work by yourself all day on the computer in an office, find a job doing landscaping (outside) or waiting tables. You’ll appreciate being able to work in a different environment. What hours do you want to work? If you have a 9-5 day job you’re not likely going to be able to get a job at a store that’s only open during the weekdays. Consider whether you want to work another shift after you’ve already worked a full day. Or, perhaps you’d rather deliver papers first thing in the morning, or only work on the weekends.

2. Brainstorm and Make a List

Next, brainstorm a list of 1) all of the jobs you would want and/or 2) all of the places you would want this job (if you know.) You may also want to make a list of all of the places you frequently shop or hang out -- if you're looking for the added benefit of the store discount. Use the answers to the questions in step 1 to help guide your list making.

3. Go There and Make Your Pitch

The best way to get a second job is to go to show up at the place you want to work. Dress appropriately. Bring a 1 page resume.

When you arrive put on your best smile and ask to speak with a manager. Ideally, you'll ahead and find out the manager's name and working hours. That way, when you arrive at the location you can just ask "Can I speak with Dave?" You'll sound much more competent than if you ask to speak with "the manager." If the manager isn't there or isn't available, leave your card (from your day job is fine) and find out when a better time to stop by is.

When you get a chance to speak with the manager introduce yourself. Say, "Hi, I'm Joe and I'm a frequent customer here. I currently work at [insert name of well known company or nonprofit OR your profession; e.g., 'during the day I'm a software engineer']. But I really love [name of store] and when I come in here after work/on weekends I've noticed that you guys are super busy. (If applicable) I used to work as a [name of position, e.g. bartender] and am currently interested in a second job. Would you be interested in having some extra help on the weekends / at night? I could start as early as tomorrow/this weekend.

To sum up, here's a full example. Say you want to bar tend at your local bar. Find out when the manager is on duty and go during a non peak time. Say this when you meet the manager.

Hi Dave, I'm Joe. You probably have seen me here every once in awhile as I live in the neighborhood and love this place. I work at IBM as a software engineer during the day, but when I come in here on Friday and Saturday nights I've noticed that you are swamped. I worked as a bartender for 4 years during college and really enjoyed the interaction with customers. I'd love to start doing that again. Would you be interested in having another bartender behind the counter on the weekends?

Notice how you don't just ask "Are you hiring?" While a ton of smaller shops are hiring, you'll likely just get asked to fill out an application. Instead, speaking with the manager gives you a chance to show your interest and give a 30 second introduction. Plus, if the place you're looking to work really is busy during those hours (check it out before hand so you're not making something up), it's hard for a manager to say they can't use help from an experienced person.

Don't waste your time applying for posted job openings. Instead, tell your friends and family that you're looking for a second job with the specifics of what you have in mind, and ask them for suggestions. Then, repeat the script above at those places.

[Note, if the place you're looking for a job doesn't have a physical location, call the manager on the phone and use a similar script that's modified for that type of work.]

Commit

Each week's post normally includes a commit section that includes a way to be held accountable for your actions, but with the amount of time this action takes, we've removed the accountability since it will be difficult to find a job in the next week.

Instead, answer this question in the comments, "What second jobs have you previously held? Are you considering getting one again?"

This post was included in the carnival of personal finance.