When one paycheck isn't enough to pay the bills, it might be worth thinking about a second job. The right job will not only bring in some extra money, but can also bolster your resume and even provide a means to transition to a new career. Here are some questions to ask and tips to consider as you start your search for a second job.
Job Searches Will Vary
What's the best way to find a second job? It depends on the type of job you're looking for—part-time, freelance, gig, etc.—where you want to work, and how you want to supplement your income.
For some jobs, you can apply online—and work online, as well. For others, when you will be working in a physical location, you may be able to apply online, or you may need to apply in-person or use your contacts to help you find the right employer. With the latter type of job, looking for something as close to home or your first workplace as possible is a good idea. That will make it easier to juggle two jobs.
You’ll need a certain amount of flexibility, both from your primary employer and from your second job.
5 Questions to Ask Before Getting a Second Job
To be worth your while, working a second job should provide tangible benefits without jeopardizing your main source of income. Here's what to consider before you make the decision to start looking.
Does Your Primary Job Allow Moonlighting?
If you haven’t looked at your employee handbook for a while, you might be surprised to learn that your employer has a policy against taking outside work. For example, your company might prohibit work that interferes with your job duties or your schedule, or that exposes proprietary information.
Do You Have the Time?
Before you even start looking for part-time work, make an honest and accurate accounting of how you spend your time right now.
Keep a journal for a week or so, writing down everything you spend time doing each day. Include work hours, time spent cooking, cleaning, and doing household chores, plus time spent on leisure and exercise. Then ask yourself if you can afford to give any of that up.
If you find that you're spending five hours a day catching up on your Netflix, the answer might be yes; if getting a second job would mean forgoing extra assignments that keep you in the boss's good graces, or letting your gym membership lapse, the answer might be no.
Is It Enough Money to Be Worth Your While?
The taxes you pay at your full-time job are largely invisible because the government takes its bite before you see a dime. Some part-time jobs will be the same way—the employer will deduct state, federal, and any local taxes, plus social security, etc., before you get your check. But even in that case, you could wind up making a lot less than you'd planned. If you only have a few hours a week to work and your after-taxes paycheck doesn't amount to much, you could be better off clipping coupons or cutting expenses.
If you work as a contractor, you'll be responsible for your own taxes. Depending on your situation, you might decide either to adjust your withholdings at your primary job or pay quarterly estimated taxes.
Will Getting a Second Job Offer More Than Money?
Even if you don't stand to make a ton of cash from a part-time job, there are still reasons to do it anyway. A low-paying part-time job might be worth the investment if:
- You'll gain skills or experience that will make you more employable or help you move into a new role or industry.
- You'll make contacts that could lead to professional opportunities down the line.
- You'll have a chance to "try out" a new role before making a total career change.
- Your present job doesn't fulfill a major need in your life, e.g., a chance to give back to your community or travel more or engage in a hobby that doesn't presently pay all your bills.
Should You Get a Second Job or Start Your Own Business?
Keep in mind that starting a small business or taking on some part-time gigs or side jobs may be options. You could be your own future employer if you have the skills to become self-employed.
7 Tips for Finding a Second Job
Here are tips for finding a second job, including information on the types of jobs that make good second jobs, where to job search, options for starting a small business, and more ways to earn extra money.
Review the Best Second Jobs
Start With a Job Search Engine
You can use job search engines to find a second job. Search by using keywords like "online," "work from home," "telecommute," "part-time," "evening," "weekend," "freelance," and so on. You don't need to add a location when searching for online jobs—but add your city or town when searching for jobs where you will work on-site.
Find an Online Job
Find a Part-Time Job
Some people can juggle two full-time jobs, but it's tough. Working part-time at job No. 2 is a better option. Learn the best sites to use to search for job listings, tips for how to find and apply for a part-time job, resumes, and letters, and job search tips for part-time job seekers.
Find a Second Job In-Person
Looking for a part-time job in the service industry? Visiting employers like restaurants, hotels, resorts, and stores can be a good way to find a second job in those sectors. Introduce yourself to the manager and inquire about jobs. A polished appearance and an upbeat personality will be essential. Try to visit at non-peak times.
Use Your Contacts
Network through friends, family, neighbors, and other contacts, asking if they or anyone they know is hiring. This technique will be particularly appropriate for small organizations, which prefer to hire staff who come highly recommended.
Find a Freelance Job
Find freelance work using the same networking strategies, search online, or sign up for one of the many apps that pair contingent workers with temporary gigs. Many will allow you to work as much or as little as you choose and select your availability depending on your changing schedule.