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A head shot of Srijani Datta

Srijani Datta

Graduate Student
Arts + Social Sciences › Political Science
OLC Writer

a person drinking coffee holding a pen and a notebook by her laptop

So you have decided to kick things up a notch and look for a job that feeds your brain, heart and belly. Good for you! You know what you want. But while the decision to look for a job might come easily, getting a job that you really want might not. Looking for that perfect job can often be an arduous and protracted process. After all, it is called a ‘job hunt’ (emphasis on the hunt) for a reason. So how do you financially survive during those long weeks or months (sometimes even years) while you are trying to get to the job of your dreams?  To help you find your path through that dark tunnel, here is a list of options that I have tried, tested, and found to be pretty useful:

Sell your old books

There are some course books that you might want to hold on to for the rest of your lives, but the rest are of not much use once you are done with a class. Since brand new books can often be very expensive, there are always students or interested readers who look for used books. This gives you an ever-present market for your used books. Amazon buys back used books for a reduced price (depending on the condition of the book). A bonus of selling old books is that it helps you clear clutter along with earning you some quick cash. Just remember to treat your books with some care, if you plan to sell it in the future.


If you are in university or about to graduate from one, chances are by now you have mastered at least one skill that someone else wants help with. You can be great with a subject, academic skill, sport, musical talent, or something else. If there is something you are good at, try to monetize it.  You could post ads around campus, on social media, and ask your friends to pass the word. Furthermore, indulging in a hobby or something you are good at in a professional manner, will serve as a healthy distraction from the stress of a prolonged job-hunt.


When looking for full-time work, temping is something you mentally filter out. However, temping does help you earn some quick cash and show something on your CV when the job-search takes more than a month or two. Just remember that it is temporary, and do not give up looking for something better. Some helpful temp job portals include, and


A related option to temping is interning. Interning does not pay well usually if it pays at all. But sometimes it can help you get closer to the job you are looking for and pay you a little something on the side while you do it. Nonetheless, just like with temping, here too keep your eyes on the prize and always remember that it is temporary.

Consider Grad school 

Sometimes a prolonged job-search might indicate that the competition is tough. Really tough. It also might mean you need to advance your skills and knowledge a bit further. In such cases, Grad school can help you go that extra mile. Enrolling into an MA or Ph.D. can also provide you with more clarity about your career choices. As Tolkien wrote "Not all those who wander are lost", a Grad course can help you wander among different options that are suitable for you till you find the best one. But how can this help you financially, you ask? Well, Grad programs usually have funding associated with them through scholarships, private awards, Teaching Assistant (TA), and Research Assistant (RA) positions. If you manage to get accepted into a graduate program, my experiences say that you will probably find funding in one form or another.

About the Author

A head shot of Srijani Datta

Srijani Datta

Graduate Student
Arts + Social Sciences › Political Science
OLC Writer
Srijani previously worked as an Editor at SFU-OLC until she successfully completed and defended her thesis in the fall of 2019. She is currently working full-time and awaiting graduation.
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