Off -campus jobs in Berkeley

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People are making their way back to our beautiful city of Berkeley for another great year at school, but there’s just one problem — the broke college student stereotype is all too real. How will we buy sunscreen to hide from the bright sun rays? With what money will we pay for overpriced readers and tuition? With summer ending and a rush of students coming back to school, part-time jobs in the Berkeley area are taken faster than you can say, “Help me, I’m poor.” To make things easier on our beloved job hunters, we at the Clog put together a short guide detailing the different kinds of off-campus jobs you can find around Berkeley, along with interviews from students who have experienced these occupations firsthand. We even included a list of places that are currently hiring!

We’ve broken off-campus jobs down into three main categories: food services, clothing/retail and specialty shops. There are also a lot of jobs you can get that are directly affiliated with UC Berkeley, and information on all of these great ways to bring in the bucks while servicing your school can be found here.

Food services

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Who doesn’t love food? From boba shops to sit-down restaurants, the food scene in Berkeley is plentiful and diverse. Getting a job in this business won’t hurt.

According to Sydney Duimovich, an employee at Noah’s Bagels — which is located on the corner of Telegraph and Durant avenues — the most important things when working in a food store are good communication skills and positivity.

“A person who loves to socialize is perfect for food service,”  Duimovich said. “You need to be able to communicate well to keep customers happy.”

Food-related stores known to be currently hiring include Montague’s Gourmet Sandwiches on Channing Way, ShareTea on Bancroft Way by the Recreational Sports Facility and Yogurtland on Bancroft Way.

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Clothing/retail

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In the past few months, two new clothing stores have opened in the immediate campus area: Francesca’s and 2Bella Boutique. These new additions, along with Berkeley’s classic thrift store scene and our mainstream stores such as Urban Outfitters and American Apparel, make for tons of opportunities in retail.

Anthony Juarez, a campus graduate student in public policy, has worked at Etnies, Quicksilver, Zumiez and Staples. Hannah Singh, a campus freshman, held a job at Prairie Home and Apparel near San Carlos.

When asked what the most important skill needed to work retail, both Singh and Juarez agreed that an ability to tune out demanding, aggressive or generally crazy customers is necessary. According to Juarez, highly valued characteristics in retail were “patience and the ability to put a smile on your face despite thinking the customer is totally ignorant.”

Singh added that you must be “personable and able to take absurd demands without reacting.”

She also warned that one of the hardest things can be “dealing with people who try to steal and having to check people’s bags if you suspect they took something … It’s especially awkward if they didn’t take anything.” Both said that work can also sometimes be slow in retail, which can lead to having generally extremely boring shifts in which you have to find some way to preoccupy yourself without slacking off or your hours being cut. Juarez said one of his bosses once told him, “If you have time to lean, you have time to clean.”

Overall, being personable seems most important in retail, along with an ability to handle ridiculous situations. Students who are calm and friendly would most likely excel at retail. Singh also mentioned customers often would try to extensively talk to her about their lives.

“I didn’t expect to be half therapist, half salesperson,” Singh said.

Places that are currently hiring include Sway and Bancroft Clothing.

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Specialty stores

Berkeley has a ton of music stores such as Rasputin, odd little used book stores and random shops like Avant Card. If you’re looking for something a little more off the beat and less generic, applying to a specialty shop might be a great idea.

Taylor Seebold, a campus freshman, worked at a craft store called Once Around, located in the Bay Area, this summer. Like our interviewees who worked in retail, Seebold felt that “the most important skill in working in a specialty store is learning how to deal with people … All in all, you have to be sociable or at least know how to react to anyone who walks in.”

She added that one of the hardest parts of working at the crafts store was knowing all kinds of obscure things that you wouldn’t use anywhere else.

“What’s a darning needle? How does one use Mod Podge? Do you have a stamp with a cat on it?” Seebold said. “Nobody should work in a specialty store if they are not interested in anything it sells … Once Around hires art majors, knitting enthusiasts and watercolor experts.”

Though specialty stores can certainly be more fun and a unique experience, according to Seebold, you have to be excellent at standard retail skills, as well as genuinely interested and knowledgeable about the products you’re selling.

Any Mountain, an outdoor specialty store on Shattuck Avenue, is currently hiring.

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Contact Claralyse Palmer at [email protected].