The Traditional Job
When a young person hears “get a real job” the underlying encouragement is to go out and get steady, regularly scheduled, “W-2” employment. College towns boom with such arrangements, particularly in the services and trades sectors of the job market. Finding such work is as easy as picking up the local newspaper, a job-specific classifieds newsletter, or searching out Craigslist and employment websites.
As a student you can tend to expect part-time hours of varying degrees and entry-level pay unless you bring to the market some sort of specialization or skill that may enhance your income a bit. If you don’t find any time and effort jobs of these sorts to your liking, keep in mind those employers who may want a certain job done each day or each week and can be convinced to let you do it for a flat fee. This would work in your favor on two fronts: 1) you can expect a pay raise of sorts if you figure out how to do the job in less time and/or with less personal effort and 2) you may gain the ability to flex your hours, so long as you get the job done within certain timeframes.
If you can’t stomach the downside of a results-oriented pay scheme but want more than what a time and effort job provides, consider seeking one of the many hybrid-type jobs available. Examples of these include waitressing wherein you are paid a smaller base pay but get to also make tips, temp-agency work wherein you make a certain minimum for each project but may make more if the job goes long, and sales jobs of all types which often offer a base salary plus the opportunity for commissions on each unit sold.