Work-study, part time, internships…which job is the right job? Follow these five guidelines in order to become one step closer to securing the right job for you on campus.
1. Determine the Type of Job You Want or Need
The first thing I recommend doing when searching for an on-campus job is determining your financial aid package. Sometimes you have qualified for a work-study job that can be in any department at your university. Normally there is a deadline early in the fall term that you must be hired by, or you will lose that part of your package. If you do not qualify for work-study, this means you are ineligible to be hired by a department that is work-study only. In this case you need to be looking for part-time jobs on campus that are not designated as such. If you are interested in a fall semester internship, these must usually be applied for the summer prior, so be sure you have those deadlines straight.
2. Search and Network
Find out if your school has an online or print database that lists all of the jobs available, and job types at that. Normally in such an online database you can narrow down your results to only the type of job you are looking for, and enter a keyword that represents what type of work you wish to do. Also attend job fairs on campus. Usually there will be a work-study fair early in the fall semester, and sometimes part-time positions will be advertised there as well.
3. Narrow It Down
Do you want to work in a department related to your major? Have you lifeguarded in the past and wish to work at the rec center? These are all important things to consider when deciding what jobs to apply for. Many work-study positions require their students to perform a lot of administrative tasks—other positions give you plenty of time to do your own homework. Keep that in mind as well. Do you want to sit at the front desk at the rec center, swiping people in and doing homework simultaneously, or do you want office experience?
4. Apply, Apply, Apply
Send out as many applications as you see fit. Bring your resume to those job fairs, and be prepared to answer any questions that are directed toward you. Dress appropriately when attending such fairs, or whenever you anticipate you will be interacting with a potential employer. Go to as many interviews as you are able, get to know the atmosphere surrounding the position, and don’t accept an offer unless you’re absolutely sure it’s what you want and can handle.
5. Accept the Job and Stay
Many people switch on-campus jobs frequently throughout their four years at school, and they have good reason. I recommend, however, whenever possible, that you stay with your position as long as you can. This builds up a great reference pool for when you apply for full-time jobs, having known your on-campus employer for multiple years. I have kept the same work-study job since my freshmen year, and will be continuing with it into my senior semesters. But at the same time, it is always understandable if you have a valid reason for wanting to leave (poor work environment, something more suited to you is offered the next year, etc.).
Following these five steps is a great way to find the right job for you and keep it for as long as you need. As always, start early and be prepared to sell yourself to those on-campus employers. After all, it’s students like you that they’re looking for. Best of luck!