It’s necessary to devote some of your free time in college to advancing your career, but not all students can handle the financial concerns that come with unpaid internships. Turns out, there are lucrative jobs hiding on your own college campus that provide beneficial career experience. Think beyond the go-to campus tour guide gig and work to create a job that you can tailor to your specific career goals. We asked the experts for a few ideas so you can heighten your skills while making a little cash.
Plan events for your school’s alumni association.
“A position as a student-alumni liaison will help you down the road,” says Nicole Lapin, the founder of Recessionista.com. “You can use your organizational and creative skills to organize events and panels for visiting alums. The position will also require a fair amount of cold calling [calling someone who does not expect it], which might seem daunting, but it’s a critical skill to have in pretty much any job, from journalism to PR to marketing. Plus, you’ll have the ‘in’ with your school’s extensive alumni network—never a bad thing for the job hunt to come.”
Tutor students and foreigners.
“In college, I taught Microsoft Office and Photoshop to people who spoke English as a second language,” says Shara Senderoff, the CEO of Intern Sushi. “Not only did it drastically improve my knowledge of the software, but taught me valuable communication and management skills. While this didn’t directly affect my career trajectory, it taught me articulation and presentation, which are skills I can use every day.”
Tweet for your college.
“Get paid to be a Twitter brand ambassador for your school while boosting your social media savviness,” says Lapin. “Most universities have a Twitter account nowadays, not to mention separate accounts by department and sports clubs. They constantly need to be updated to keep current and prospective students as well as huge alumni networks abreast of what’s going on. Bonus? Networking! You never know who might send you a direct message with future job prospects.”
Photoshop images for a school publication.
“If you painstakingly retouch your photos before posting them to Facebook, this one is for you,” says Lapin. “Offer your services to the student newspaper or college‘s alumni magazine and make some cash by editing their photos, or making infographics. This is an important skill to have for students interested in media, graphic design, and fashion.”
Assist a professor.
“See if you can boost your academic credibility,” says Alexa Von Tobel, the founder of LearnVest, a financial website that aims to empower women. “For example, work in the psychology lab or with a professor to publish material. Lean towards what your academic goals are, and see if you can get a job within that goal.”
Help manage your university’s sports team.
“If you’re interested in sports medicine or athletic management, a visit to the athletic director’s office might land you a lucrative job as a sports team manager or trainer’s assistant,” says Lapin. “You’ll typically be given free passes to all athletic events to cheer on your team, and in some cases, you’ll even get to travel with the team. If sideline action isn’t for you, apply for a job working the check-in desk at the athletic center. This looks great for sports management positions and will demonstrate your organization and people skills.”
Produce a school play.
“Have a penchant for painting or woodworking?” asks Lapin. “Apply for a job to build sets and furnish props for your school’s theater programs. These jobs demonstrate excellent time management as well as the ability to work as a team. Take photos of your projects at various stages, and then compile a portfolio of your work. This will come in handy if you decide to apply to any fine arts programs or positions down the road.”
Become a brand ambassador.
“Many brands offer paid ambassador programs to help generate awareness for their products,” says Senderoff. “When you apply for full-time jobs, it will be impressive to share that you’ve done social media and marketing work for established companies. Businesses may offer you a few dollars per user you recruit to sign up for a website. It’s also a great way to get an insider look into a company’s marketing strategy.”
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