Are you considering taking on an on-campus job this semester? You may be supporting yourself through college or simply want some extra spending money, but whatever the reason, an on-campus job can go a long way.
Whether you are a new student or an upperclassman, if you’re looking for an on-campus job you should begin looking before starting classes in the fall. Departments are eager to hire for openings, and spots will fill up quickly in September, so it’s best to jump on the bandwagon early.
Almost every academic and supporting office at your institution depends on students to help their department run smoothly. Student positions can be as simple as monitoring the computer lab or as complex as working in admissions facilitating college tours for incoming students.
Don’t think you need an on-campus job? It may not hurt to take on a few hours a week just to get some experience. Believe it or not, employers and graduate schools value on-campus employment because it aids in developing your communication, customer service skills and general administrative experiences.
On-campus jobs offer an array of shifts; it’s not just a 9 to 5 window to squeeze everything in. And you sure can’t beat the commute, especially if you’re living on campus! Some positions provide compensation for room and board, tuition benefits or just a regular ol’ paycheck.
If you’re concerned about the commitment, don’t be. For many positions, you’ll be able to pick up as few as five hours per week or as many as 20. Worried about balancing it around your class schedule? Your academics are important to everyone at the institution and your supervisor will understand when coursework gets tough. Be upfront about the amount of hours you are expecting and inquire about the practicality of getting homework done on the job.
Many students find the benefits of their on-campus jobs to be more than just financial. Who knows, you could land a position in your academic department that helps you build connections with faculty or you may end up discovering your niche and a new group of friends. This could come in handy later when you need a little advice or when you’re looking to apply for jobs post-graduation.
One of the first questions you’ll be asked is whether you’ll be applying to a position as a Federal Work-Study student or as a payroll student. If you don’t already know the answer, check with your financial aid office to figure out if you qualify for the Federal Work Study program.
If you do qualify for Federal Work Study you’ll be eligible for a number of jobs on campus. If not, you’ll need to work a wee bit harder to find a student payroll position that suits your needs and interests. But don’t worry — there is something out there for you, too.
The distinction between these two types of positions is important to your institution because the money to pay students comes from two separate budgets. The Federal Work Study budget is given to the institution from the federal government to employ students and the payroll budget comes directly from the college.
For this reason, there are typically a greater percentage of work-study jobs available but most offices have a few student payroll positions tucked away for eligible candidates. Like I said before, start early. I’m not kidding. You’ll be on campus before you know it so what are you waiting for already?
Once you know what type of position you are applying for reach out to your institution’s student employment office. At some schools, the student employment office is linked with human resources, so look there if you can’t find them. The student employment office keeps a running record of open positions and this information is often readily available on your college’s website.
Reach out to any contacts within admissions, your orientation leader, your resident assistant or a student you know at the college. All these people have the inside scoop on which job pays the most and which department is the most fun to work for.
When you find a position that interests you, reach out to the contact person or the department through email. If you’re in the area, pop in and get some face time. Don’t forget that you are applying for a job, so grammar counts. If you’re hired, you’ll be representing a department and your institution so make sure you communicate and present yourself appropriately.
Some more competitive positions may have an application process or require a cover letter and resume. If this is the case, stop by your college’s career services office to get help putting together a resume and cover letter. Let them know the position you are applying for and the requirements for the position. You may not feel like you have many skills to add to a resume, but career services will help you pull out some transferrable skills from any previous employment and from your involvement on clubs or sports teams.
Once you land the job, remember to stay balanced with academics, work commitments and social engagements. If things get overwhelming trying to juggle it all, take a step back and reevaluate your commitments. Your supervisor will be understanding and support you in your decision. In any case, it’s always better to be upfront and communicate your concerns before you overbook and end up having to skip a shift.
Best of luck with your on-campus job search and remember to have fun and find a position that is a good fit for you and your employer!
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