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The Best On Campus Jobs: How to Find One for You

Feeling a little strapped for cash these days? Or maybe your class schedule isn’t as stressful as you were anticipating, and you’d like something new to add to your resume?
An on-campus job may be the solution to your problems! Working on campus can be convenient, and because your employer is your university or college, they understand your restraints and offer part-time positions that work with your class schedule.
“I would 100% recommend that students get involved in their school by getting an on campus job!” says Chrissy Callahan, a student at Brandeis Univeristy who is also employed there.  “It’s a great way to make contacts, get experience, and earn a little extra money. There’s something for anyone, whatever your interests are, and you just have to seek it out.”

So how do you find the right job for you? As a student employee at James Madison University myself, I have talked to students who hold a variety of jobs on their campuses. Some tips for finding a job on your campus are to:

  • Look for ads in your school newspaper.
  • Contact a student services office on campus, or your advisor.
  • Talk to professors or your peers about what jobs they know about.

Not sure what type of job you’d like? We talked to students about why they chose their jobs and how these jobs can play a role in their future careers. Finding a job that feels personalized to you can seem impossible, but it may be easier than you think.
If you’re interested in: Journalism or publishing
Job #1: Website Manager—Use a content management system to edit already existing web pages and create entire sub websites. It’s perfect preparation for working at an online pub (like HC)!
“I work on campus at Brandeis in the Department of Creative Services, a part of the Office of Communications. It’s been a great experience and has really given me essential skills working in content management systems–something which will help me as a journalist! Also, I’ve made great contacts through my work on campus and have had the chance to get involved with several areas of the department, learning a bit of everything from video to web and photo skills.” – Chrissy Callahan, Brandeis University
Job #2: Publications Coordinator—Edit and write a program detailing your school’s events and many resources. It’s a great look into how publications are made. It requires creative skills for designing graphics and advertisements.
“I’m a junior journalism major at Hofstra University with a minor in graphic arts. My summer job at school is a Welcome Week Coordinator of Publications, Technology, and Business which directly and relates to my major. I had to fill out an application which included 2 professional references, my resume, and my transcript. I then had an interview and had to pick up a letter of my acceptance a few weeks after.”- Gennifer Delman, Hofstra University
If you’re interested in: Computers and Technology
Job #1: Computer Helpdesk Employee—Work at a helpdesk on the frontline, troubleshooting over the phones and taking in computers to be transferred to a different department.
“My major is computer science and this job will help me because it is in my field of study, and the best place to learn things is on the job. I learn new things every day, so when that problem arises later, I already know the answer. I work about 10-15 hours a week depending on the time of year. The first 2 weeks and the last 2 weeks of each semester is the busiest.” – Matt Serone, James Madison University

If you’re interested in: Communications 
Job #1: Tour Guide—This job requires excellent social skills and the ability to memorize facts and tidbits about your school. Plus, it’s a fun way to show off your school spirit!
“I’m currently a tour guide on my campus, which I think is an awesome job because I basically get paid to brag about my school! I walk students around my campus, so I have to know about the history of my school and the special features of my campus too.”- Jessica Schwartz, University of Texas
Job #2: Library Student Employee—You make sure everything runs smoothly, help to keep the bookshelves organized and neat, help students find material/books, rent books and laptops out and also keep hourly counts as to how many people are in the library and how many computers are being used.
“I work at ECL (JMU library). It’s a pretty basic job…and if it’s not too busy we have the chance to work on schoolwork and study. It’s helpful for a lot of students because we have the chance to get to know the library and how to find books we are going to need in the future.” – Brittney Rich, James Madison University
Job #3: Resident Safety Representatives (RSR)—As an RSR, you would play an important role in upholding the safety of the residence halls.  RSRs take pride in their jobs, knowing that they help make the campus a safer place.
“During the semester I am a Team Leader for my school’s Resident Safety department. I was promoted from a basic resident safety representative, which I got simply by walking in and filling out the appropriate paperwork.  There, I strengthen my organizational and basic office skills by filing, speaking to students on the phone, and training new employees. It’s a great look into how the office structure works so you’re not surprised when you get your first real job out of school.”-Gennifer Delman, Hofstra University
Job #4: Alumni Services—Make phone calls to alumni and friends of the college. You would be in charge of giving them information about current campus news, updating their information, and asking if they would be able to make a contribution to your campus fund.
“I work for Phonathon. Our job is not to ask for a large amount of money. We ask for any amount they can give. Our goal is to make money for the Roanoke Fund, which gives money to scholarships, financial aid, and things on campus such as technology updates, library books and databases. Also, an active alumni base gives our college a greater chance of receiving large donations from companies, grant donors, etc. It fits my personality because I am a very extroverted person and enjoy talking and working with others.” – Julie Brown, Roanoke College
If you’re interested in: Education
Job #1: Resident Assistant—RAs are dynamic leaders on a floor of residents who create positive communities and coordinate fun and educational events to enhance the on-campus living experience.
“My plan is in education, and I figured the leadership skills I would learn as an RA [resident assistant] would help me, plus the pay was better than some other places. – Nicki Underwood, James Madison University
Job #2: Research assistant—Essentially you would research a topic picked by an overseeing professor. This can be an individual or group job. The goal is to help the professor generate tangible proof to earn more grant money for their future research.
“I just got a new job on campus a research assistant. I will work 5-10 hours a week. I wanted to further my education and prepare myself for graduate school by creating a stronger application through research. This particular study also appeals to my interests in cognitive psychology and sustainable living. I will be able to work on campus and it is a good professional experience.”- Jackie Belhumeur, James Madison University
Job #3: Teaching Assistant—You would be an individual who assists a professor or teacher with instructional responsibilities, such as leading discussion sections or grading assignments
“I’m working next semester as a TA for a Psych class, which is a paid position and involves grading papers, teaching recitation sections, and having office hours.”- Scott Rosenfeld, Carnegie Mellon

If you’re interested in: Writing and Editing
Job #1: Peer Writing Tutor—Work with peers on their written assignments and aid them in improving their writing skills.
“I took a position as a writing tutor on campus. My love for teaching came out as well as a quick advance in my writing skills, and the best part of the job was that it was flexible.” – Nicki Underwood, James Madison University
Job #2: Newspaper writer/ editor—As a newspaper writer/editor you could write articles, columns, or manage other writers. Not all newspapers are paid, however, so check to see if your school pays its writers. If they don’t, see if they hire someone to handle administrative tasks.
“I work for The Breeze (JMU’s school paper) about 20 hours a week. Of course there’s a lot of time spent outside of the office talking with writers, writing our own columns, meeting with the editorial board, and having budget meetings twice a week. It’s a lot of commitment, but the product is very satisfying. I became an editor to gain more experience in my journalism field, which I think turned out to be very helpful and people seem to be impressed or at least pretend to be anyways.” – Jordan Garegnani, James Madison University
If you’re interested in: Hospitality
Job #1: Dining Services Employee—Interact and serve your fellow students by working in a dining hall on campus.
“As a freshman it can be intimidating getting involved in a lot of activities so working in the dining hall helped me meet people whom I’m still friends with. JMU advertised this job well so I was aware of the opportunity over other on campus positions.”-Jackie Belhumeur, James Madison University
Job #2: Fitness Instructor—Lead your own group fitness class by becoming an instructor at your college’s gym. This requires an interest in fitness and health. You can choose what classes you would like to be certified in to teach.
“UREC (JMU gym) is more of a personal passion that I found out could be a mini career for me. I started out just really enjoying taking yoga classes. I know I will always either teach or take yoga, so it made sense that I might as well get paid to do yoga in school. I work about 10-12 hours a week. It turned into so much more than that though.” – Jordan Garegnani, James Madison University
Once you think about it, there are student employees in offices all over campus. Besides the ones mentioned above, there are lots of other cool jobs on campus, such as:

  • Student sports reporter
  • Filming sports games
  • Setting up/taking down scenes for on campus events
  • Communications/speech tutor
  • Referee for club/intramural games

Browse your school’s campus employment website or contact the student employment office to get a jump-start on finding a job that fits you! Another option is to contact your academic advisor who could put you in contact with the right office on your campus. Happy job hunting!
Gennifer Delman, Hofstra University
Brittney Rich, James Madison University
Jessica Schwartz, University of Texas
Matt Serone, James Madison University
Chrissy Callahan, Brandeis University
Scott Rosenfeld, Carnegie Mellon
Jackie Belhumeur, James Madison University
Jordan Garegnani, James Madison University
Nicki Underwood, James Madison University
Office of Residence Life JMU 
Shea Tussing, Student Employment Manager at the Student Work Experience Center at James Madison University
Kristin Williams, James Madison University Alumni
GoCollege.com, “Get a Job On Campus”

Katie Crandell is a junior at James Madison University pursuing a major in English and a minor in Writing and Rhetoric. She currently serves as a First Year Involvement peer writing tutor and as a student member of the Rhetoric Society of America. At JMU, she contributes to two campus publications: Potty Mouth and The Spotlight. After interning at DigitalMailer, Inc. for the past two summers, Katie has discovered she wants to be a technical writer and editor when she grows up. Before entering the “real world,” however, Katie enjoys spending her time consuming mass amounts of Starbucks, hanging out with her greyhound, and taking yogalates classes.
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