Getting a job on campus is like winning the job market lotto as a college student, especially if you live on campus. In my experience, there are never enough of these jobs, and competition is high among students for each position. I was lucky enough to get the second job I interviewed for in the fall of my freshman year and even better, I work in Human Resources, which handles all new hires for the entire university. My experience in HR has taught me some tips to help you get the on-campus job you want.
1. Keep Your Eyes Peeled and Options Open
Most campuses have a specific place where job openings are posted with a job description and a way to apply for the position. You’ll notice in the beginning of semesters, there will be significantly more jobs posted and it’s often best to start looking regularly around this time. Although this is a popular time for students to look for jobs, don’t be discouraged. If you don’t get selected for an interview, or if you don’t get hired right away, keep your eyes and ears open and continue to check the postings until you find what you need.
2. Update your Resume
College is the time to be building your resume, so finding applicable experience to put on your current resume is a challenge for many students, especially when you feel like you can’t get hired because you don’t have experience. Include anything you can, such as babysitting the neighbor or that honors society you were a part of in high school. Check with your school’s career center for one on one help updating your resume.
3. Federal Work Study (FWS)
Federal Work Study is a program that offers a way for students to work on campus as part of their financial aid award. These awards are determined by FAFSA. Many departments on your campus will prefer to hire FWS students since they are paid through federal aid instead of the department’s budget. Not everyone is eligible, but if you are, I highly recommend utilizing it.
4. Dress for Success
You only get one chance to make a first impression. Before you even open your mouth and say “hello” to your interviewer, they already have a judgement about you, even if it’s completely involuntary. While you don’t need to go buy a suit for your job interview, trading your jeans for slacks and making sure your top keeps your cleavage in check can go a long way. At USFSP, the Career Center has a collection of professional clothes you can borrow for your interview, if you’re in a pinch.
5. Be Confident
Confidence is key in many situations. When you give your interview, making eye contact and speaking clearly will help you to stand out and help your potential employers to see you at your best. Get familiar with common interview questions and practice with a friend. After you turn in an application or do an interview, follow up in person or in an e-mail. And if you don’t get the first job you apply for, don’t lose heart! Keep trying and stay confident in yourself.