Before embarking on your employment- hunt at college ask yourself these questions.
Why should I get a job?”
For some, the answer boils down to plain and simple economics or, more specifically, the financing of their college education. For others, reasons for getting a job include work experience, references and of course, resume-padding. Regardless of the specific reason, knowing why you need a job may help you answer the next question.
“What type of job should I get?”
Basically, there are three types of jobs: volunteer work, research work (which often yields college credits) and paid work.
The first category, i.e. volunteer work, yields no money but it often serves purposes more admirable than would other types of employment. Having a volunteer job can lead to excellent paying jobs in the future, win character recommendations and look impressive on your resume.
The second type, in which college credit supersedes payment, takes a while to find but offers flexibility and, for the most part, no homework. Your college advisor or job-placement service will ease the burden of a search for this type of job, often referred to as an assistantship, clerkship or research preceptor ship.
The final category of work includes all the miscellaneous jobs in which you are compensated for your services. Lack of experience may limit job choices in this category to working in a fast-food restaurant or an equivalent. But don’t fret. As you get older and more experienced, your opportunities will multiply.
A subdivision under the ‘paying job’ category popularly called ‘work-study’ provides financially needy students with jobs paying higher-than-normal wages. These jobs, which require that those interested need to prove their financial need, serve as pseudo-scholarships enabling some students to afford college expenses. Generally, work-study jobs will have you working in a campus cafeteria or the office of a faculty member.
“How much time will I spend on the job?”
Before committing to any set number of hours, settle into a college schedule and determine first the amount of study and free time available. Most employers sympathize with students and agree to a flexible work schedule with time off for mid-terms and finals. The amount of time you have for work should depend on the number and difficulty of the classes you take. Assuming a fairly standard college load of three- four classes, most working students agree that 10 to 20 hours a week is more than an ample time commitment for work.
A potential danger in working at school is getting involved in a job that requires time off-the-job or, more explicitly, job-related homework. Be wary of jobs that claim to demand only a fixed amount of time each week and then expect extra at-home work. So, do keep in mind that certain jobs have unusual demands.
“Should I get an on-campus or off- campus job?”
There are three major factors you need to take into account before answering this question: desirability, wages and transportation. Basically, you want to obtain the most desirable job that is easy to get while offering the highest wages. At bigger universities, on-campus jobs of this sort may be plentiful.
At smaller private schools, however, finding a desirable on- campus job may be more difficult. But, before going off-campus, make sure to consider transportation. You don’t want to be walking eight miles to work at 5 A.M. because no other means of transportation are available.
Finally most probably it will be illegal for you to work off-campus and as an international student do check this out with your adviser.
“What kind of jobs can I get on campus?”
As to the kind of jobs available to college students, while off-campus jobs may vary depending on the setting of the campus, on-campus jobs remain fairly similar throughout the country. Attractive benefits of these university- sponsored jobs include reasonable pay and flexible hours. Several common university- sponsored jobs include:
Food service jobs:
Duties include serving meals, preparing food and performing custodial work.
Libraries always need people to help with checking out and reserving books.
Many larger schools have a student tutoring service sponsored by the university.
Recreational sports programs:
This usually involves managing and organizing sports activities and events.
Most colleges have at least one or two ticket outlets for sporting and special events such as plays and art exhibitions.
Universities will often use students to staff copy centers which are essentially rooms equipped with Xerox machines for photocopying material for students.
Where to look and who to ask
In many cases, the answer to where to look for a job should be apparent. For example, if a volunteer job in health sciences is the goal, simply contact the local hospital. On the other hand, if no specific job has surfaced, several resources like the two discussed below might help.
The best source of job information is word-of- mouth communication; someone tells you about a job opening and you pursue it. Friends and family members can be invaluable when it comes to this kind of information. Once they know you are searching for a job, they may take notice of ads’ in the newspaper or any wanted signs on shop windows. More often, a friend or a relative may know someone who has a job opening and may be able pan ‘If strings for you; surely you have heard of the expression it doesn’t matter what you know but who you know. Well, that expression didn’t get popular for nothing!
2. University resources
Most universities have a career placement office through which regularly updated computer lists of job openings on campus and associated positions are available.
Assistantships and other jobs are essential in case of the less blessed souls and if you are one of the many such, you must try your level to get a job the moment you land, in case haven’t already bagged an assistantship.
Make sure you don’t miss out on anything. Use the checklists in the next chapter. We will you the very best in your application process and hope you have an eventful stay in the wonderland of dreams America, the land of opportunity.