Nearly 4 out of 5 college students have a job, with most spending almost 20 hours a week working along with attending classes. However, being a student and an employee can certainly be a strain, not to mention, competition for jobs on campuses can be fierce.
Rob Wilson, CEO of Employco USA, says, “Most college kids need to work in order to help pay the bills. However, it’s a shame that so many get jobs that won’t be helpful to their careers in the long run, or jobs that don’t pay them fairly for their time.”
Here are Wilson’s top tips for how college students can make the most of part-time work:
1) Think outside the quad. “A job on campus might seem ideal,” says Wilson, “You can be close to classes and see your friends. However, campus jobs don’t generally pay well, and you will be competing with thousands of others kids. If you have transportation options, I suggest looking off campus.”
2) Don’t just look for “fun” places to work. “Yes, being a barback at your favorite bar would be cool,” says Wilson. “But it’s not exactly going to impress any future employers down the road. Look for jobs that have cache in the field you want to break into, even if you have to start at the bottom, such as working in the mail room at your city newspaper if you want to be a journalist.”
3) Don’t stop at the Campus Career Center. “Your career center probably has some options for students looking for work,” says Wilson, “But I think students should go even one step further. Find a temp agency that can help you look for part-time work. Not only will they help you find jobs, they can help you work on your resume and perfect your interview skills.”
4) Be professional. “People sometimes hesitate to hire college students because they picture an Animal House personality,” says Wilson. “Make sure that you dress professionally (ditch the college uniform of jeans and pjs), and that your social media doesn’t reflect poorly on you. Look at your TA’s and grad students in your field. They dress the part and hence come off as more confident and capable.”
5) Don’t be afraid to intern. “Taking a job for little or no pay can seem crazy,” says Wilson, “But, trust me, it might be the smartest thing you can do for your future. Gaining real world experience and collecting valuable contacts will make a world of difference when you finally graduate.”