How can I get a job on campus?

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student workerTahseen at Minnesota State University, Moorhead asked:

“I’m a freshman and international student. I was looking for a job on campus but I don’t have a resume or a social. What is the process for an international student to get started working on campus?”

Thank you for your question, Tahseen. Working on campus is a great way to build your resume and create connections with your school community, while still having time to study and excel as a student. Here are a few tips to improve your chances of getting an on-campus job.

Have all your paper work in order:

International students can participate in on-campus jobs as long as they are covered by F-1 student visa status. Your first stop will be to visit your International Student Office where your representatives can give you all the information needed in order to work on campus, including whether or not you need a social security number.

Remember, each state and school may have different requirements, so make sure you’ve met all of your schools specifications and have filled out all the required paperwork before you begin applying for jobs.

Get your resume up and running:

There is no time like the present to begin building your resume, but don’t make the mistake many students make: “I’ve never had a real job, therefore I have no work experience.

You have a wealth of experience from being a student: team building and problem solving skills from group projects or athletics? Communication skills from presentations and writing papers? Time management and discipline? Leadership skills by running a club?Volunteering experience? What other skills have you acquired by being in school?

Think of the skills and experiences you’ve gained, and focus on those that would make you a great student worker. The professionals at your Career Development Center can help you craft your resume, bolster your interviewing skills, and direct you towards on-campus job postings.

Keep in mind:

-On-campus jobs are highly competitive. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get your ideal job right out of the gate.

-Employers ideally want everything settled and all their positions filled before the start of the semester, so it’s best to start looking and applying the semester before you plan on working.

-Many on campus positions are passed from one student to another internally, without a posting ever being made. Connect with classmates in your field, and see if any are student workers. When the time comes for them to graduate or move on, ask them for a recommendation and an introduction to the hiring staff member.

-Don’t overlook campus service jobs, like working in the cafeteria, mailroom, security, groundskeeping, bookstore, cafe etc. If you’ve already established yourself as a diligent campus worker, it will be easier to make your way into the position you want.

Best of Luck,


About the Author

Esme Smith

Esme received her M.A. In Counseling from St. Edward's University, and worked with students at Concordia University Texas' Career Center. She developed a passion for Career Counseling after leaving undergrad without much guidance, and grappling with unsatisfying work. She strives to help others bridge the gap between graduation and "the real world."

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