How can I secure an on-campus job?

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Jobs_On_CampusAbhay at University of California at Berkeley asked:

“I’m trying to help my studies by finding a part time job on campus and have applied many times without a single positive response. What can I do to get a job on campus?”

Thanks for your question, Abhay. Most students don’t realize how competitive on campus jobs can be, especially in a big school like Berkeley. There are only so many available positions, and an enormous number of students wanting to work on campus. There are ways to improve your chances of working on campus, just remember rejection is nothing personal, and there is still a variety of work available to students off-campus as well.

Apply early: All offices want to have their hiring done as soon as possible, so if you’re interested in working in the summer start asking around in the spring. Want to work in the spring? Start applying before winter break. If you start looking and applying during the semester you want to work, most of the positions will already be full.

Network within the school: Connect with your professors, deans and mentors in your field especially if you’re looking for a research assistant position. Even if they’re not hiring, they can give you a recommendation when the time comes.

Network with your fellow students through class, group projects, your dorm and student organizations. Ask if they work on campus, if they’re going to be leaving their positions soon, and if they wouldn’t mind passing your name on to whoever is hiring. This is how most on-campus jobs are passed along, so utilize your peers and mentors to find out about and secure positions for yourself.

Meet the requirements and have your paper work in order: There are many levels of student work you may be eligible for: administration, work study, research, services, etc. Double check the requirements of the position including if a certain degree is needed, if you must be a full or part time student, or if you are utilizing financial aid. Visit the student employment office in Career Services for more information on which forms you’ll need to have completed. Before you apply, make sure you have all your paperwork and any required forms in order. By following the rules, you make it easy for the school to hire you.

International students in particular need to make sure they have all their required paperwork in order, including visa status, social security information, and any forms needed by the school. If you’re unsure of your eligibility to work on campus, visit the international student office. You career center also has a wealth of information for international students.

Don’t overlook services work: Campuses are often looking for extra help in the cafeteria, mail room, security, and grounds keeping offices. Be sure to check any vendors (restaurants, book store, shops) who often utilize student workers. Don’t overlook these opportunities, and use this work to prove yourself as an exceptional student employee. This will help you secure on-campus jobs in the future.


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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One response to “How can I secure an on-campus job?”

  1. Hilari Holt says:

    As someone who handles on-campus employment at a college, I completely agree to all of this. Federal Work Study eligibility is a huge factor! A lot of departments do not have the budget to hire part-time staff, so unfortunately those who are not eligible (like International students) will have a harder time gaining employment.
    Just be sure to re-apply for each new semester and keep your contact information on your application up to date!