Landing an on-campus job, college student perspective


No matter where you go to college, you’ll have many opportunities to spend money, whether on groceries, club dues, textbooks, or fast food. This fact coupled with newly-claimed independence leads many incoming freshman scrambling to find an on-campus job. College is overwhelming, and unfortunately, those who don’t start looking for jobs in the first month of the fall semester are often left severely disadvantaged. Here are a couple of tips for landing an on-campus job/internship or work-study.


This is probably the most important attribute you can take into the working world. Period. Tenacious people aren’t often forgotten by prospective employers, and, especially when it comes to positions that have limited space, standing out is invaluable. When I first spoke to my current employer, he was pretty adamant about not hiring many more employees. I kept showing up at his door, asked about the kind of work I could do, and showed my enthusiasm to get things rolling. During one of my visits, I was finally handed paperwork, and asked “When can you start?”


If you know you’ll want to work in the coming semester, think about the kind of job you’d want before you even set foot on campus. Work-study or no, research or otherwise, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. If you want to score a work-study position, make sure you either know the amount of your work-study award, offhand, or know where you easily access this information. Pay attention to all of the employment resources available to you on campus. If you don’t already have a resumé or list of skills and experience, there are probably several places you can go to get help developing your resumé. There may be a career center, work-study office, and job fairs, and it’s also likely that there are employment opportunities available only to those within your particular major. If you’re looking to get involved in research as an undergrad, ask your professors what they’re up to. If they aren’t personally involved in research, it is more than likely that they have friends or colleagues that you could contact. Social capital is key. Take advantage!

Follow Through

Landing a job is one thing. Keeping it is another, entirely. The moment your employer starts to question his decision to hire you, it may be beneficial to start filling out some more applications. There will always be more people eager to step in and take your place. Don’t give them the opportunity! Be a good employee! This means:

Making good on your promises

You don’t need to tell your boss that you’ll be the best employee he’s ever had, but you certainly don’t want to make him/her think that a better one could be easily found. Make promises that aren’t difficult to keep. If you pledge to work a set number of hours a week, do so. If you promise to work hard and be reliable, exhibit these traits with gusto!

Being on time

This one is self-explanatory.

Keeping your employer updated

Extenuating circumstances are a part of life. You wouldn’t want to spend 4 stressful hours cramming for a test, walk into class, then discover that your professor just decided not to show up that day. Just as professors and employers have the courtesy to alert their students and employees via email when something comes up, so should you grant your employer the same courtesy. As long as you are in college, you are a student first and an employee second. And as long as you live on a college campus, you are also dwelling in a breeding-ground for trillions of germs. Life gets hectic and people get sick; your employer will understand that.

Say goodbye to the bare minimum

Always offer to do more. This is not just another part of standing out; it will earn you lasting brownie points in the workplace. When you need to ask your employer for special accommodations later on (and believe me, you will), he/she will remember your tendency to go above and beyond.

Elinor Chambers, Tulane University | Elinor Chambers is a from  Ann Arbor, MI and currently studying Religion Studies and English/Creative Writing at Tulane University.

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