Job on campus – how to get one, and where to look for it!
Why get jobs on campus?
There are many benefits to getting a jobs on campus – apart from the obvious one of earning a little money to make university life more comfortable, reducing worries caused by financial stress and expanding your social possibilities by increasing your spending money. After all, if you are on a super-tight budget, impulsive weekends away or joining your friends on a trip may well be simply too expensive. A job on campus is the answer for many students, and it has recently been estimated that 81 per cent of US students work – either through the university breaks, or by taking jobs on or off campus.
On-campus jobs are extremely flexible and convenient. You do not need to travel to the nearest town or city to get to work, so you save commuting time and money. If you are working split shifts, you can use the down time to focus on your studies, perhaps visit the library to draft that outstanding essay or report, or simply go back to your dorm and read. On-campus employers are extremely accommodating, since they know only too well that your priority is your degree and not your job.
Shifts tend to be 2-3 hours long, and rarely go over the four hour mark, so it is perfectly possible to work between your classes and fit your working hours around your studies. This is rarely the case if you take a part-time job off campus, where the needs of your company definitely come first.
On-campus jobs and visa regulations
Remember, if you studying on a student visa, you have to observe its terms and not exceed the number of hours it allows you to work. International students who come to the US on a F1 visa, for example, are only allowed to take jobs on-campus.
Most countries’ student visas stipulate that you can work for 20 hours a week in term-time, and 40 hours a week during the holidays. To check the regulations of the country where you intend to study, either call Elab, or read through our individual country information by following the links on our Home page.
How to find an on-campus job
On-campus jobs can be voluntary as well as paid. Voluntary jobs often lead to a paid position, and give you an opportunity to become involved in a field you enjoy and get your foot through the door. Make sure you ask senior year students if they know of any jobs which are coming up, and start looking well before the beginning of the academic year, since on-campus jobs are snapped up very quickly.
To get an on-campus job, start visiting your university career centre and looking regularly at the noticeboards around campus, to see what vacancies are being advertised. Some universities, for example the University of Reading, have their own centralised campus jobs website, which you can check daily and use to apply for work.
Expand your network by signing up for societies and clubs, and making it known that you are looking for an on-campus job. Informal networks are extremely useful for finding on-campus jobs, and the more activities you become involved with, the more people you will meet and get to know.
Prepare your CV. This should be short (one page maximum) and list your skills, any volunteering or work experience you have, customer service roles you have had, the internships or projects you have undertaken, your language abilities and technical talents.
Make sure your CV does not contain any slang or informal language and, once you are satisfied, you could take it from one department to another, and ask for an on-campus job. When you are delivering the CV, make sure you look smart and have a positive demeanour and, if you are asked questions or drawn into a conversation, relax and focus, and demonstrate why you are ideal for the job.
Do not include any private information in your CV. This includes bank details, address, passport number, nationality and date of birth.
Remember, too, that any on-campus work experience you gain will in turn enrich your own CV once you have graduated.
What kind of on-campus jobs do students find?
Every campus offers a range of food and drink outlets, such as cafes, bars, coffee shops or restaurants, as well as fast-food. The number of such catering facilities depends on the size of the campus, of course, but this is usually students’ first port of call when they are looking for on-campus jobs. Barista, waiting, kitchen and cashier jobs are often available, and you may well find that free coffee or food are thrown in, along with your wages.
If gyms appeal to you, you could ask for a part-time job in your campus gym or sports centre, where they need people to check IDs, clean and maintain equipment, and look after the facilities.
Every campus department needs administrative help, whether in the mail room dealing with the vast flood of deliveries, parcels and letters that come in, or photocopying, filing, answering the telephone and logging or uploading information. If you have strong IT skills, you could also offer IT support.
Campus tour guide jobs tend to be snapped up quickly, and here languages are a plus, since you will be escorting groups of visitors and giving them a potted history of your university campus. Depending on where you are studying, there may be more work in this field during the spring and summer than the colder parts of the year.
Language and writing workshops are another potential avenue to explore when you are looking for an on-campus job, since these centres often have openings for part-time tutors.
If your campus has museums, cinemas or theatres, then you could apply for an assistant’s job, emphasising your customer service skills and interest in the media.
Library positions go very fast and are extremely competitive, but it is well worth submitting your CV and seeing the response you get.
Resident assistant posts are equally popular, particularly in the US, because they normally offer free board and accommodation in exchange for giving the students in your care support, information and organising a range of dorm activities.
At postgraduate level, you may be able to secure a Teaching Assistant, Graduate Assistant or Research Assistant post on campus. These positions often come with tuition discounts as well as wages. Here again, a well-crafted CV which lists all your academic achievements, project work and interests goes a long way towards making you a viable candidate for an on-campus job.
There are many advantages to getting an on-campus job, from financial support to friendships, experience to learning new skills and improving your CV. Get out there, CV in hand, and find that perfect on-campus job.