Getting a Job as an Undergraduate: 6 Tips


Working while you’re an undergraduate student has a lot of benefits. Of course it’s nice to have the extra cash to put towards tuition or your everyday bills. By working, you can often reduce the amount of student loans you take out, which you’ll be grateful for later in life. Plus, working gives you a chance to develop your professional skills and build a resume before you even graduate.

With all that being said, undergraduates are sometimes unsure as to how they should go about finding and applying for job. The following tips should come in handy.

Ask About Work-Study

A good place to start is by talking to your school’s financial aid office about work-study. Most campuses have a work-study program that allows you to work a certain number of hours on-campus. You might work in the cafeteria, staff the campus fitness center, or shelf books at the library. Work-study jobs are perfect for students who live on-campus.

Check With Your Mentors

If you have a mentor, either through your major program or an honors society, mention to them that you are looking for a job. They may know of some entry-level, part-time positions at their place of employment. Or, they may have someone in their network who is looking for a part-time employee. This is a great way to find some entry-level work in your future career field and start building your resume.

Talk to Faculty

Stay after class, or stop by your professors’ office hours. Ask them if they know of any jobs for undergraduates. Some professors hire undergraduate assistants to grade papers for freshman-level courses. If your professor has some local connections in industry, they may be able to point you towards a company that is hiring.

Visit Your School’s Career Office

Most campuses have a career services office. The employees in this office are trained to help students create resumes, develop interviewing skills, and find jobs that are in-line with their skills. While they tend to primarily work with seniors who are about to graduate, they should be able to help undergraduates find part-time work, too. Some career offices even keep lists of on-campus and off-campus jobs for students.

Pass Your Resume Around

If you have not already created a resume, now is the perfect time to do so. Visit your school’s career office if you need any help with this. Once you have a good resume in-hand, it’s time to get it into the hands of others. Leave copies with your professors and ask them to share your resume if they know anyone who might be hiring. Give a copy to each of your mentors. Email a copy to anyone else on your contact list who is involved in your preferred industry. Before long, that resume will land on the desk of someone who wants to hire you.

Attend Job Fairs

Job fairs tend to be targeted to seniors who are about to graduate. However, some companies attend these fairs looking for students to do part-time work. This is a good way to not only find a part-time job, but also get your foot in at a company you may want to work at, in a more full-time capacity, once you graduate.

There are plenty of part-time jobs for undergraduates, but you do have to get out there and look for them. Working while you are in school will certainly pay off, both immediately and down the road in less-tangible ways. Use the ideas above to guide you.

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