Working on campus can be a valuable and rewarding aspect of your college experience. It provides an opportunity to gain practical skills, earn income, and develop professional connections. However, it’s essential to navigate the competitive job market effectively and retain your position once you secure it. In this article, I will guide you through the ins and outs of navigating student employment on campus, sharing personal insights, practical tips, and advice that I wish someone had shared with me during my own journey.

If you haven’t landed a position yet, don’t worry—I’ve been there. Based on my own experience, here are some strategies to boost your chances of securing your first on-campus job:

  • Start early: Begin your job search as soon as possible. Many campus positions have limited openings and are highly sought after. I found summer to be the best time for researching available opportunities and submitting applications to increase your chances of success. There are many job openings being posted during this time and it is more likely that positions are not yet filled.

  • Tailor your resume and cover letter: Customize your application materials to highlight relevant skills and experiences. Emphasize any volunteer work, internships, or leadership roles you have undertaken and remember to clearly articulate your interest in the position and how your skills align with the job requirements. Tailoring your application demonstrates your genuine interest in the position.

  • Leverage networking: Don’t underestimate the power of connections. Reach out to current student employees, faculty members, and university staff who may be aware of job openings. Attend career fairs and networking events on campus to meet potential employers. Cultivating a robust network can open doors to unadvertised opportunities. It would also help to utilize online platforms like LinkedIn to expand your professional network.

  • Follow-up and stay persistent: After submitting applications or attending interviews, follow up with a thank-you note or email to express your gratitude and reiterate your interest in the position. Persistence is key in the job search process, and I cannot emphasize enough to not get discouraged by rejections; continue applying and refining your approach from previous lessons. Rejections may come, but each setback brings you closer to success.

  • Utilize campus resources: Take advantage of workshops and events that focus on resume writing, interview skills, and job search strategies. Moreover, career services centers, job boards, and faculty advisors can offer invaluable guidance. These resources are designed specifically to support your success in securing a position that resonates with your interest and abilities.

Gannon has career development services that can be leveraged to simplify your job hunt. Visit the career development center here :

Securing a job on campus is just the first step; retaining your position is equally important. Here’s how you can shine and hold on to your valuable role:

  • Demonstrate reliability: Consistency and dependability are key attributes employers value in their student employees. Arrive on time, fulfill your responsibilities diligently, and communicate effectively with your supervisors and colleagues to build trust and credibility.

  • Take initiative: Don’t settle for the status quo. Take the initiative to go above and beyond your assigned tasks, assist your colleagues, and demonstrate a willingness to learn and grow. Seeking out opportunities to contribute and suggesting improvements will demonstrate your enthusiasm for your work. Your employer will appreciate and reward a proactive attitude.

  • Develop time management skills: Balancing academics, work, and personal commitments can be challenging. To excel, prioritize your tasks and allocate enough time for them, create a schedule, and manage your time effectively. By mastering time management, you’ll accomplish more, reduce stress, and achieve a healthy work-life balance.

  • Seek growth opportunities: Explore professional development opportunities offered by your employer or the university. Attend workshops, seminars, or training sessions to enhance your skills and broaden your knowledge. Demonstrating grit and commitment will facilitate your professional growth and make you an asset to your employer. It is also essential to be proactive in seeking feedback to improve your performance.

  • Build relationships: One of the most rewarding aspects of my student employment experience is the connections I made with supervisors, colleagues, and the campus community. Attending campus events, joining clubs, and participating in extracurricular activities to expand your network and create meaningful connections will help you have a meaningful college experience and benefit you in the long run. From my experience, building relationships can open doors for future employment and lead to mentorships and lasting friendships.

Whether you are job searching or currently employed, remember to approach student employment with a positive mindset and adaptability. Each interaction and experience can provide valuable lessons and insights that will contribute to your growth as a professional.

As a personal pro tip: Don’t be afraid to explore different areas of campus employment, even if they may not align perfectly with your major or career aspirations. During my time as a student employee, I have discovered that stepping outside my comfort zone was a game-changer. So, embrace curiosity and step outside your comfort zone. Don’t limit yourself to familiar roles or positions. Trying new things can lead to unexpected discoveries, helping you develop a diverse skill set and uncover hidden talents that may influence your future choices.