“Money can’t buy happiness,” at least, that’s how the saying goes. While your happiness isn’t contingent on money, your college education is. College is expensive, and even with scholarships, you’ll still need to pay for books, rent, groceries, and the occasional activity with friends. Having a part-time job while in school or a job over the summer can go a long way in helping you pay for your living expenses. Here are some tips for finding a job in college.
1. Build a Resume
Hopefully, you already have a resume from applying to scholarships. If you don’t have a resume or if you haven’t updated yours recently, now is the time. Your resume should always be current. Even if you don’t think you have a lot of experience, you can still use jobs you held in high school, club experience, and classwork on your resume. As you begin looking for jobs, use your experience that best fits the job. Ask your friends and family to review your resume and give you feedback. Having someone review your resume can help you spot mistakes that would look unprofessional to a hiring manager.
2. Start a Portfolio
Some jobs look for hard evidence against what you claim in your resume. For example, if you are studying web development and are applying for a job in this industry, a hiring manager would ask you for examples of sites you have created. During your classes and work experiences, collect the professional projects you work on as proof that you are knowledgeable about your industry.
It is highly likely that you will be reminded to always network with the people you meet. Networking is a great way to make connections and possibly find future career opportunities. Before the end of the semester, send people in your class a LinkedIn request. Building your LinkedIn profile will show future employers that you are doing your best to network with others. Using LinkedIn as a resource helps because you can ask people to recommend you for certain skills that employers will look for before they hire you.
4. Start Now
Your resume is the number one tool you’ll need to find a job. Once you have your resume polished, you should start looking for places to apply. Many universities have job opportunities on campus or online that you can apply for. Some of these jobs include janitorial work, assisting professors, helping with research projects, and tutoring. Jobs on campus are typically conscientious of your classes and have shorter shifts to help you better balance your academic duties. If you can’t find a job on campus, try looking for work in your community.
5. Start Small
Working at a fast-food restaurant or call center may seem like a step backward as you work to earn your degree, but graduates with experience in retail and customer service are much appreciated. Skills taught in entry-level positions are just as important in stable careers. Plus, starting at low pay and working your way up will show future employers that you are diligent and dedicated.
College can be time-consuming, but having a job not only gives you some extra cash, but it also prepares you for the future. While classes should be your priority, if you can manage your time to make room for a part or even full-time job, it’s worth it for the experience and the money to keep you in school!