You’ve squared away your loans and paid off your textbooks. Everything seems to be going smoothly until you realize that you’re broke. Feeling low on cash during the school year can leave you bored, sick of dining hall meatloaf and scavenging for early birthday gifts from your family. It’s no secret that securing a job that fits your class schedule isn’t easy. But if you’re hungry for that extra moola, here’s how to make it work.
1. Jump on it ASAP
All it takes is one bed and a Netflix account to slow down the application process. Whenever you feel tempted by the comfort of infinite television, remember Ohio University senior Malcolm Pullom’s view: “Plan ahead,” he said. “By the time you get back to school and start, the positions will already have been filled.” Don’t fret too much if you can’t get back to school early to job hunt; most franchises will let you apply online and even interview over the phone.
2. Dress up
Remember that going to an interview overdressed can be a stepping-stone toward a job. When Malcolm Pullom interviewed at UniversiTees, a clothing store on the Ohio University campus, he felt confident. “Going to my interview prepared professionally and showing that it is something I really want to do set me apart from everybody else,” said Pullom.
3. Keep your friends and family close
“My sister was the manager at a market and knew the person in charge of hiring, so she asked him if I could have a job. I interviewed with him, and he asked if I wanted the job and I said yes so they hired me on the spot pretty much,” said Ohio University junior Teddy Thieken. He knew which move to take when he took his sister’s help. It’s possible to snag a job by resume and interview alone, but knowing someone that’s on the inside will give you a leg up on the competition.
4. Stay stress-free
College jobs are there to give you a little spending money while not adding to stress from classes. Ohio University junior Schuyler Fastenau works in Nelson Dining Hall on campus and the environment there is far more relaxing than any job he has ever held at home. He especially loves the accessibility–say goodbye to that commute! “I don’t have to worry about somebody coming in for me or waiting for me in a car outside of my job in a college environment.”
5. Stick with on-campus business owners
College life is filled to the brim with people who are more laid-back than those in the “real” world. Jessica Shelton, a sophomore at Wright State University, works off-campus at an Outback Steakhouse. “Because of my schedule I can only work a couple of days a week,” Shelton said, “and my managers don’t really understand that because no other college kids work there.” Unlike off-campus business owners, those on-campus understand the hectic life of a student.
6. Enjoy your coworkers
It may seem far-fetched at first glance, but figuring out who you will be working with can make or break a job. “An element most people don’t consider is when they blindly apply,” said Alex Charavell, a recent Ohio University graduate. “It doesn’t hurt to scope out the people working there to see if you will fit in there.” Remember that a healthy and fun work environment can lead to useful job experience and fantastic professional connections. “Don’t waste your time working somewhere you hate,” said Rebekah Burke, a sophomore at Housatonic Community College.
7. Learn about yourself
Working while in school can lead to fantastic benefits (besides the paycheck). Alexandria Breck, a student at Arizona State University, not only learned how hard a worker she is but also that treating yourself is a vital step in the cluttered process of higher education. “When you do something successfully over a long period of time that practice becomes excellence,” she said. “It’s good to observe what you are doing right every once in a while and not be too focused on what’s next.”
8. Don’t lose faith
Finding a job can feel daunting, but there is no need to overload worry onto the matter. Don’t pout away from every employer that turns you down. Taylor Camp, a sophomore at the University of Arizona, keeps it professional: “If and when I apply for jobs but do not get them, I try to always e-mail the employer to thank them for their time,” she said. “It’s nice to gain a sense of closure after job interviews.” The employer will appreciate your positive attitude. Who knows, you may decide to apply again in the future when you’re a better fit for the position.
9. Don’t overdo it
There is nothing worse than knowing that you are behind in classes because of your job. “Only get one job if you don’t think you can handle more than your school work,” said Elise Odougherty, a sophomore at Ohio University. The same can be said when dealing with free time. “In undergrad, I worked three jobs,” said Olivia Stapp, a San Francisco State graduate. “Honestly I worked so much during undergrad and post-grad that everything was stressful.” Remember that there is nothing wrong with working a little less while in school; only take what you can handle.
10. Get paid
You are an adult and deserve to be treated as such. “Value your labor,” Stapp said. “Don’t let people get away with not paying you for something you should get paid for. Don’t let employers walk all over you.”
Happy job hunting and let us know what you learned along the way in the comments.