College Connect: Looking for part-time work to ease the financial crunch

Posted By Crystal Beasley

By Nina Cavender

One of the most important things you can do as a freshmen, other than schoolwork is finding a job. It not only provides an extra bullet point on your resume (which always helps), but it can take some pressure off your parents, and you, financially.

Personally, finding a job is very important to me because I am 1,200 miles from home. I don’t have the luxury of going home every other weekend, or being able to have my parents help me out when my pockets are feeling a little thin. Even if you do live close to the university you attend, finding a job should definitely be a priority. Having that little extra bit of cash goes along way, whether it’s going to Chipotle, a quick Starbucks run or spontaneous trip to the move theater. In fact, 4 out of 5 college students have part-time jobs, averaging 19 hours a week, according to a 2013 study by Citigroup and Seventeen magazine.

There are various ways to start looking for a job. You first have to decide if you want it to be on campus, or off. I know from personal experience that a lot of people prefer on-campus jobs, because it is easier to get to, and hours are likely to be flexible. Start checking around your campus at the beginning of the semester for openings in the library, residential life buildings, for campus positions with titles like “assistant” and “clerk”. These jobs usually entail things like filing, photocopying or editing. Jobs like these are easy to do, and will help you rack up some extra cash.

Another on-campus job you can look for is a work-study, if you qualify under your campus’ financial aid rules. A work-study is often working in the library or in academic units.  You could be a clerk at a reception desk or someone who works in a certain department. You are able to get paid — usually more than minimum wage.. Students who get work-study jobs have to apply early in the semester, or it can come with a certain scholarship or grant. If you have the opportunity to get one without one of those things, I strongly encourage you to apply. They are easily the best (and most sought after) jobs on campus.

If you decide that an on-campus job isn’t for you, there are plenty of opportunities elsewhere. College towns mean lots of restaurants, and they survive on student help. Once you become settled into your routine, walk into town and ask managers of these stores and restaurants if they’re hiring. In my experience, the answer is usually always yes. Bring multiple copies of your resume to hand out, and approach whoever you’re e asking with a warm, friendly smile. Becoming a waiter/waitress is an excellent idea in school, and has a huge pay off. If your academic schedule is too tight during the week, make sure your hours are on the weekend. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday is when you will make the most money. One friend, after becoming a waitress at a local BBQ joint, made $200 in tips in one night!

If you’re maybe not a people person, or just aren’t interested in working as a server, apply to stores for retail positions, whether they’re in town or at the local mall. Showing that you have a passion for the merchandise the store sells will make you a very likely candidate for a job.   Getting a job at a place you would shop would guarantee you would never feel bored or dissatisfied with the job, and you might even get a cheeky employee discount. A win-win!

Getting a job is very important in college, no matter what it ends up being. Having a steady flow of cash is always a plus. The stereotype of “the poor, starving college student” is no joke! Between tuition, books, school supplies, you will always need some cash, and the best way to ensure you always have a little padding in your pocket is to get a job.  Happy (job) hunting!


Nina Cavender is a student at University of Missouri

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