How to Get a Job in College

Starting the Process Early Is Key to Finding a Great Gig

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Knowing how to get a job in college can be challenging, especially if you're new on campus or you've never applied for an on-campus job before. And while each and every student worker plays an important role in helping make a college run better, there are definitely some jobs that are better than others. So how can you make sure that the job you get in college is a good one?

Start Early

There are undoubtedly other students, just like you, who want or need to get a job in college. Which means that there are lots of other people eager to apply for the job(s) you want to get, too. As soon as you know that you need or want to work during your time in school, start figuring out how and where to make the process happen. If at all possible, try to do some emailing -- or even applying -- before you officially arrive on campus for a new semester.

Figure Out How Much Money You Want or Need to Make

Before you start looking at listings, take a moment to sit down, make a budget, and figure out how much money you need or want to make from your on-campus job. Knowing the amount you'll need to bring in each week will help you figure out what to look for. You may, for example, think the gig working at the theater is totally perfect, but if it only offers a few hours each weekend and you know you'll need to work 10+ hours a week, it's no longer the perfect gig.

Look at the Official Listings

If you're applying for an on-campus job, chances are that all of the student jobs are posted in one central place, like the student employment or financial aid office. Head there first to avoid having to spend a ton of time trying to see if individual departments or offices are hiring.

Don't Be Afraid to Ask Around and Network

When people hear "networking," they often think of schmoozing with people they don't really know at a cocktail party. But even on a college campus, it's important to talk to people about what you'd like in an on-campus job. Talk to your friends to see if they know of great places that are hiring or if they've worked somewhere they particularly liked. If, for example, someone down the hall works at the mailroom, thinks it's a great gig and is willing to put in a good word for you, voila! That's networking in action.


Applying for on-campus jobs is usually a much lower-key process than applying for jobs at, say, a major department store or corporate office in town. That being said, it's still important to appear professional when you apply for an on-campus job. No matter where you work on campus, you'll undoubtedly be interacting with people off-campus, professors, upper-level administrators, and other important folks. Whoever hires you will want to make sure that when the community interacts with you, as a member and representative of their office, the interaction is positive and professional. So make sure you return phone calls or emails on time, show up for your interview on time, and dress in a way that makes sense for the position.

Ask What the Time Line Is

You may apply for a super-casual gig where they hire you on the spot. Or you may apply for something with a little more prestige where you need to wait a week or two (or more) before you hear if you've got the job or not. It's okay to ask during your interview when they'll be letting people know if they are being hired; that way, you can still apply for other jobs and be making progress while you wait. The last thing you want to do is shoot yourself in the foot by letting all the other good jobs slip by as you wait to hear from one specific place that ends up not hiring you.

Although the first few weeks of any semester is a flurry of activity as students apply for on-campus jobs, everyone usually ends up landing something that they like. Being smart about the process can help increase the chances that you'll end up with a job that not only provides a little cash but also lets you enjoy your time working in school.

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Your Citation
Lucier, Kelci Lynn. "How to Get a Job in College." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Lucier, Kelci Lynn. (2023, April 5). How to Get a Job in College. Retrieved from Lucier, Kelci Lynn. "How to Get a Job in College." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 2, 2023).