I am a Mom as well as a Human Resources professional so naturally when my daughter came to me for career advice, I had a lot to say. My daughter is a student at a small liberal arts college in Michigan. Recently, she applied for a job at the campus coffee shop. She didn’t get it. When she called me, she was very disappointed and close to tears. Several of her friends worked there and had recommended her to the manager. And she had already gotten very attached and enthusiastic about the idea of working there. In the end, preference was given to students in the work study program and the slots were filled.
The advice I gave her boils down to three points.
Look off Campus
Even though a job on campus is comfortable and you can work with your friends and classmates, it isn’t the only option. Nor is it the option that is going to push you to grow and learn about yourself. Since she has transportation, working off campus is within reach. Additionally, looking off campus opens more possibilities. Plus, college students working in the community bring diversity of thought to the workplace. It really is a win-win.
Search for a Job Related to Your Major
College is the perfect time to try out your major and see if it is a good fit for your career aspirations. Pouring coffee is not her major. Psychology is her major and she has an interest in working with autistic children. Having done an internship the summer of her freshman year shadowing a Behavioral Psychologist, she had an idea that she liked that kind of work. Sure there were some aspects of the job that she did not like, the paperwork, the regulatory requirements, the billing. But she learned that she wanted to work with that population in some capacity.
Ask for Advice and Recommendations from Your Professors
Professors wear many hats. They are teachers, parents, community members, and advisers in many cases. And most want to help their students. Stop by during office hours and ask for their ideas and advice. They can also serve as a recommendation for you – something you will need again and again whether for off campus study or employment or graduate school.
In the end, she did find a job with the local high school as a Special Education Assistant. It has been a great opportunity for her and for the students she assists. She works three mornings per week before her regular college classes. She gets up early and drives in the dark to the high school when other college students are still sleeping. She enjoys it and is getting fantastic experience for her resume and for herself. The job has confirmed her hunch that she wants to work with autistic children.
I would give the same advice to any college student. Be persistent and don’t give up. The right job is out there for YOU. It’s just a matter of finding it.