Most students are expected to focus on their education while in college. But for some, that is not all they are here for. Working throughout their college years provides some students income and experience before starting a professional career following graduation. From on-campus jobs to part-time internships at companies and organizations in Indiana there are opportunities to accommodate students’ schedules.
More than 80 percent of University of Indianapolis students have a job during their college experience, according to Kirk Bryans, assistant director for financial services, manufacturing and logistics and entrepreneurship. If a student desires to explore job opportunities, they can visit Handshake, the electronic platform the university uses to post on-campus opportunities, internships, part-time and full-time jobs.
In addition to Handshake, a number of other ways exist for a student to find opportunities, includingindeed.com, indianaintern.net, networking at university events and visiting the Professional Edge Center.
Before applying for a job, each student must build a foundation by creating a resume and a cover letter. For the cover letter, researching the company, reading the job description and specifically crafting the letter for the job that is being applied for are all important. Doing research on the company also will be useful during the interview process. According to Bryans, knowing how to talk about yourself is also important.
“I think the biggest key for our students is that they’re humble,” he said. “That’s a really good thing, except when you’re in an interview. When you go in for an interview, you really need to talk about yourself. What did you do? What did you accomplish?”
Experience also is something an employer looks for when hiring a candidate. Bryans commented that students sometimes doubt the quality of their experience, but everybody starts somewhere and must work hard to reach their full potential.
“I hear more employers out there saying, ‘I would rather have somebody that has worked retail, has had to deal with an angry customer, has handled cash,’” he said. “Those are good experiences, even if it’s not associated with your specific major.”
After preparing all the materials and making the decision to look for a job, students must decide between an on-campus and off-campus opportunity. An on-campus job may offer a flexible schedule, but for a reduced wage per hour, while an off-campus opportunity may have a higher wage but require a higher commitment of hours and an ability to commute to work.
On-campus opportunities are competitive and sought-after. For some students, including international students, this is their first experience working for a paycheck.
According to Bryans, in the last academic year there were more than 300 on-campus positions open for students of all majors and class levels. These opportunities include university ambassadors, food services, maintenance and department-specific jobs. All of these positions provide experience and the opportunity to learn valuable skills. Additionally, a student can hold multiple on-campus positions if his or her schedule allows.
Another highly competitive option is an internship. Depending upon a student’s major and goals, he or she can start applying as soon as sophomore year. But according to Bryans, students should focus on their junior and senior years.
This is the time when students build their network and have opportunities after graduation.
“Some employers, especially in the accounting field, want you to take the internship and take a semester off,” he said. “Others will employ you part-time in the internship and then get an offer for you when you graduate.”
Whether a student is an incoming freshman or a senior in his or her last semester, there is time to gain work experience. More 2,000 jobs and internships posted on Handshake are open for students, and more opportunities are added frequently. Students can schedule an appointment at the Professional Edge Center, which will help them find the job or internship suitable to them.