Know Their Limits
Every college student feels the weight of school differently. Some can balance a heavy course load and a part-time job effortlessly, while others can get overwhelmed and start performing poorly in their studies. Be gracious as your child figures out what their limit is and help them find alternative means of work. Babysitting, house sitting, lawn care or dog walking, for example, can earn your student extra money and can be easier to fit into a tight schedule.
Nancy Stern, a catering events manager in Boulder, Colorado, helped her daughter, Sabrina, 19, as well as her daughter's friends, land jobs as part-time servers with her catering firm. Because the company uses a software program that allows servers to sign up only for those events they want to work, servers who are in college can schedule jobs around their finals or even big football games. While many jobs are not set up this way, encourage your student to pursue part-time work that allows them to set a flexible schedule.
Know Where to Look
The Internet has made many things accessible, including job listings. However, to increase your college student's chance of getting the attention of hiring managers, have them look beyond the computer. Encourage your child to inquire with local businesses and to visit the university's career center often. They can ask the career center staff about positions on campus, as well as look weekly at any on-campus job-board postings for new opportunities.
Make Connections Everywhere
Potential jobs are all around, even if there is not an obvious "for hire" sign on the door. Whenever your child steps into a business — be it the local sandwich shop or hair salon — they can always say to the employee assisting them, "I would love to work in a place like this. Are you hiring?" In some cases, a local shop owner may need a new employee before having had an opportunity to place a job ad and interview candidates.
Your student should keep a list of which businesses they asked and which companies seemed interested in them but were not looking to hire at that time. They should also note the name of the person they spoke to and the owner's name, if they know it. A list will make following up a month or two later easier to do.
Put Out the Word for Your Student
Let family, friends and coworkers know that your college student is looking for part-time work. You never know who could be hiring. Your brother-in-law might need someone to answer the phone for his construction business or your coworker could need a tutor for her 10-year-old son.
Jen Soper, who lives in Salem, Oregon, asked the manager of an insurance agency if they had any part-time work available in her daughter's college town of Eugene, Oregon. They did and her daughter, Elizabeth, 19, landed a job as an assistant to the office's agents. She now does basic clerical work, spending about 15 hours a week, fit in around her class schedule.
Don't limit yourself to local friends and family. Contacts and colleagues who live in other areas may need help that can be done online and remotely, such as managing social media accounts, writing or answering emails for a small business.
Polish Their Look
Encourage your child to dress and act professionally. Some employers have started to relax their rules around displaying piercings and tattoos, but not all companies have adopted these new policies. Dressing in a businesslike manner (e.g., a modest dress, black slacks), covering up tattoos and piercings and being cheerful and confident can increase your child's chances of landing a position.
Your college student's job application and résumé are equally as important as appearances, but don't complete this paperwork for them. Instead, help them find areas of improvement in the application, whether it be spelling corrections or providing more details about their past work and school experience. Remind them to include volunteer experience or awards and honors they've earned on their résumé.
Working a part-time job while attending college can benefit your student with extra income and work experience. However, know that finding a job can take longer than expected, even if your child is the ideal applicant. Motivate them to keep trying and to keep track of where they have applied. Sometimes even applying again isn't a bad idea — especially around the holidays when lots of businesses need seasonal workers.