Updated: May 03, 2023
Working a part-time job while enrolled in school can help your college student gain valuable work experience and give them some extra cash to pay for college expenses. Balancing school and work can also increase your child's organizational and time management skills, which will be beneficial for life after graduation.
But finding a good job while in college isn't always easy. Not sure where to tell your child to start? Use these tips to help your student land the right college job.
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.
The Internet is a good first place to find 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. They can ask the career center staff about positions on campus, as well as look at any on-campus job-board postings for opportunities.
Potential jobs are all around, even if there is not an obvious "hiring" 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 easier to do.
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.
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 emails, or answering phones for a small business.
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 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.