The task of finding a job as a freshman can seem daunting. You might worry that you won’t be able to find a job. Or not know where to look for a job or what kind of job to get. However, finding a job isn’t impossible.
First let’s look at the different types of job on campus: work study, S.T.E.P., student assistant and “other.”
According to the Financial Aid Office, “Work-study is a federally sponsored employment program for undergraduate and graduate students, where the wages are partially paid by the program funds in addition to the employer. The students may earn cumulative work-study wages up to the amount listed on their financial aid award.”
Whether or not you receive work-study is based off your FAFSA, which is the same form you use to apply for financial aid. To find out if you have received work-study log on to Titan Web and view your financial awards (the same place you would look to see if you have received loans or grants). Several on-campus jobs may be work-study only, so if you do have work-study, use it to your advantage and don’t let it go to waste.
S.T.E.P (Student Titan Employment Program)
In my experience S.T.E.P. jobs have been some of the best jobs I’ve had. You do not need work-study to apply for these jobs. UW Oshkosh sets aside funds for these positions yearly.
Comparing them to internships may be intimidating, but don’t be afraid to apply for a position like this as a freshman. My freshman year I applied for a S.T.E.P. position thinking I had no chance because of my age. However, it turns about they were looking for someone younger to work for them all four years of college. (If you haven’t already guessed I got the job!) I have learned so much from my S.T.E.P. position and grown tremendously!
Many times student assistant jobs involve working in an office on campus doing administrative duties. Some student assistant jobs require work-study while others do not. Student assistant jobs are a great first-time campus job. They allow you to make connections with staff on campus, which could allow you to find other on-campus jobs later on.
There are many other on-campus jobs that don’t fall underneath a specific title. These jobs range from working with our on-campus food provider to being a weekend custodian in the residence halls.
UW Oshkosh is also located close to Main Street in Oshkosh, as well as several other businesses. If you don’t mind a short walk, there are a lot of off-campus job opportunities available as well.
How to prepare for your job search:
UW Oshkosh Career Services will be your best friend in the process of getting a job.
Don’t be afraid to meet with one of the counselors to review your resume, learn how to write a cover letter and perfect your references. You should always be as professional as possible in your job search because getting your “dream job” on campus can be competitive! Make sure you know your stuff and wow your future employer. If you prove that you have great work ethic at your first on-campus job it will open up a world of possibilities for other jobs in your future.
Where to look for a job:
There are a few places you can look for jobs on campus:
- Titan Jobs. This is the university’s online job search site. It can help you find on-campus jobs early on, and internships and full-time positions later. Get to know it well!
- Friends and contacts. Do you know someone who already goes to school at UWO? See if they work anywhere on campus and if they know of any job opportunities. They might have some insider information that will help you spot future openings before they are posted.
- Door-to-door approach. After the excitement of move-in day dies down, a lot of students choose to walk around campus to various offices and see if they are hiring. Many offices have applications that they will give you. Even if they aren’t currently looking for someone, they will keep your application on file in case something opens up.
- Email. You can also get a head start on the door-to-door approach by emailing offices before you move in. Tell them a little about yourself and ask if they have any, or know of any, potential job opportunities on campus. Keep these emails as professional as possible! “Hi, Are you hiring?” probably won’t cut it.
In-depth look at Titan Jobs:
If you go to the UW Oshkosh homepage and search Titan Jobs you will find one of the most helpful tools in finding a job. Titan Jobs is UW Oshkosh job posting web site. You can find on-campus jobs, internships, full-time positions and much more on this site. Below are my top tips for using Titan Jobs:
- Don’t be specific when conducting your search. If you are very specific you may miss job opportunities. I would recommend only filling in the “Position type.” If you add “freshman” to the search you may miss out on jobs. If you can prove you’re responsible and hard-working the employer may still hire you despite your age. Also, some employers may not specify an age on their application. Because they don’t outright say “freshman” it won’t show up in the search results. Technology is funny that way.
- Check as many different types of “position types” you can. Just because you have Work Study doesn’t mean Work Study jobs are the only ones you should be looking for. Look at all the different types of jobs. The more jobs you apply for the better chance you have of finding one.
- Plan on spending more than 15 minutes looking on Titan Jobs. Take the time to read of the qualifications and the responsibilities. Get as much information as you can on the job before you apply for it. That way in your cover letter or interview you can prove to them you have the skills they’re looking for.
- Look at the name and title of the person posting the job. Know who is posting the job. Most likely the job poster will be the one conducting your interview. Send them a professional email or phone call depending on what their preference is (their preference will normally be posted by their contact information). Remember that first impressions are super important.
I was going to stop at Titan Jobs – but I felt it might be important to throw in some tips about interviews. I’ll keep it brief because this is already really long!
- Dress nice! Jeans and a T-shirt may have been OK in the past, but now is the time to dust off your dress clothes. Looking professional and presentable is very important. Many office jobs require a lot of interaction with the public. Your employer wants to see that you will take the job seriously and dress the part.
- Do a little research on the department/office you’re applying to. For example, if you want to work in Registration, it will benefit you greatly to know what they do and how you will help them get the job done.
- Avoid sounding desperate. If your employer asks why you want that job, I strongly recommend you avoid saying, “Because I just really need a job.” (Even if it’s true.) Depending on the competition for that particular position, that sentence could hurt your chances. Always think of something positive that shows you’re looking to the improve yourself: “I think this office is really important in making sure everything on campus runs smoothly. I love helping people and I think that all of the skills I talked about earlier will really fit in nicely here.” (See the difference?)
- Keep it professional. The question, “Tell me a little about yourself” does not mean you should go into detail about your personal life. In reality, your employer does want to know about your hobbies and interests, but they’re probably a little more interested in the hobbies/interests/information that pertain to the job for which you are applying.
- Have fun and be yourself! Above all – relax, smile and have a good time. Be personable and warm. It’s all good!
There you have it! I hope these tips will be helpful in your job search. Remember to be professional, do your research, use your resources and make a great first impression. If you have any other questions on how to find an on-campus job leave me a comment.