You College Job Search: Student Leadership Jobs on Campus
Your college job search should include looking on campus for jobs, and a special category that can provide even more benefits: student leadership jobs.
What are these? I’ll explain a few of them below, so let me just say I don’t mean running for student body president or vice president. An elected position may work out for some, but you’ll find more to student leadership jobs that just that category.
On Campus Versus Off Campus
When you need a job in college or for the summer between semesters, you have plenty of places to look and apply. On-campus jobs offer some helpful options, like just understanding what you have to do as a student.
Also, some on-campus jobs allow you to do some studying during work hours if your work load allows for it. And when finals come, you can usually make arrangements.
That’s not to say off campus jobs never work out. Some of these offer excellent opportunities as well. Just don’t write off the on campus without looking them over.
On to student leadership jobs in your college job search.
What is Student Leadership?
Student leadership jobs include positions like resident assistant or RA, student job and career counseling, peer advisement, and community or activities coordinators.
For instance, take a look at this page at UC Berkeley for student leadership paid positions and other opportunities.
This list has over 20 paid positions and 5 volunteer positions. I’ll explain how the volunteer positions can help your college job search in a minute.
A quick search I did shows similar positions at Arizona State, Florida State, and most other schools. These positions offer a great opportunity to learn and participate in leadership, and to help you pay for tuition and other expenses.
Let’s look at a couple of the jobs just for a cross section view of what you might do, then I’ll cover a few things about schedule and openings for your college job search.
Resident Assistant (RA)
An RA lives in the dorms to bring some leadership and guidance to the students there. And hopefully to keep it quiet enough so you can still study!
RA’s usually have to be available for a certain number of hours per week or day to run their area of responsibility, such as one floor of a dormitory. You would have to make some rounds to see that nothing is on fire, people are behaving more or less respectfully, and obeying most of the rules.
You might also have to plan a few little activities to help people get to know others and participate in the university community. You would probably also spend some time counseling new students if needed. And you would answer to professional staff employed full time by the university.
Usually, RA’s have to be older than entering students. My RA didn’t live in the dorms before getting his job. Depending on your school, you might or might not receive pay. In nearly every case, you will receive room and board – rent and food – as your pay.
Of course the food is debatable if you cafeteria is like mine was ;o(
You get some leadership experience, you get to usher people out of the building when a fire alarm is pulled, you know everyone, people bring problems to you, and you get a free room. You can study while being and RA. Also, RA’s sometimes have other jobs to bring in actual cash as well. Not a bad deal.
And having a job like this may keep you from having to borrow more money for college in a student loan. Or 2 student loans.
Student Advisor (SA) or Peer Advisor (PA)
Let’s say you get a job as a SA or PA. You would have some cool benefits and see a great cross section of students.
For example, you might review student resumes for form or grammar or spelling errors. You might administer career choice tests. You can probably also take all the career choice tests you want to take for yourself, as well.
When things go slow, you will probably be able to study. Does this sound terribly hard so far?
Other students would come in and ask you for help with some ideas or plans for their future. You probably will have some resources provided by the university that you can offer them, and then give them some additional advice.
After seeing a few dozen kids, you will learn a lot about counseling and about careers yourself! This job offer some good opportunities to develop yourself and to help others. Great not only for your college job search, but for afterwards.
Volunteer Positions – the not so secret back door
Here’s a tip for you to move ahead with this type of college job search: volunteer.
Seriously, by volunteering you get an opportunity to participate and learn leadership. Then, when you apply for positions, you can cite your volunteer work and possibly get a recommendation letter from someone working in the department now or recently. It makes a big difference. Give it a try.
Timing and Other Concerns
This may not sound so great, but often you have to turn in your application early in the calendar year, like January – March for an RA position, then get hired in late spring and go to training before school starts. But that is just an estimate based on a friend who did it.
You should also watch for untimely vacancies in you college job search. Things change, right? People leave for reasons they didn’t anticipate. You may get a chance you didn’t expect, or in a similar job you didn’t know about.
Another interesting fact about these jobs: most people don’t keep them for years, but only for a year and then they move on. This gives newcomers a great opportunity to get in and try it out.
Keep Looking and Networking
These days it can take some serious work in your college job search to find what you want. You may as well apply for the jobs you really want as well as the ones you think you can get. You just might surprise yourself.