I’d venture a guess that the majority of HBCU college students hold part time jobs. In 2018, over 70% of all full time students were working.
The majority of those working students are putting in 15-35 hours weekly. Many of those students who are working are holding down on campus jobs.
Whether enrolled in 2-year, 4-year or a vocational training or career education program, on campus jobs are often at a premium. College students try to land them early in the semester. In one of the career centers where I worked we planned job fairs to help students find those on campus jobs within the first few weeks.
Sometimes college students don’t treat those on campus jobs seriously. Many students and sometimes even the departments that hire them, do not consider on campus jobs to be serious work. It is not unusual to hear college students say something like – “Oh, I just work on campus.” Aside from the fact that no one ever “just works” anywhere, since all work is important, on campus jobs offer significant benefits for students. Putting aside the schedule flexibility and the really short commute, college students can gain real advantages by working in an on campus jobs.
Benefits of on campus jobs
Meet college and university staff beyond the classroom
Most college professionals love to work with college students. University employees are always willing to support exemplary student workers with letters of recommendations and will even provide personal references for jobs and internships.
Gain real, marketable skills in your preferred career area
College campuses are just like any other organization with employees working in every functional area. For example, business students seeking real work experiences can find internships and on campus jobs in accounting, finance, HR, marketing and/or communications offices. Some offices will keep confidential work off limits to students, but there are still plenty of assignments that students can do.
Learn about the job search process
Many campus administrators put college students through the actual hiring process and require resumes and interviews. Students can build their job search skills as they apply for on campus jobs. Many campuses have formal application processes and students have to do more than just show up to get hired. If there are a lot of applicants for a job, students will have to participate in a competitive job search.
Develop professional soft skills necessary for workplace success
Office etiquette, workplace social savvy, communication skills, following instructions etc. are all valuable skills that college students need to learn. At the urging of many college career centers, some campuses are taking a more serious look at how they model the real world. The students who work in on campus jobs will build skills that look good on their resumes.
I was part of the rollout of an on campus jobs initiative at my own alma mater’s career center. Since then I have introduced the concept of a professional job application process to other colleges. The students have a much better employee experience because of it.
On campus jobs are real jobs too. College students should use the opportunity to develop real work experience, build networking relationships and learn real job skills.