Insider's tips to finding jobs on and off campus
By Colleen Toomey
WWU University Communications
In difficult economic times, more students are searching for jobs on and off campus. Caryn Regimbal, manager of the WWU Student Employment Center, and Brianne Kumar, WWU senior and personnel director for the Associated Students of WWU discuss student jobs opportunities and tips for getting the right job.
How would you describe the job market for students on campus?
Click here for
The Student Employment Center for more on work study and off-campus jobs.
The Associate Students of WWU for more on AS jobs
Caryn Regimbal: Student employment on campus is decentralized and departments handle their own hiring processes. I am hearing from some departments that they are receiving more applicants than usual for some of their positions. The number of non-work study jobs on campus is historically larger than the work study jobs. Out of the more than 1,800 student jobs on campus, roughly 600 are work-study funded. These numbers do not include Dining Services positions.
Brianne Kumar: The Associated Students (AS) did not see a large hit from the budget cuts because we are funded by student fees. There is always potential (for cuts), however we have been very fortunate this year. Within the AS, there was absolutely an increase in applications and competitiveness this year.
How have work study positions faired in comparison to regular on campus jobs?
Regimbal: Though the State Work Study allocation Western received was reduced roughly 31% from last year, Western hascreated an Institutional Work Study program that closely matches the loss in the State Work Study allocation. The Federal Work Study allocation received from the U.S. Department of Education has remained steady for several years. As a result, we are heading into the 2010-2011 academic year with roughly the same Work Study funding as we received in 2009-2010.
Are students using on campus resources effectively to find jobs?
Regimbal: Many students on campus are aware of our website postings and utilize them to find employment opportunities. In conversations I have with students, many of them refer to our website as the first place they look for employment opportunities. We do make several referrals a week to the Career Services Center for students to receive help on resume writing and interview skills.
Kumar: The AS hires for each school year during the previous spring quarter. Our hiring process was online this year, opening doors for new students and students who had never heard about the "Associated Students" before. Most of our salaried positions are for people who have been on campus for a quarter before; but this year we saw a huge increase in transfer students applying because of the accessibility of applications on line.
What should students and families anticipate with employment opportunities in the next academic year?
Regimbal: Every year, students can anticipate needing to be flexible and taking initiative when finding employment opportunities both on campus and in the Bellingham community. Students should be prepared to submit resumes when requested. And it is more important than ever for students to expect to dress and behave in a professional manner when applying for a position, since they may be competing with more applicants.
What benefits do off-campus jobs offer?
Regimbal: Students may have the opportunities to do greater skill-building for their future careers in working with off campus businesses and organizations, as well as possibly earn higher wages than on-campus. My advice: Do the job you do receive to the best of your abilities. You never know when that position may lead to another, with additional responsibilities and better pay. Employers use our website specifically looking for college students.
What other advice would you give student job seekers?
Regimbal: First impressions matter. Be professional when you make the first contact with a prospective employer. Watch your language and present yourself in a professional manner. Proofread your resume. Dress appropriately when meeting with prospective employers, even if you are just turning in the application. Follow up on your initial contact if you haven't heard anything after one week.
Kumar: Research the job you are applying for! So many people don't look at the description of the job. This is incredibly unprofessional and we look at that kind of thing. Additionally, when you are writing a cover letter, make sure to answer all of the questions. We always ask students if they would like to tell anything else about themselves and, more often than not, students don't take this opportunity to do so. Always tell us something more than we ask.