Getting a Job While In School

Part-time and summer jobs help you pay for school and are also a good way for you to get work experience.

Deciding Whether to Get a Job

Ask yourself a few key questions to help you decide whether or not to get a job:

  • Do you need money for school or other expenses?
  • Do you have enough free time to work?
  • Will your job impact your ability to complete your classes and other school work?
  • Will the job give you experience in a field that interests you?

If you have free time, you should figure out how many hours you can work and what sort of work you’d like. Students often work 5 – 15 hours per week. There are many different types of jobs available, such as working in a computer lab, doing research for professors, or working in the library.

Finding a Job

The first place you should check is your campus career office. It will have lists of jobs that are available and the staff should be able to direct you to other places that can help you find work.

Your college’s website may also have a section on helping students find jobs. For example, the University of Missouri has a career center that lists jobs for students and the Work-Study Employment Office helps find jobs for students who get work-study as part of their financial aid.

If you search the internet for “job listings,” you should also find jobs available in your area.

Finding work-study jobs

If you have work-study as part of your financial aid, it will be easier for you to get a job. That’s because some jobs are only made available to students who get work-study. To find these jobs, it is especially important that you check with your campus career office, because they may not be listed anywhere else.

One of the best ways to find a job is to talk to people. Talk to your friends, family, professors, and other people you know. If you know somebody who has a good job, see if that person knows about job openings at their workplace. If you like a company or organization and want to work there, contact them! Even if they don’t have any job openings, you may be able to arrange an informational interview, where you can learn more about the type of work they do and how to get a job there or at a similar company in the future.

Internships

An internship is a program in which you work in a field that you’re interested in, usually for a semester. There are 3 big differences between an internship and a normal job:

  1. Internships are designed to give you training while you work, meaning that you often get exposed to higher level and more interesting activities.
  2. Not all internships pay.
  3. Many internships are only available to students.
Benefits of an internship

Doing an internship has major benefits because as an intern you can:

  • Gain valuable work experience
  • Have the opportunity to use your present skills as well as learn new ones
  • Learn whether or not you like working in a certain field
  • Put the internship experience on your resume
  • Make professional contacts and friends who can give advice and help you get a job
  • Get paid
  • Gain confidence in your own ability

A great place to begin looking for an internship is your school’s career development office. Their staff will know about local businesses and organizations offering internships. You can also talk to friends, family, and professors. Another option is to directly contact companies whose work interests you to see if they will have internship openings in the future. Generally, you need to apply for an internship about 6 months before you plan to begin it.

  • The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) is a federal program that works to connect students with disabilities and employers for summer internships and jobs.
  • Emerging Leaders is a program of the National Business and Disability Council that helps place students in internships at many large companies.
  • Entry Point is a program for students in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math that helps them find internships at employers such as Google, Lockheed, NASA, and IBM.