Help Wanted: Finding Part-Time Work
Campus services help connect students with jobs
Abraham Benavides hit the jackpot when it comes to jobs, as one of the lucky 3,500 students at BU eligible for work-study. He’s hoping to land a position as a chemistry tutor at the Educational Resource Center. In the past, he’s had to scramble for odd jobs to pay bills, once allowing researchers to test his visual memory at the VA Boston Healthcare System in Jamaica Plain.
“I was a guinea pig,” says Benavides (CAS’14).
Most students do not qualify for work-study, the federally funded program that pays them for on- or off-campus work, and must instead rely on their own ingenuity to find part-time jobs to help pay tuition and everyday expenses. They search online, pound the pavement, and rely on contacts to find work.
Many students remain unaware of the ways BU can help.
The Student Employment Office and the Center for Career Development provide leads to students searching for part-time work. And the College of Communication, the School of Management, the College of Engineering, and the School of Hospitality Administration all have career offices that help their enrolled students find jobs during the school year
The Student Employment Office, on the second floor of 881 Comm Ave, posts part-time jobs, or Job Board Listings, on the Student Link throughout the school year. All full- and part-time students have access to the listing, which provides job descriptions and employer contact information for jobs from administrative and computer support to child care and retail positions. Most jobs are in greater Boston and are accessible by public transportation. Salaries range from the $8 per hour minimum wage up to $20-plus per hour, depending on the skills required.
“Don’t be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone when applying for jobs,” advises Bethany Sheldon, a student job service manager at the Student Employment Office. “We post many very diverse jobs. Take a look at everything that is posted and apply to all that are interesting to you.”
Once registered with the office, students can also apply for Quickie Jobs, one-time or short-term jobs posted in the office or on the Student Link. On a recent afternoon, postings ran the gamut, from someone seeking an art student to restore a still-life painting to another offering $50 for blood donations to yet another trying to locate a cartoonist for a child’s birthday party. (This is where Benavides found his paid guinea pig experience.) A prominently posted sign warns that the office does not perform background checks or endorse or sanction any employer or company on its listings. “Students are advised to use good judgment when accepting a position,” advises another sign.
At the other end of campus, the Center for Career Development, on the third floor of 19 Deerfield St., aids students with their job hunt in a variety of ways. Counselors provide advice on résumés, cover letters, and interview skills. The office also sponsors workshops and manages BU CareerLink, an online posting available to alumni and all students searching for volunteer opportunities, as well as paid and unpaid jobs and internships. A recent posting listed part-time openings in retail, research, tutoring, and hospitality. Hourly wages are similar to positions posted through the Student Employment Office.
Once enrolled, freshmen are automatically entered into BU CareerLink and are encouraged to complete their online profiles. “This is part of what they’re paying for to come to BU,” says Patty Piquette, the center’s associate director of employer relations. “I don’t think all students truly realize the value of CareerLink until later on.”
Prepared, informed, and entrepreneurial students are the most successful at landing a job, says center director Kimberly DelGizzo. “We know the job market is tough for everybody out there,” she says, “but there really are some wonderful opportunities.”
And if earning extra cash is not a priority, DelGizzo recommends getting an unpaid internship or a volunteer position like those found on BU CareerLink and at the Community Service Center, which allow students to “develop transferable skills and potentially get them into their field of interest.”
Beyond campus services, students have found jobs by searching Craigslist, by networking, and by scanning the classified section of local newspapers.
Budding graphic designer Courtney Remm (CFA’13) found freelance work by working her connections—even at the risk of making herself a nuisance. “It’s important to be really in front of people as much as possible,” she says.
Lindsay Bradbery (CFA’12) found her part-time waitressing jobs the old-fashioned way: walking down the street, popping into restaurants, and speaking to people working there. “That can be more effective” than searching online for a job, she says.
No matter what your strategy for finding part-time work, experts stress that first impressions are critical. “Professionalism is a very important part of the job search,” Sheldon says. It’s important to use proper phone etiquette, she says, to avoid using slang or acronyms in cover letters or emails, and to dress appropriately for interviews.
Piquette advises students to brush up on interviewing skills and to have sharp, up-to-date résumés that have been reviewed in the Center for Career Development or their school’s career office to ensure there aren’t errors.
Benavides has some parting advice of his own for job seekers: “Don’t be someone you’re not.”
The Center for Career Development will host a Career Expo on Thursday, October 13, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the GSU’s Metcalf Hall, 775 Comm Ave, second floor. Attendees will meet internship and job recruiters. The event is open to all students and alumni.2 Comments