College is expensive.
This concept is not a new one; we all know, little things add up quickly. We like to indulge on late night snacks, the daily Starbucks coffee, and the occasional concert or two, in addition to the cost of tuition, fees, books, living expenses, and maybe even the occasional parking ticket. The university experience may seem priceless, but when you add it up, the average student has to look for ways to offset these expenses. This reality often results in the practical consideration of part-time employment.
According to the U.S. Census of 2011, nationwide there are 19.7 million undergraduate students, and 72 percent of these scholars are employed. On the Auburn University campus, more than 5,000 students are employed on-campus, and many more off-campus in our local Auburn and Opelika community. These students have embraced the challenge of working while enrolled, and while it does offset their surmounting expenses, there are other reasons to pursue part-time work.
So, other than money, why work?
Build Transferable Skills
Employers look to hire recent college graduates with demonstrated competency. Employers want graduates with experience – “2 to 3 years” is often the way it is cited in the endless entry-level job descriptions sorted through during the full-time job search. The question often considered for recent graduates is, “How do we gain experience if they will not hire us?” This answer has been knocking on your door the entire time; the experience does not necessarily have to be directly in line with the position you are seeking, rather you need to translate the skills gained from part-time employment, internships, and other valuable experiences into ways you are prepared to take on this new challenge. Part-time employment (regardless of the industry) demonstrates your ability to verbally communicate, work in a team structure, solve problems, and prioritize (to name a few). It is important that you sell yourself accurately when the time comes to apply for your full-time position by demonstrating these skills on your resume and cover letter.
When considering whether or not a college job is for you, the big decision should not necessarily be where you work, rather how often; balancing your schedule and becoming an expert time manager is not always an easy task. With academic demands alongside co-curricular activities, initially it may appear that part-time employment may only add to those stressors rather than alleviate your burdens. However, part-time employment can assist you with balancing your time and help you find moderation in the midst of an otherwise hectic schedule. Auburn University encourages student employees to work no more than a total of 20 hours per week in an effort to maintain a solid focus on academic programs and to promote academic success.
Create a Social Network
When we think of social networking, our first thoughts may go to the unreasonable amount of social media apps we continuously glance at throughout the day. However, think outside the realm of your phone or laptop when considering the creation of your social network. There is some truth in the old adage, “It is not always about what you know -- it is who you know.” Through part-time employment and other skill building opportunities, you can start to shape a network of connections that will be great references and mentors throughout your career.
Now that you have considered reasons to pursue part-time employment, you are most likely anxiously trying to figure out the next steps to finding your ideal job. The Career Center provides a unique service called the Tiger Recruiting Link which assists students with locating on and off-campus part-time employment. Check out the Tiger Recruiting Link at www.jobs.auburn.edu; sign in with Auburn user ID and password and boom! Jobs are at your fingertips, waiting for you to apply.
The extra money you will earn as a part-time employee will certainly be nice, but the other benefits you will gain will greatly enhance your college experience and better prepare you for what is next beyond Auburn University. So, stop sitting here reading this – get on the Tiger Recruiting Link and find a job!
By: Lauren Hobbs
Student Employment Coordinator