College is pricey. It doesn’t matter where you go to school–the cost of tuition often requires use of all financial aid. That means other bills such as rent have to be covered by other means. Working in college does not have to mean sacrificing studies or personal life to make the rent.
There are ways for college students to pay bills while in school through flexible employment. In fact, employers now expect college graduates to have relevant work experience outside of the classroom. Aside from the 3 great business ventures for college entrepreneurs covered in a previous post there are ways for students to gain experience, and income, to help sustain them through college and beyond. You can start resume building right now.
Tapping into the internship field is one way to gain experience during college. Some internships are paid. Some are not. Using this opportunity not only gives you real world experience in your field, but it looks good on entry-level applications. In some cases students even get college credit for their internship if the company is connected with the program through the university.
If you aren’t sure if the major is for you, get an internship that will help you decide. In order to make money as an intern you may have to narrow your search a little, and search sooner. The paid gigs often are the first to disappear.
Many students get paid to work one-on-one with professors at the university. The research projects can vary greatly from lab work to filing papers or answering phones to aiding in book research and organization, and these experiences are great for resume building. Undergraduate research is not just for the science fields, contrary to what many students may think. Every department offers the program to students, and thee student is paid through grants or federal funding given to the university.
If a program does not exist for what you want, don’t be afraid to ask someone in the appropriate department. Just because you can’t find it on a job board at school doesn’t mean it isn’t there. In some cases, students create their own research program and are assigned a professor-mentor to help them through the process. Undergraduate research is flexible and looks great on a resume. This work can show employers that the candidate is a motivated self-starter.
Part Time Work
Gaining work experience does not mean a student has to get an internship or undergraduate research credit for their resume. Any part time job can also be applicable as relevant work experience as long as the skills acquired in that position are relevant to the job the graduate has applied for.
For instance, a student headed into real estate or business would benefit from working for a company that focuses on the skills and values needed for the job. College Works Painting hires college students and teaches them how to become professional painters. The skills acquired on jobs like this are relevant to any profession graduates seek after school: time management, teamwork, leadership, and communication skills.
Graduates only need to be creative in understanding what has been gained by the experience in order to make it a pro on resumes, instead of a con. Employers know that they are hiring college graduates before they call them in for an interview. Most graduates don’t have the experience necessary for the job. However, a graduate who can communicate college experience as credible work and skill development are already a step ahead of the rest.