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How To Land The Perfect Federal Work Study Job

Last academic year (2009-2010) the Department of Education funded federal work study jobs to the tune of $1,174,492,000 (yes, that is over a billion dollars). This coming academic year (2010-2011), DOE is funding work study with $974,492,000. I know these numbers are quite large but the important thing that you need to take a look at is the reduction from one year to the next. This coming academic year you can see that $200 million dollars have been removed from the federal work study program. This reduction is most likely a result of the ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) dollars that are no longer available.

So what does all this mean to you? Well, I am glad you asked. If you are a student that is hoping to work on your campus next year through the federal work study program, you had probably better get a jump start on securing a job. Chances are, the $200 million dollar reduction in federal funding for this program is going to equate to less jobs being available on your campus. So, time is certainly of the essence when trying to find a job and anything you can do to better position yourself as a candidate is going to benefit you in the long-run. Whether you want to be the one to check id’s on the way into the fitness center or get the resume builder position in the Bursar’s office, the following tips should hopefully help you get that dream campus job.

Tips to Landing the Perfect Job On Campus

  • Start Applying As Soon As Possible: Most colleges have some sort of job listing available on their website. In addition, many even have a virtual application process that allows you to select your top three jobs and send an application to each one of them electronically and efficiently. As soon as you have selected your college and know that you want to work there, you will want to start looking through the job listings right away and routinely.
  • Follow-up, Follow-up, Follow-up: Work study jobs are just like any other job in the real world. If you want to get the job, you need to keep your name at the forefront of the person responsible for doing the hiring. Email them, call them, become their facebook friend (well ..maybe not that but you get the gist).
  • Look For The Jobs That Are Not There: In the past few years it seems like most work study jobs get filled by word of mouth and an official job opening is never posted. Take advantage of this by calling or stopping by various departments and offices to see if they plan on hiring anyone. If you get any good leads refer to the follow-up mantra above.
  • Play The Part: What I mean here is that even though you are a college student you don’t always want to look the part.  When you are looking to score a great work study job, try and keep the flip flops, ragged jeans, and chewed up baseball caps to a minimum. After you secure the job you can bring back the normal college attire assuming it conforms to the employer’s dress code.
  • Complete Paperwork in a Timely Manner: In order to qualify for federal work study you first have to complete your FAFSA so that the financial aid office can include it in your financial aid award. Also, double check with the student employment office to see if it is ok if you pre-complete any tax paperwork (W4’s) and or campus documentation required for employment. If you have all this done, it will save a lot of time for the office that hires you and it will show that you are a go-getter with initiative.
  • Draft Up a Resume: It doesn’t have to be anything too fancy at this point. It just needs to reflect any relevant job experience you may have had leading up to college. If you are visiting different offices on campus, you can always leave them with a copy of your resume and your current contact information in case a job opening becomes available. As you continue your college career, you can build upon this resume so that you can have a jump start when you begin the job search again in 4 years.

Working on campus during your college years is a fundamental “rite of passage” that everyone should get the opportunity to experience. Work study jobs help to prepare you for life after college, serve as great resume builders, and help you make connections with people that will provide solid references for you for many years to come.  I hope the information provided above helps you get a leg up in landing that perfect college job and gaining all that it has to offer.. and help you make a couple bucks along the way as well. 😉

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