Classes are in full swing now, and you are hopefully settling into your new weekly schedule. Classes, homework, studying, student organization stuff, work, and friends all need to fit into your life. While all are important, not all of them are always treated that way. From some of my observations, campus jobs often take the hit. It’s not that students don’t show up to work, it’s often that they don’t treat the work with much respect. This is a wrong move.
No matter what the work is, every job is important. Even seemingly simple, boring tasks can have an important impact on your brand and your career ahead.
Prove that work ethic
The more I learn about generations, the more I realize that every young, up-and-coming generation is knocked for a lack of work ethic. My baby boomer boss remembers the “lazy” label when his generation entered the workplace. Lazy was a big part of people’s impressions of Gen X in the ’80s and ’90s. And the label has since resurfaced to be applied to Millennials. Accurate or not, this negative stereotype could impact how a future employer views you. (See my previous post on this exact idea.)
Put work ethic concerns to rest by being a superstar student employee. Whether it’s answering phones, making copies, or running errands, do it without complaint. Offer to help with little things around the office, especially when you don’t have much to do. While many people say they have a strong work ethic, it’s much more important to demonstrate it through real examples. If you work hard, you’ll have plenty to talk about.
Move up that ladder
Some campus jobs require a little more experience to secure them. Take, for instance, student leader jobs. Many of these types of roles either require or prefer you to have more experience around campus. So if you think that your basic campus job is irrelevant, think again. It could serve as a stepping stone to more advanced opportunities.
If you work hard and prove yourself to be a responsible employee, it might be possible to increase your responsibilities. Maybe you start out just making copies, but then you are given the opportunity to work directly with a professional staff member or professor on a project. Maybe you start off answering the phones, but you are then asked to coordinate an office’s social media efforts. As people get to know you better and feel secure in your abilities, they might give you more advanced opportunities for growth.
It’s all about who you know
One of the best parts of a campus job is that if you get one early in your college career, it can often be a position you hold throughout your time in school. Working for a prolonged period with the same people gives them an opportunity to really know you. They get to watch your growth as a student and as an employee. When it comes time to find an internship or job, you will have a fabulous reference.
Laura serves as Internship Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the office of Career & Leadership Development. In this role, Laura advises students who are pursuing internships, assists employers with intern recruitment, and supports university faculty who oversee academic internships. She also provides students with job search readiness assistance through presentations, individual counseling, and social media. Laura earned her bachelors degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she majored in French and Political Science, and she received her masters degree in Counseling from UW-Whitewater. To learn more about Laura, read her blog, follow her on Twitter, or connect on LinkedIn.