As students get further into college or gain more responsibility, they might need to get a job to pay for tuition, living expenses, groceries, loans and much more.
To help students find and prepare for jobs on or off-campus, The Daily Nebraskan has put together a list of ways to search for jobs, prepare for interviews and get a job.
Before jumping into job searching prepping materials for those interviews, it is important to note, Career Services is the go-to place on campus for any and all information pertaining to jobs.
Emily Wilber, assistant director for career education and peer programming, says Career Services offers each student a career coach to get started in their professional career.
“A career coach can help a student from freshmen on and beyond college, with anything related to their career development,” Wilber said. “So for example, if they are not sure what they want to study, they don't have a declared major yet, or they have a major but they're not sure what they want to do with it. In terms of a career or professionally, a career coach can help them to explore what some of the possibilities are, to do some exercises and activities to kind of self assess and reflect on what fits for them.”
Students will find their career coach as soon as they sign up for Handshake. Career coaches can assist with finding events for your interested career field, put you in contact with employers directly and even help you write up a statement for applying to graduate school down the road, Wilber said.
The process of searching for the perfect introduction or post-college job can be stressful, but many resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and beyond can assist with the process.
There are many job search apps that can help expedite the process, such as LinkedIn, Handshake, Glassdoor, Indeed, CareerLink, Monster, ZipRecruiter and Snagajob. Wilber says Handshake is a big tool used by Career Services to assist students with building a profile to get yourself out there.
“You want to activate your Handshake account,” Wilber said. “So if you are looking for a campus or part-time job, you can access those listings easily … [you also] start hearing about other career events and opportunities that come along.”
Handshake, and the other apps listed, will offer ways to make connections and find internships or shadowing opportunities. Each app should automatically add the user to an email list for job and internship opportunities.
Students can also find opportunities in their degree program’s online newsletter or by asking their advisor to add them to their college’s email list if they are not already receiving the emails.
Another way to find opportunities is through a business’ social media or website. Students can email the contacts on websites of companies they might be interested in with any questions or concerns, too.
If a student is looking for on-campus opportunities but does not know if a location is hiring, the UNL employment website details what is currently available.
Jobs frequently available to students include:
Food vendors in the Nebraska Union and Nebraska East Union, including Starbucks on both campuses, Steak ‘n Shake and Valentino’s
Nebraska Unions, including the front desk and office workers
The Daily Nebraskan, including reporters, photographers or videographers, social media writers, illustrative artists, graphic designers and copy editors, regardless of major
Dining Services, including dining halls, Husker Heroes and Herbie’s Markets
University Housing, including resident assistants
Peer mentoring, including Emerging Leaders, First Husker and transfer peer mentoring
Teaching assistants are students who are asked specifically by teachers to help teach a course
University Libraries, including the Digital Learning Center, Dunkin’ Donuts and desk assistants
New Student Enrollment, including orientation leaders, international welcome members and First Husker mentors
The Scarlet Hotel, a newly constructed Marriott-affiliated hotel opens in October 2021, tailored for hospitality, restaurant and tourism management students
Internships and shadowing
Internships and shadowing are a great way to test out a career field. These opportunities offer an insight into an environment and can help guide you to bigger opportunities within a company or get a leg up for a different job.
If you are not sure if a position is right for you, shadowing can allow you to follow a worker or workers in the organization and “shadow” them to learn what a typical day looks like. You can learn the ins and outs of a position, ask questions directly or get advice on getting a position before potentially committing to the field.
Internships are similar, in a way, but they have more responsibility and put you hands-on into the position. Not all internships pay for work, but they can still offer great learning opportunities. These can also provide professional experience, which may be required for some careers.
Every student needs to know how to make a resume and cover letter. Having these at the ready will help you with achieving your dream job, and ensuring everything is laid out in a professional and organized manner will make companies excited to hire you.
Career Services offers classes and a plethora of resources to assist in getting these pieces ready but before going to Career Services, here are some tips and tricks to get you started:
The resume — Resumes are used to tell employers what you know and how you know it. The resume will include jobs, education, skills and contact information. Wilbur says a college resume will look different from a high school resume.
“High school resumes tend to just be a list of every activity and that's the right kind of resume to have if you're applying to colleges, and universities,” Wilber says. “But employers are looking more for descriptions of your activities, not just a list.”
As Wilber said, a high school resume may just look like a list of activities you have done, so start there if you don’t already have something started. After thinking over prior experience, you should include any scholarships or awards you have received, languages you can speak and activities that apply to the desired job. Also think about people you know, including current or past employers or professors, who may be willing to write recommendations for you.
Having a document with all of the pieces you can think of separate from the actual resume can help in the future if you need a different part for a specific job. Add anything you can think of now and then add any experience you gain along the way.
According to Campus Career Services’ “Guide to Jobs”, take time to write a blurb about previous jobs using active verbs to describe what was done in the job. Use past tense verbs to describe the job if no longer employed and present tense verbs for a current job, according to the guide. The resume is personal, so do not be afraid to brag a bit. Descriptions for jobs should be one or two sentences since resumes are preferably one page long.
When organizing the pieces of a resume, the resume guide says layout should follow name and contact information at the top, followed by schooling, jobs, volunteer work, awards and finally references. Get creative with how the resume looks, but do not let it get messy. A font smaller than 10 can be hard to read, and anything larger than 12 might not allow a lot of space for every piece desired on the page, the guide says. Everything should be recent or relevant to the desired position.
The guide also describes skills; including problem-solving, the ability to work in a team and communication skills, which can be used for any job. If you have trouble writing up the descriptions of what you did in a job, the guide has a list of verbs for the specific skill used at a job. And if the resume looks bare right now for newer students in the job market, do not worry, time will equal more experience.
Cover letter — A cover letter is not necessary for every job, but as you get further into the college experience or in life it might become relevant and some jobs require one for application. The “Guide to Jobs” says a cover letter explains why you deserve a job and goes into more detail on the experience that qualifies you for a position. The cover letter goes with a resume to an employer to tell them why they should hire you.
The basic layout of a cover letter, according to the guide, starts with your name and contact information at the top of the page. Next, address the letter with the company’s address and the department or contact who will be conducting the interview. In the first paragraph, explain the position that was found and what is interesting about it. Layout the skills possessed for the position.
The next paragraph goes into how life has prepared you for the specific position. Further explain how the before-mentioned skills will be applied to the position. The third paragraph can further explain some details from the first paragraph or go into detail about how the position could be improved after being hired. An optional fourth paragraph can be used to explain something on a resume, but don’t repeat information. In the last paragraph, take time to thank the employer for their time and complete the letter with a signature. The guide from Career Services offers extra tips and tricks to get a cover letter ready for your desired job.
This is also only a potential template, feel free to experiment to what matches the desired job field and to you, personally.
If you are new to the interview experience or are a bit rusty, have no worries — the DN has you covered. To prepare for the interview, it is helpful to lay out all of the pieces needed for an interview. Have two copies of a resume and cover letter ready, and make sure to have an outfit laid out. Interview outfits don’t need to be overly fancy, but dress nicely and think of what the employer might want and what the job entails.
Students will want to practice some of the possible questions that could be asked when they go in. Employers ask questions relating to the position applied for and love to ask specific job scenarios for insight on how it would be handled if hired. One tip is if asked about strengths and weaknesses, tailor those to the specific job and describe how you could turn a weakness into a strength.
UNL Career Services is a great way to get help with a resume, cover letter or figuring out anything to do with interviewing. Located in the Nebraska Union Room 225, staffers can assist with a fake interview or assist with preparing all of the pieces needed for an interview.
“We have resources, activities, systems, platforms, all geared to help [students] prepare, develop, explore careers, and what it means to them,” Wilber said. “And so that's a great place to start because it also will help them find the team in their college."