Getting a job

5 Skills from Your On-Campus Job You Should Highlight

If you have ever held a job on your college campus or are contemplating applying for one, you may be thinking that its only purpose is to get you a few extra dollars to help pay your expenses. The truth is, these jobs could be and are so much more than that. These are work experiences that are quite valuable and that most employers in your future will see as great preparation for the world of work outside of your college.

Frequently, when meeting with students for assistance with their resume, cover letter, or interview preparation, I notice that they tend to overlook the on-campus jobs they held. Those who do list one on their resume tend to put very little information regarding their responsibilities or skills gained on the job. They may mention that they ran errands or answered phones, but very little else. On-campus jobs are so much more than that!

Here are five skills or responsibilities that you may want to market to employers about your on-campus job:

Handling of confidential information
Whether you have access to student data or not, you may be hearing or seeing things, and your supervisor(s) trusts that you will keep that information to yourself because that is the professional and right thing to do.

Ability to easily communicate with diverse population
On a daily basis, you may be talking on the phone or in person with various people, including faculty, administrators, students, parents, alumni, and campus visitors. This is a diverse grouping with many needs. Sometimes, you are balancing several of these conversations at the same time. If you are making connections, helping others, and resolving any issues efficiently and effectively, your communication skills are certainly strong!

Office skills and professionalism
As a student worker, you are learning to show up to work on time, how to dress appropriately, how to correctly greet people, how to use and not hog the copying machine, and how to put your cell phone away! Some of you are utilizing technology like Microsoft Outlook or Excel, or campus databases like Banner or PeopleSoft, and may be answering multiple phone lines. These are all responsibilities that any employer will need and value!

Experienced working in an open setting
In preparation for this blog, I asked one of my own student workers what her thoughts were on this piece. She mentioned that she was recently on an interview for an internship and the employer asked her if she would be comfortable and able to focus on her work in a busy and noisy open/cubicle-style office setting. She was able to confidently say yes, and explain her experience in our office. The ability to work in a noisy atmosphere is quite a skill and clearly valuable to many employers who have this type of workspace.

Ability to multi-task
Depending on your job, your responsibilities may overlap and you may need to be completing various tasks at the same time. Learning to ask your supervisor questions and understanding the priorities of the tasks at hand are essential when multi-tasking. Multi-tasking and doing your job well is not an easy skill to develop. Many people flounder when it comes to this. Try your best, and always ask your supervisor for guidance along the way.

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Suzanne Pike

Suzanne Pike currently serves as the Director of Career Development & Assessment at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. She provides career counseling and job search coaching to students and alumni, as well as handles data management and outcomes reporting. Suzanne previously worked in human resources and in management consulting. She earned a Master of Arts in Public Administration from Syracuse University and a Bachelor of Arts in Public Affairs from the University at Albany.