Summer is here and that means that many young adults are preparing for their first year of college (or even another year of college). College years are an important part of any young adult’s life. Not only is this the most popular phase in one’s life to establish a career track, it also is the place where young adults are faced to take on many of life’s financial challenges.
Unfortunately, too many young adults do not take college seriously. They enjoy the parties, late-nights, and other events that will always remain unspoken. College is similar to a prison to many. You put in your time in order to get one piece of paper, which will ultimately grant you freedom – or so it seems. Getting a college degree does not give you a free pass to landing a high-paying job. In fact, many people graduate college without a job and are therefore forced to live with their parents after graduating just to survive.I don’t know about you, but I would rather set myself up for success than failure.
Your chances at success immediately following college will be greatly increased with not only getting a job in college, but finding the best job while in school. While compensation may be an important immediate need, there are other things to consider when getting a job in college. While it may not seem like it, there are many options for employment in college.
Jobs Available to College Students
Pizza Delivery – Pizza delivery is one of those cliche jobs to have while in college. Yet, it isn’t without a reason. Between the almost-guaranteed free pizza at the end of the night and potential tips, it can be a smart job to have in order to pay your way through school. Yet, it might not give you the experience necessary for landing that salary job right out of school.
Office Job – Getting an office position, whether it’s on campus or not, will provide you with the experience that you are lacking as a pizza delivery person. Most office-jobs want relevant experience and this would give you that, without a doubt. Yet, don’t expect to be earning a lot of money for the menial tasks that you are most likely to be assigned. Filing, answering phones, responding to emails are not the most challenging tasks and will be compensated appropriately.
Residential Life - Working in “Res Life” can be a great opportunity for most students. The nature of the job will force you develop both administrative and inter-personal skills. The tasks associated with being a live-in supervisor of some sort (whether it’s a resident assistant managing the floor or resident director supervising the residence hall), can provide necessary experience that can transfer to a variety of career opportunities. While the on-call hours of an RA or RD may not seem appealing to everyone, the flexibility can allow you to prioritize your studies and even allow a motivated person to seek additional employment.
Criteria for Best Job in College
While there are certainly more options available than the ones mentioned above, this should give you an idea of the important things to consider when finding employment while in school. If it’s not that obvious, here is a list of things to consider when looking for the best job in college (in no particular order):
- Immediate Compensation – How much will you get paid? Will you get paid for time off? Will this be enough to pay your bills in college?
- Tasks Required – Will you enjoy working in this position? Will you dread going to work? Are you able to perform at a high level or are the necessary tasks beyond your abilities?
- Schedule – Will the employer be willing and able to work around your class schedule OR will you be forced to take certain courses in order to prioritize work? Can you get time off in a moment’s notice? Will you be forced to work nights and weekends, thereby hindering your social life?
- Experience – Will this job give you the experience necessary to succeed after college? Is this position in a similar field to your major? Will this experience translate well into your desired career track?
Selecting the best job means more than finding the highest paying job (another reason why the highest paying job is not the best one). I believe that the best job in college is one that will give you experience in your desired field (thereby increasing your chance of landing your dream job), while at the same time also giving you other options. I found this to be true in my life as I went the Residential Life route. I not only developed a lot of professional skills, but I succeeded and was even offered a professional position as a Residence Hall Director my senior year in college. This as a result, set me in a great financial position at graduation from college, allowing me to establish an emergency fund without having to make any hard sacrifices. Perhaps more importantly, it provided me with excellent work experience (with references) that allowed me to get a job after graduation.
What do you think is the best job for college students? If you already graduated college, how did your job affect your career path?