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How to Land an On-Campus Job

Fátima breaks down the work-study process.

Fátima breaks down the work-study process.

At Carleton, it is fairly easy to have an on-campus job. I myself have held 7 different positions in the two years that I’ve been in college, and I have often found that I have more job offers than I can take given our 10-hours-a-week limit for work-study. As an incoming freshman, however, the process of finding, applying for, and landing an on-campus job may seem daunting. Fear not! I am here to introduce you to some of the ways you can get a job when you come to Carleton. 

Get an Offer

If your financial aid offer includes a work-study component, and they often do, then the summer before your freshman fall you will be asked to complete a student employment interest form. This will ask some basic questions about your past work experience if you have had any (it is not a requirement, though!), and the type of work environment and tasks that you would most likely enjoy. 

Working as a tutor for the Language Center is one of the jobs that incoming first-years can get assigned to.
Two students sit in the Language Center doing work.

After completing your form, you will get a work-study placement. In my case, I was offered a position as an Admissions Office assistant, which I gladly accepted and continue to hold until this day. Accepting your initial offer, though, is not mandatory. I have met several people who, for whatever reason, decided to reject their initial placement offer. In those cases, you can either wait to get a new placement or take the initiative and seek out a position yourself.

Search and Apply

Perhaps the most common way to find an on-campus job (other than the aforementioned placement process) is to go to the Student Job Postings website and apply for a position of interest there. On this website, you can scroll through all the currently available positions across campus and learn more about the job description and requirements, if applicable. This is how I first found out about the Mail Services Clerk position available during winter break. I then reached out to the named supervisor to inquire about the job and after a casual conversation with him, I got the job! 

Other more specialized or highly demanded positions may have more formal application processes. For example, when I applied to work as a writer for the Communications Office, I had to send out my resume, a cover letter, and samples of my writing. This was followed by an interview with the supervisor, much more similar to how a real job interview would play out. Regardless of the specific stipulations of each job, the Job Postings website is a fantastic place to find about openings around campus year-round. 

A verticle capture of a laptop opened to one of the author's other Admissions Blog posts.
This past fall I was an Admissions Fellow, a job I applied for!

Directly Ask

If you are feeling brave, then this unofficial job search method is for you! On occasion, I have heard of students who are searching for an on-campus job but wish to work in a particular department or under the guidance of a particular supervisor but none of the jobs listed on the Student Employment website match their criteria. In those cases, individuals will opt for the direct approach: just ask! If, for example, you have built a relationship with a professor with whom you wish to do research, or if you know you want to be involved in the upkeep of the greenhouse, you can go directly to them and ask them if they are looking for someone to help. Even if they cannot immediately offer you a job, this will let them know that you are interested in working with them and they will keep you in mind for when they do! 


Keep in mind that this is not a comprehensive list of all the ways in which you can find and get an on-campus job. Some of the positions I have held, I did not even look out for! I first started as a Spanish Research Assistant because Vera, a professor in the department, was looking for native speakers to help her out and somebody mentioned my name, so she reached out to me! Ultimately, what you should know is that getting an on-campus job is super easy. If you ever want one, you will most certainly find it.

As a junior, Fátima (she/her) is excited to continue her pursuit of a SOAN major and (hopefully!) Educational Studies, Latin American Studies, and Cross-cultural Studies minors. Outside class, she enjoys her leadership roles with Fellowship in Christ and the Undergraduate Journal for Humanistic Studies. In her free time, Fátima likes spending time with her mentee, poorly playing the piano, watching cartoons, and desperately missing her dog, Cosmo. Meet the other bloggers!