Whether it’s to earn extra income, gain office experience, or develop certain skills, international students at Louisiana State University (LSU) are strongly encouraged to seek campus job opportunities while studying in the USA. For LSU sophomore Patryk, his decision to get a job on campus went beyond money and resume-building reasons, too.
“An on-campus job also teaches maturity, responsibility, punctuality, and integrity,” Patryk says. The computer science major, originally from Poland, also says he has made lasting friendships at his campus jobs, in addition to developing his communication and interpersonal skills.
In your first year at university, you may be getting settled on campus and adjusting to life while studying in the USA. By the time your sophomore or junior year is approaching, you may want to start looking for a campus job and building your resume. So, what is the best way to find a job? What types of jobs are available on campus? What other things should you consider?
We talked to three international students at LSU about their experiences in finding a campus job and their advice for fellow international students.
Why Get a Campus Job?
Having extra spending money for weekend fun is at the top of any college student’s list of reasons to get a job.
“Any dollar earned as a student worker helps lift a little bit of burden off of our parents,” says Patryk, adding that it also “teaches student workers to value the money they earn, as well as the time they spend when it directly translates to earnings.”
Campus jobs are often low-stress ways to learn how work environments operate. While you’re reshelving books at the library or serving up lattes at the coffee shop, you will also be developing personally, socially, and professionally with skills such as:
Time and task management
Leadership and team-building
Technical skills, software programs, and office systems
Networking for future job opportunities
Minh, a finance major from Vietnam, pursued his campus job as a microeconomics supplemental instruction (SI) leader in order to build his resume and lay the foundation for getting a job in finance after graduation.
“My SI job has helped me to mature more in the professional world,” says Minh. “I’ve gained personal development, as well was professional development skills. Constantly using economics also aids in my study field of finance. I was able to learn a lot about leadership, but at the same time, work ethics, time management, [and] financial responsibility.”
What Types of Jobs Are Available on Campus, and Which Is Right for You?
“LSU is a huge campus that offers a plethora of work opportunities,” says Patryk. “Everyone can find something for themselves, which makes working here useful and enjoyable.”
There are hundreds of different types of campus jobs — you can find work in a computer lab, the dining hall, or at the fitness center. You can work as a teaching assistant, lead campus tours, or run the cash register at the campus bookstore. Only you know which job is the best fit for you — and if you are not sure, ask your Shorelight advisor for advice.
When looking at which type of job is right for you, ask yourself:
What skills do I already have?
How will this job help build my resume?
How much does it pay?
How many hours can I work?
Being a tutor or teaching assistant is a popular campus job for international students. Minh found his campus job as a supplemental instruction (SI) leader by attending prep sessions himself. After noticing Minh’s strong communication skills and advanced knowledge set, his SI leader encouraged him to apply. Now, he is on the other side of the desk.
In his role as an SI assistant, Minh leads microeconomics students through review sessions on course content and study strategies to prepare them for assignments and final exams.
I chose my current job because I was able to help a lot of students in their econ class, but at the same time learn valuable personal development skills such as leadership, communications, career decisions, teamwork, etc.” – Minh, finance major, Vietnam
LSU business major Yash is building his resume with sales and customer service experience at the Barnes & Noble LSU Bookstore. As part of the textbook team, he works in sales and operations, and helps students find their required textbooks.
“My job helped me develop skills that are vital in any professional life, such as time management and learning how to conduct yourself professionally,” says Yash, originally from India. “As an international student working in a professional setting, my job also helps me understand and adapt to the local culture and norms. Although customer interactions might not be applicable to all jobs, it is one of the most central responsibilities for me and I appreciate the opportunity [to] learn such skills.”
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What Are the Steps to Getting a Job on Campus?
When a university has a large student population, like LSU’s 34,000+ enrollment, it means they have good processes in place to fill campus jobs. When looking for a campus job, the process is typically:
Search online job listings
Interview with the hiring manager
Accept the job (if offered)
Acquire a Social Security number (SSN), if you do not already have one
In getting his job as an SI leader, Minh says the application process was “very efficient and formal. After submitting my information, I was given a date and time to do an interview with a panel of four members, who were very professional.”
Yash had a similar experience. After applying online and conducting a short interview, he worked with his Shorelight advisor to walk him through the required work documents.
“LSU Global helped me understand what I needed to do to get through the Social Security number process, so it was much easier to obtain it because I knew what to do,” says Yash.
How Shorelight Helps International Students Get Jobs on Campus
The Shorelight student advisor team helps international students with all aspects of adapting to student life and succeeding on campus — including job search assistance like cover letter help and interview tips.
“LSU Global helps students with crafting their resumes, reviewing them, and giving general tips about what potential employers might look for,” says Patryk. “LSU Global also offers workshops, where and how to look for employment, and how to prepare the necessary documents to become eligible for employment.”
“I’ve consulted with Shorelight staff for general employment tips, such as [a] resume look-through and making sure I was in compliance at all times with the requirements to have an on-campus job,” says Minh. “LSU Global staff provide great mental and emotional support, because who’s not worried [about] their first job interview?”
Where Can I Find Campus Jobs?
Once your resume is ready, Patryk says the best place to start your job search is on Handshake, LSU’s campus job portal. All students have access to the database of campus-wide job opportunities and the quick-apply feature makes it easy to submit your resume.
“Most jobs are posted [at] the beginning of the semester when the demand is high,” says Patryk. During one recent search on Handshake, job listings for an IT technician, lifeguard, graphic designer, videographer, parking control, and peer tutor were listed.
Not finding what you want on job sites? One of the best ways to find a campus job is to network. As soon as you tell your friends and professors you are looking for a campus job, you will be top of mind when they hear about an opening. Here are some easy ways to network:
Ask your classmates how they found their job
Ask friends if their campus job location is hiring
Attend career fair events
Look for flyer boards on campus
Contact your dean’s office to see if the department has any open positions
Walk into shops or offices and ask for the hiring manager
Create a LinkedIn profile and make connections
And as always, connect with your Shorelight advisor or career services department to brainstorm more ideas.
Campus Work Guidelines for International Students
Rules for international students working on campus vary by university. At LSU, international students with a F-1 student visa are only allowed to work on campus. They can work up to 20 hours a week while school is in session and up to 40 hours a week during semester breaks.
There is no limit to how much a student can earn in a week. Most students will earn the state minimum wage ($7.25/hour in Louisiana) or just above; graduate-level positions or tech-focused jobs may pay more.
Unpaid research opportunities or work-study positions for academic credit are also available, often through your department or a professor.
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Getting a Campus Job Can Be Life Changing
Working while you’re a full-time student is not for everyone — it can add stress to a full schedule of classes, homework, and socializing — but students who work a campus job will have a big advantage over those who do not. Getting hands-on experience in the American work environment will separate you from your peers when you apply for your first internship or a job after your graduate.
Lifelong friendships, interpersonal skills, computer systems knowledge, grad school references, extra income — the list of reasons to get a campus job is long. Minh agrees, and strongly encourages his fellow international students to consider working while at university.
“A campus job is a perfect opportunity to develop yourself in the professional world — no matter if it’s a cashier job or a highly complex job,” says Minh. “The experience that comes with preparing for the job, work ethics, trainings, skills, financial responsibility, and time management are all going to be helpful … in college, as well as later on in the future after graduation.”
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