Long-term goals are a consideration, as are day-to-day concerns, like transportation.
Ashton Yang’s first job in college was steaming milk and pouring espresso at the on-campus coffee shop. But after a steady progression of part-time work, the cellular and molecular biology major at Seattle Pacific University landed a full-time job as a research scientist in Seattle after graduation.
But it wasn’t always easy.
“It was definitely challenging, especially in quarters where I had two lab classes and also worked in the lab,” Yang says. “Since being in a lab is where I feel passionate and I’ve wanted to pursue this for a long time, it hasn’t felt like a burden.”
If you’re looking for a part-time job, here are four questions to consider.
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Do you want a work-study job?
Work-study jobs on campus are a popular choice, as any money students make through the job does not count as income on their FAFSA and therefore won’t affect their financial aid package. Even if work-study is not part of your financial aid, jobs on campus are still an option.
Some off-campus jobs also qualify as work-study programs. While Yang’s part-time job her senior year, a research role at the Center for Infectious Disease Research, qualified as a work-study position, not every off-campus position does, so check with your school.
Do you want to work on campus or off?
Toward the end of his first quarter at SPU, Hector Dominguez-Maceda worked at Best Buy. Eventually he changed to a student office assistant job in the School of Education.
“It was a lot easier on my schedule because I did not have to commute as much,” he says.
Now in his junior year, Dominguez-Maceda also works as a computer science lab assistant and as a student web developer in SPU’s communications office. It saves time on his commute, but more importantly, the computer science major and aspiring software developer enjoys the flexibility and career experience he’s gaining from his work.
Do you have a car?
“Being on campus the first two years was really crucial because I don’t have a car,” Yang says.
Many schools offer transportation options for work-study off-campus, too. For example, once she started spending time in off-campus science labs, Yang still had an easy commute, as both research facilities gave her a free bus pass.
Have you checked all available job postings?
Most schools have a variety of resources available to help connect students with potential employers, including job boards, mentorship and alumni programs and résumé help. Dominguez-Maceda found all three of his jobs on Handshake, SPU’s online forum and mobile site connecting students and alumni with potential employers.
When Yang started looking for part-time jobs in her field, she says, Mark Oppenlander, director of SPU’s Mentor Program, was a crucial resource. He interviewed her extensively about her career pursuits, and searched for about a month before connecting her with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where she eventually interned.
Learn more at SPU.edu