The guy making your sandwich at the Coffee House, the girl peering through a microscope in the lab and those dozens of brave souls who drive the Unitrans buses around town have something you want – a job.
While it seems nearly impossible to find a job or internship on campus, students who have gone through the job hunt and UC Davis staff agree that it is possible to find one if you know where, and how, to look.
The first stop on every student’s job search should be the Aggie Job Link. This easy-to-navigate website has a plethora of jobs postings by both UC and non-UC employers. Though work-study jobs are currently unavailable, there are still over 1,000 other jobs open. But do not let the hundreds of possibilities allow for procrastination – the website is updated regularly and those great-sounding jobs are filled quickly.
Melody Yeung, a junior environmental toxicology major and assistant at the Veterinary Genetics Lab, is one of the students who had to move fast to land her campus job.
“There are always new jobs that could appear any minute,” Yeung said “For the job I have now, they only put up the job listing for a few days, not even a week, and there were tons of applicants.”
Another stop for job-seeking students should be the Internship and Career Center (ICC) Fair, located at the Activities and Recreation Center on Oct. 20. This event features hundreds of job possibilities with over 90 companies presenting job information and networking opportunities.
ICC Project Manager Marcie Kirk-Holland also advises students to sign up for the ICC listserv, which often features jobs not listed on Aggie Job Link.
Applying for as many jobs as possible may increase the odds of getting a call back, but narrowing the search to internships in future career possibilities can help students find a job that is not only fun but also attractive to employers after graduation, Kirk-Holland said.
While jobs may provide a paycheck, internships are a good alternative for students trying to gain experience in a career field. They allow students to explore the day-to-day operations of real jobs, and convince employers they are serious about their career plans. Kirk-Holland said that even if students decide to change their career path after completing an internship, they have still learned skills and made contacts that can translate to any job.
“When the economy is as bad as it is, and there’s so much depressing news about job prospects for new grads, I think it’s really important for people to take control where they can,” Kirk-Holland said. “And doing internships is a great way.”
A pitfall for internships, however, is their current student requirement. Many companies only hire interns that are still enrolled in school. And although many cash-strapped students may scoff at the idea of unpaid internships, Kirk-Holland recommends looking at them as investments in the future.
Not having relevant work experience in recent grads’ career choices can make grads seem like a risky hire.
“Sometimes we hear students say they want to finish as soon as possible and they don’t have time for internships,” Kirk-Holland said. “In this economy most of the time people are going to be more competitive if they have work experience.”
The next step in the job searching process often trips students up: interviewing and writing a resume. The ICC offers workshops throughout the school year to help students craft a resume and learn valuable interviewing techniques. Besides helping to find work while still in school, these skills will also be important as students transition into the workforce, said Monica Pena-Villegas, the assistant director of the Student Employment Center.
“Some student don’t realize that they have knowledge, skills, abilities and experience that they’ve acquired through groups, clubs, volunteerism, sports and their academics that they should reflect on their resume,” Pena-Villegas said.
Though finding a job can be difficult, working students agree that the exposure to future careers is worth the effort. Both Yeung and junior microbiology major Sarah Powers recommends applying for any job you think you might be interested in – the worst anyone can tell you is no.
“From my first job I learned how to manage my time and how to relate to other people. And of course I gained friends,” said Powers, who has held jobs for University Catering and is currently a student necropsy technician at the Thurman Diagnostics Lab. “From the job I have right now, I have found what I think is my future career choice. I love going to the lab every day and working.”
Even if the search feels overwhelming, Kirk-Holland encourages students to keep job-hunting.
“Use [your] fears of what’s going to happen once you graduate to motivate yourself into action, as opposed to feeling like there’s no hope, so why bother,” Kirk-Holland said. “It really does make a difference.”
For more information about upcoming workshops and events at the Internship and Career Center and access to the Aggie Job Link, visit http://iccweb.ucdavis.edu.
ERIN MIGDOL can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.