Misperceptions and Reality: The Benefits of Student Employment

Guest post by JHU Alumnus Wagas Butt. 


Guest post by JHU Alumnus Wagas Butt. 

Before coming to JHU, I had a number of typical pre-college concerns, ranging from whether or not I would find a group of people with whom I was comfortable to which classes I should be taking. Now, if you ask me whether or not having a job at college was a concern, I might say “yes” for the purposes of this article, but in all honesty, I, like the majority of incoming freshmen, was not worried about employment in college.

Granted, I signed up for federal work-study and remembered my older brothers both having some sort of job throughout their time at college. However, I did not sit in bed at night thinking about whether I prefer to work at the Athletic Center or the MSE. Slowly but surely, the summer went by and I arrived at JHU to go through the college experience. I was immersed in all the Orientation events, the first couple weeks of classes, and all the other memorable times of first semester, freshmen year.

Somehow, I managed to remember that I was on federal work-study and would need to find some sort of employment. So, the search began.

I applied for everything and anything: numerous office positions, several monitor jobs, and other random ones that I quite frankly do not remember. I received quite a few interested replies to the emails that I sent. Yet, in the end, I put all my eggs in one basket and decided applying for a position at the adjacent Baltimore Museum of Art as an Office Assistant in the Department of Rights and Reproduction. After going in for an informal interview, I received the position within a few days and started soon after. The majority of tasks that I performed consisted of sorting, labeling, and filing photography of the various works found in the museum. Although I am not a learned scholar or even an avid admirer of art, the plethora of images was admittedly quite appealing and enjoyable. After a while, however, viewing the usual pieces that most curators demanded with some sporadic and novel requests became somewhat monotonous and repetitive. I do not wish to bore people with the mundane goings-on of my life at the BMA, but I ended up working at my office position until the end of my sophomore year.

The next logical question might be why I decided to work at a place that does not exactly seem to be the most glamorous and thrilling one in the world. While the BMA as I’ve described it may not be perceived as enthralling, it was an enjoyable environment with friendly and diverse co-workers as well as a casual work atmosphere. It was also a tremendous experience because all aspects of my job were rewarding and pleasing. At the same time, I learned an immense amount about how to improve different facets of my life. I mentioned earlier that I worked with a whole assortment of individuals, which exposed me to vast range of differing opinions about and approaches to work and the world, in general. Being at JHU, one does meet people from all walks of life, but, unfortunately, the college environment does place people into a situation where they can become unaware of the world’s intense heterogeneity. Luckily, by discovering this opportunity outside the University, I was regularly around people that were quite distinct from anyone on campus, and thus, I was able to greatly improve my ability to communicate with and relate to others. As far as “people” skills, this was not the only gift of student employment. I became more capable of understanding and appreciating an entire array of persons, and as a result, further my insight into others, due to my employment opportunity.

A number of students are apprehensive about having a part-time job at school. Undoubtedly, JHU is academically quite intensive and challenging. I do not want to paint a false picture of JHU; holding a job or being involved in extracurricular activities while also completely your academic responsibilities is not a simple endeavor. However, neither is it unbelievably laborious. The key to any student’s success at JHU or any other institution is time management. This is where I find having a part-time position during the semester to have been the most worthwhile to me. In high school, I was involved in several extracurricular clubs and had a relatively vigorous schedule, but all this involvement did not cultivate a proper working habit. I was only able to generate such a work ethic once I arrived at college. Having to go into work on a regular basis throughout the semester fostered a situation where I could not shirk either my scholastic or my non-academic responsibilities. Thus, I created a daily routine where I would attend class, go into my job, and then, come back to the dorms or library for my schoolwork. This schedule also allowed an abundant amount of personal time for hanging out with friends, going out, and being involved around campus. Not only is having part-time employment completely feasible, but it actually contributes to a student’s ability to deal properly with the pressures of a demanding institution such as Johns Hopkins.

During this past summer, I was given the chance to conduct research at the University, which is, itself, an extracting venture, and I also maintained positions as head student assistant at the Student Employment Services Office and a monitor at our athletic center. While one may think performing independent research and holding two jobs that exceed forty-hours a week may be unfeasible and intolerable, a solid regiment, consisting of academics, extracurricular activities (be they, a part-time job or campus club), and profuse personal time, allows any student at any institution to fully take advantage of the countless opportunities available to them.

As one can see, the benefits of finding employment during one’s stay at JHU are numerous. Although I have only enumerated a handful, each student gains a whole set of precious lessons. As the JHU Student Employment Services motto goes, student employment is more than a paycheck. It is an avenue for students to learn not only about the dynamics of the working world, but also further appreciate the diversity of peoples and ideas that they will certainly encounter throughout their life.

Refreshing Your Resume

Make an impression on paper

We’ve reached the point in the semester when students are frantically trying to find a summer internship or a full-time position. At the same time, it’s midterm season, and no one wants to spend hours working on their resume when that Nervous Systems exam is so soon. Here are some foolproof ways to give your resume a boost before you hit send on that next application:

  • Use bullet points! Large blocks of texts are confusing for employers who don’t have much time to sift through applications.
  • Get rid of articles (a, an, the). Resumes are supposed to be concise, so adding too many full sentences can detract from the point. Instead of saying “Implemented a marketing plan that included social media and a direct mail campaign,” be more direct and say “Implemented marketing plan including social media and direct mail.” The second version sounds more firm and direct, which employers like to see in candidates.
  • Don’t write in the third person. As a matter of fact, don’t write in the first person either. Remove the pronouns, since the employer can assume everything on the resume is your work. Your name is at the top! “I analyze incoming memos” doesn’t sound nearly as polished as “Analyze incoming memos.”
  • Remove the minute details. We’ve all had to spruce up our resumes with the little things we’ve done that don’t really matter. However, when you’re reaching out to employers, they will see right through the fluff and realize that your skills aren’t truly developed. Instead, highlight more of the responsibilities and accomplishments you’ve had within fewer roles, rather than listing all the different titles you’ve held.
  • Keep your font between 10-12 point and make sure your margins are within 0.5”-1”. Anything outside these parameters will stand out to employers, and not in a good way.

If you have time, be sure to visit the Career Center to find workshops and drop-in hours for resume review. Even if you’re not currently applying to jobs, it’s important to make sure your resume is always up-to-date, so don’t wait until the very last minute to update it!

Why You Should Work While You’re in College

The four R’s of student employment.

Working while you’re in college can seem like a handful. In reality, it can help you with your time management skills and give you something to look forward to. There are so many different jobs on campus that you are bound to find one you will enjoy, like being a photographer, lab assistant, or student DJ.

Here are the four R’s on why you should have a job while you’re a college student:

  1. Responsibility: As a student employee, you could learn to complete important tasks, lead a class, handle sensitive information, and more. Student employees are treated as any other working member of the team. You’ll be trusted with tasks that really develop your skills and strengths. Additionally, you’ll learn to better manage your time and be more responsible with your schoolwork.
  2. Resume: Employers love seeing students who take on responsibility during their college years. Summer internships are great, but employers will respect a student who took on extra tasks while getting through a semester.
  3. Recommendations: Whether you’re applying to grad school or not, you may find yourself needing professional recommendations down the line. Your boss can do that! If you’re a great employee and a valued member of the team, they’ll surely help you out. And who knows – maybe your boss has a close friend who works at the company you are dying to work for. Connections never hurt!
  4. Reward: Aside from the satisfaction that comes with completing something for your job, you get paid! Wages vary depending on the job, but it’s always nice to have an extra source of income.

If you’re looking for a job, be sure to check out the Job Search portal. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!
Happy job hunting!

Three Things to Bring to Your Next Job Interview

Go into the interview prepared and ready.

Guest post by Alexandra Bessette. 

Okay, you’ve made it. You landed an interview for that job you want so much! But feeling prepared to put your best foot forward in front of your potential new employer can be one of the hardest parts of the job search process. Keep the 3 things ready in your tool belt, and making a great first impression will feel that much easier!

  1. Your resume. Sure, this one can feel obvious, but it’s easy to overlook the details when you’re wrapped up in nerves and excitement. Double-check the spelling of your name and your contact information. Summarizing all of your applicable past experience makes this the most important thing you can bring because it gives your potential employer a holistic look at you as the great employee that you are!
  2. Examples of your past work. Were the findings of a research project you contributed to published? Congratulations! Print a copy of that paper out to give to your interviewer. Did you write for a school newspaper, magazine, or blog? That’s awesome. Bring a copy of the piece you’re most proud of to your interview. Having a first-hand look at your impressive work will make you stand out to a potential employer.
  3. A letter of recommendation. While not all employers require this, it’s great to back up your experience, work ethic, and expertise with the testimony of someone who has worked with you and can attest to your great qualities. It’s important to demonstrate how great you are to work with, too!

If you have any questions about what to bring to a job interview, don’t hesitate to reach out to your College on the Clock bloggers or contact the Office of Student Employment Services.

Why the SES Job Search Portal is the Best Way to Find a Job at JHU

Straight forward, organized, and trustworthy.

Student Employment Services uses an online Job Search portal to help students find jobs both on and off campus. The portal includes jobs across all campuses making it an ideal resource for all Hopkins students. Here are the main reasons why you should use the portal to find your next job:

  1. It’s organized. You can find a job based on start date, location, category, and keywords. The job search portal also provides information on citizenship requirements, which makes it easier to hone in on jobs that do cater to international students.
  2. It’s trustworthy. With Student Employment Services, you know you’re finding a job that has been vetted. You won’t find a job that puts you in a harmful situation, such as having to walk to/from work at unreasonable hours. If you’re applying to an off-campus job, the portal will let you know.
  3. It’s allinclusive. Software engineer? Bio major? DJ? Everyone can find a job that caters to their hobbies and interests through the student employment portal.

If you have any questions about using the Job Search database, reach out to your College on the Clock bloggers or contact Student Employment Services at stujob@jhu.edu.

Mastering the Four Stages of a New Job

Embrace the nerves and reach your stride in no time.

Starting a new job, whether it’s a temporary internship or a full-time gig, is an emotional mix of exciting and scary.  The rollercoaster that we experience is normal, though, and accepting that everyone experiences the same feelings makes your new start much easier. Follow us through the many emotions in order to understand how to best embrace each step of the journey:

  1. Excitement:

Congratulations on the new job! Call your parents! Tell your friends! As soon as you get a new job, it’s a sigh of relief and a weight off your shoulders. The dreaded interviews (which you nailed with our awesome interview how-to) have paid off, and you are done searching through the Student Employment Services Job Portal every day. Take some you-time and celebrate your accomplishment – you deserve it!

  1. Nerves:

 Maybe you have a pit in your stomach and you’re wondering if they made a mistake in hiring you. That anxiety is normal, but don’t worry – they did not make a mistake, and you are definitely qualified for the job! The company that hired you believes in you, so now it’s time to believe in yourself.

In order to combat the nerves, take some extra steps to prepare for your first day. Pack your bag with pens, a notebook, a folder, and your laptop charger if you need it. Don’t forget to throw in a snack in case you get hungry and can’t slip away from the office. Then, pick out your first-day outfit and call it a day. You’ve prepped, and now it’s time to take your mind elsewhere. Read a book, watch a funny TV show, or spend some time with friends. Relax before getting a good night’s rest and you’ll nail your first day!

Side note: if you have trouble sleeping the night before a big day (I do!) try to drink some chamomile tea before bed. It’ll help you wind down, and it tastes good!

  1. Confusion:

You made it to the first day and you can’t even find the bathroom.  It can feel overwhelming to be the new person at a job, and it’s easy to stay quiet and sink into the background. Speak up if you feel lost, though! The people around you want you to feel comfortable and are usually willing to take a second out of their day to help you with yours. Plus, it’s a great way to get to know more people in the office. That coworker who taught you to use the copy machine will become a new familiar face around campus!

  1. Hitting your stride:

When you’re in Steps 2 and 3, it feels like you’re never going to reach this one. But you will! Soon enough, you’ll feel comfortable in your new job and become a valuable member of the team. This is the most rewarding part of a new job, and sometimes the most difficult. You’ll be trusted with more work and responsibilities, but it’s because the company knows you’re capable of making a difference. You did it!

The Art of the Thank You Note

Once you’ve completed an interview, you can’t always do much to boost your chances of getting a position. However, the one thing you can (and really should) do is email a thank you note to your interviewer within 24 hours of the interview.

From applying to all kinds of positions on- and off-campus to running this year’s student blogger recruitment process (welcome aboard!), I’m always pleasantly surprised by the impact that a simple thank you note can have on the entire job search process. I can’t guarantee that it’ll always land you the job, but it never hurts!

Continue reading “The Art of the Thank You Note”