Know where to look for student employment opportunities around C-U

By Sarah Soenke

From housing to courses and textbooks, attending college can be expensive — and the University of Illinois is no exception. Estimated costs for in-state, out of state and international students range from $30,150 to $52,628 for the 2014 to 2015 year. Although working your way through college may not be possible anymore, holding down a job while getting a degree can certainly lighten future student loans, expand your professional exploration and increase one’s personal growth. 

Luckily, the Campustown and Champaign-Urbana community hosts a variety of part- and full-time job positions, internships and research opportunities that pay. Students just need to know where to look. 

For the most convenient part-time positions, students don’t need to go beyond the University itself. The Office of Student Financial Aid’s Virtual Job Board is routinely updated with new employment opportunities in departments across campus, including the dining halls and residence halls’ front desks. These can be most accommodating to students’ schedules — employers better understand the demands of being a student as many of the other employees are students themselves and the locations are close to and on campus. Students can even work within their own residence hall. Students can search for specific positions — including federal work study and non-University positions — while also specifying exact location region, job category, minimum hourly rate and maximum hours per week they are willing to work. 

Another resource for students is the The Career Center’s I-Link, an online recruiting system for University students and recent alumni. Users must set up an account and can update their profile while searching through the database of job and internship postings. Students can then apply to the tens of thousands of positions posted annually online and schedule and manage interview appointments. I-Link also offers updates and registration for the latest upcoming recruiting activities and events across campus. 

Advisers can help with more than academics as well. Within colleges on campus, internship coordinators can send out emails to students with the latest job and internship opportunities. These can range from links to job boards to direct contact information from searching employers and alumni. These mass emails can help students connect through the University alumni network and find job positions they may not otherwise catch word of. 

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Students should never underestimate the value of in-person opportunities too. The Champaign-Urbana community hosts an eclectic array of business establishments offering part- and full-time positions. From restaurants to retail stores, students can easily search for an entry level job on campus or in either city’s downtown areas. Students can check online to see if the establishments have online applications; however, walking in to fill out a paper copy might lead to talking to the manager who’s hiring and standing out from other applicants. 

While there are many online resources and opportunities to apply for employment, asking around to learn about others’ positive work experiences will increase students’ chances of finding one for themselves. An online application only goes so far, while a personal recommendation or connection will better ensure one will get the job. 

But with such a diverse campus and surrounding area, students have nearly countless employment options. Students should do their research to explore what type of job positions would benefit their professional and personal growth and not just earn a paycheck. No matter how many hours a student plans to work, it’s best to make it worth the time. 

Sarah is a senior in Media. She can be reached at [email protected]