6 Things Students Look For In Their First College Job

By Madison White on March 28, 2016

The life of a college student may be difficult to understand. College minds are occupied with so many assignments, deadlines and goals. However, many common interests come across when college students are looking for their first job. Regardless of the obvious want and need to earn money, many factors line up across many fields. Creating a space for college student workers that will attract and hold their attention isn’t as difficult as it seems.

Here are six things students are looking for in their first college job.

1. Flexibility

Like many young people, college students are constantly worried about time. Unlike other adults who can focus almost solely on work, college students have the added stress of grades, classes, societies, and activities. Having the “true college experience” involves attending more events than you can count.

For these and other reasons, college students need flexibility to thrive in the work setting. Class schedules are hard enough to figure out. Trying to work around a work schedule is even harder. Don’t be afraid to let your college student employees work odd hours in short increments if that’s what works best for them.


2. Room for improvement

Entry level jobs can be daunting to take on, especially if they involve lots of grunt work. While college students are eager to become involved in the working world and take up much of the less glamourous responsibilities, they don’t want to be stuck making copies forever. Make sure that student employees know that hard work can and will be rewarded in a timely and efficient manner. Knowing that their long days and tedious assignments can lead to a more fulfilling role a couple years down will inspire them to work better.

3. Future experience

The word “experience” is used over and over and over again in any work-related conversation. Every good employee must have experience and lots of it. Many student employees will be drawn to your company because of what it already does and their own interests. This is great.

However, nobody takes a job at a law firm to fill coffee cups and stand by a copier all day. College students want real field experience or experience that will benefit them in some way. Allow other employees to mentor them and let them help with projects. Ask them questions about certain tasks and problems. Let them engage with what your company is doing. Gaining real and helpful experience is at the top of any college student’s list.

4. Ways to connect

It may happen that your company can’t offer much opportunity for future growth or specific jobs in the field they’re hoping to be in. This doesn’t mean you have to miss out on great college student workers. In a capitalistic economy, all businesses are intertwined somehow. You have partners for everything like your paper products to your electrical services.

Your company doesn’t exist in a bubble so don’t let your future student employees think that it does. Let them know that your company can help associate them with other companies that can benefit them in the future even if you can’t. This way, they’ll feel progressive by allowing themselves to grow with you until they feel they’re ready to take on something more distinct.

5. Similar minded people

Students can be easily intimidated by older and more experienced workers. If they truly feel that they won’t fit in and there isn’t a place for them besides the lowly college student, they will have doubts about working for you. An easy way to fix this is to see them as an equal instead of a subordinate. Instead of having all your interactions behind a desk, take them out for coffee or lunch one day. Let them know that they are wanted as a part of the team and company as a whole. Don’t treat them as your personal servant — otherwise they’ll begin to resent you. They are still educated, intelligent people who deserve respect rather than being treated like children. Let them know that you view them this way for future success.


6. Different opportunities

College students like to think they know exactly where their life is headed, but in reality, very few do. By advertising your job opportunity to one or a limited amount of majors, you are limiting your field of possibly skilled and valuable employees. Without experience, many college students would have no idea what roles they thrive in. By allowing your college students jobs that work in a variety of departments, this allows them to explore what they’re good at. They may discover a new calling or simply reaffirm their affinity toward a certain area. Either way, they are developing themselves into well-rounded workers that are extremely valuable in today’s economy. Nobody likes a one-trick pony.

Not all college students are the same just as not all people are the same. Variations can and will occur, but securing these few interests will ensure as much success as possible. Keep your interest in your student employees authentic and they’ll appreciate it more than you know.

By Madison White

Uloop Writer
Wichita State University
My list of places traveled is growing but will never exceed my list of places to travel next.

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