The prospect of finding employment while being a full-time student can be daunting. Students already have their classes and sometimes extracurriculars to contend with, so they think that they will not have time to get a job. Alternatively, they may think that no one will want to hire them due to their lack of experience. As a result of this limited thinking, students miss out on opportunities for employment, internships, research and other relevant work experience.
People often think of employment solely as the end to be reached through education, but it can be very beneficial to gain work experience while in school. Working while in school can show a future employer that one is ambitious, able to handle a great deal of responsibility and has experience in a related field before their resume ever lands on the employer’s desk. Thus, it is important that students use the resources available to seek work if they are willing and able.
At UMBC, professors are too often neglected as a valuable asset. Many still actively work in their fields, and often, they or someone they know are looking for assistance.
Another resource that is overlooked is the Career Center, located on the second floor of the Math/Psychology. According to the director, Christine Routzahn, the center has three primary purposes: helping students understand their possibilities, helping them get experience and helping to build the network students have available to them. It accomplishes these goals through many useful programs and services such as Resume Review, Career Fairs, field trips to visit real employers and more.
Routzahn emphasized that the office is for everyone. “A misconception people have about the Career Center is that we only work with certain kinds of students,” she said. “We definitely have a high demand of certain companies and certain talent; however, we have opportunities for all students. We meet individually and we want to make sure that, whatever you want to do, that we can make those connections.”
There are many opportunities right on campus for students without access to transportation and for those with rigid schedules. Jobs can be found online through UMBCWorks or the websites for specific UMBC departments that may be hiring.
Sophie Shippe is a sophomore English literature and psychology major who works in The Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Orientation. Shippe said she enjoys having a job on campus because she can walk to her job within ten minutes and the hours are flexible because on-campus employers understand that school comes first.
“I like the connections that working on campus gives me because I have people that I can have as references for other positions at UMBC if I ever wanted a change, or it can be a reference to use outside of college,” said Shippe. “I’ve even made friends, and as a tour guide, it’s been amazing to find those interested students who are excited and want to learn from you.”
Through the Career Center’s resources, students can gain relevant work experience and jump-start their careers while they are still studying, increasing the chances of a smooth transition into the workplace upon graduation. It is never too early to start working toward future goals, and there are too many opportunities for students to let them go unused. Students need only seek them out.