Published on May 24, 2017
Updated on Dec. 5, 2019
August is just around the corner and many of you will be beginning to, or already have been, searching for a job to start in the fall. As a Career Specialist, I have helped many MU students during this search and thought some good advice might be to post to our blog answering what I feel are frequently asked questions. Some of these answers can be found on our handouts that we offer in the Career Center and online, but if you have a question that I don’t answer than please come to the Career Center and ask away!
1. What kind of job can I get if I have little to no experience?
You should never sell yourself short; even if you are searching for your first job you no doubt have valuable skills and/or experiences that could be applied in a work setting. These could have been gained from athletic teams or extracurricular clubs, classes, babysitting, etc. So my answer is, there are more job options out there than you think for first timers and you just have to be willing to take the time to look. I recommend searching websites such as www.HireMizzouTigers.com where jobs for students are posted, and asking friends and family if positions are available where they work (having connections is the most effective way to get the position you want).
2. Do I need a resume?
As a Career Specialist, my answer to this question will always be yes! But what if this is your first job, what will you put on said resume? Answer: anything that you have done where you have gained valuable experiences and transferable skills which could be applied to a job. This could include clubs, sports, camps, babysitting, etc. Positions where you used leadership skills, such as club president or team captain, will look especially good to perspective employers. And as always, if you feel you’re struggling with wording or filling up the page, read our handouts and come see a Career Specialist.
3. How much will I get paid and how often will I have to work?
This varies from job to job. Many jobs will start you out at minimum wage, which is $7.65 per hour, but it can be more depending on the type of position and the skills you bring to the job. As for your hours, most jobs will indicate a range of hours and you should ask during the application process how many hours you would work per week; before giving an answer you should always consider your class load because school comes first! Most businesses in Columbia understand that this is a college town, therefore college students apply for jobs and need someone willing to work around a class schedule. Long story short, many times you can work as much or as little as you feel comfortable with.
4. What is work study? Am I eligible?
Work study is something that many schools offer, which works kind of like a grant. You must apply for Financial Aid and get accepted to be eligible for work study, and whether or not you will be eligible is based on your FAFSA. If you are accepted, you will receive asn award (approximately $1200) and it will be divided in half – for each semester. Now you aren’t just given a check for $1200. The it works is that you accept a job from one of the numerous openings on campus and then work approximately 5-6 hours a week to earn your award over the course of each semester. Now, to check if you’ve received the work study award, you simply go to your account on myZou. To choose a work study position go to the Career Center homepage www.HireMizzouTigers.com for job listings on and off campus. And don’t forget that “off” campus jobs can be as close as on campus jobs if you work in the downtown or neighboring areas of campus!
6. I’ve never interviewed for a job, how do I make a good impression?
If you’re worried about your interview or haven’t done one before, I recommend coming to the Career center to walk through the Do’s and Don’t’s with a Career Specialist, and maybe even do some practice with our Mock Interview team if they’re availableC Some basic advice is to show up on time and in business casual attire, speak clearly and answer all parts of each of the questions, use your past experiences to show them how you’d be a goo fit at their company, and most importantly be confident in yourself and show them your great personality. Employers are generally looking for organized, friendly, hardworking people and there are a million easy ways to show them that you fit that description to a tee.
7. I know a lot of other people are applying for this same position, how do I make myself stand apart?
How do you stand apart in life? What makes you unique? Your personality! If you want to stand apart, show the employer the real you. There are so many things that make each of us different from one another, and those things are special so don’t hide them. In one of my interviews I was asked if there were any unique skills that I held and I did different accents for them because part of my personality is loving to make people laugh, and it worked. Other ways you can set yourself apart more professionally are having a resume and cover letter tailored towards the position, having a LinkedIn page, or making a follow up call to name a few suggestions.
Overall, searching for a job can be frightening and stressful but it shouldn’t be. That’s why the Career Center is here, to help you on your professional journey and answer all questions along the way. Hopefully this was helpful, and good luck on your search!