How to Pay for College: Where to Look for Jobs

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You can find jobs all around you at college and at home. All you have to do is open your eyes and look for opportunities. In addition, the Internet has all kinds of options to find a job or work a virtual job.

Your college

Almost every location at your college can hide tips and hints about jobs in the area. Look around, especially at bulletin boards, to see what’s available.

• Financial Aid Office Many financial aid offices have listings of current jobs on the bulletin boards, in a newsletter, or online.

• Employment/Jobs Office Most colleges have an employment, recruitment, or jobs office on campus. Go there and search for local or regional jobs or just jobs on campus.

• College website Your college probably has a website, so go there and look for jobs. Some on-campus jobs will be listed, but many colleges also include student jobs on their job board.

• Bulletin Boards At college campuses, jobs are often posted on bulletin boards around campus. While you’re waiting to get into your classroom or talking with friends, peruse the nearest bulletin board, and see if there are any jobs you’re interested in.

• Busiest Campus Offices As noted earlier, the busiest college offices usually hire the most student workers. If you see a long line of students, that’s the place where you want to apply for a job.

• Dorm—RA, food service, night porter Don’t forget that your dorm is also a part of the campus. Dorms almost always have jobs for Resident Assistants (RAs), for food service jobs, and for jobs watching the doors at night, sometimes called the night porter or night guard.

Your College Town

Don’t Forget: Temp Agencies and Small Businesses

While you’re thinking about summer jobs—in your hometown or in your college town—don’t forget the local temporary agencies. They can find you one job for the summer or a variety of jobs.

If you’ve got any experience with computers, filing, or telephones, you can probably find a good temp job for the summer . . . and maybe for the school year.

In addition, don’t forget about small businesses in your college town or hometown. While small businesses don’t usually have the funds to take out a big advertisement, they often have jobs in the summer.

The best way to find these jobs is to stop by the company and ask. You may just be able to create your own job on the spot.—based on information from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. (Summer Job Guide (PDF)

Your college town is also full of jobs if you know what to look for.

• Want Ads Start with the paper want ads in the student newspaper and then move on to the local town paper. If they have an online version, look up the jobs there.

• Businesses Near Campus Look at the businesses near campus and see if any of them are hiring. Most campuses have bookstores, copy centers, and fast food restaurants in close proximity to the student population. All of those places need workers.

• Bookstores If you can’t get a job at the campus bookstore, try a bookstore in town or close to campus. Bookstores are generally good places to work, and you can often get discounts on books.

• Townie Businesses If you live off campus, look around for businesses near where you live. Most businesses not near the campus will also be interested in hiring college student labor. You can always walk in and ask the owner.


There are hundreds of job boards on the Internet, but here are the best ones for college students, summer jobs, volunteer opportunities, and internships.

• Summer Jobs While you can still find a full-time job here, is still the biggest and the best online source for part-time or seasonal jobs. If you want to work on a cruise ship or at a resort or camp, this may be the site for you. Registration is free, and they include a complete list of the job titles and job responsibilities for cruise ship personnel. 

If you don’t mind working hard, you could be a college painter. Each year, this company trains students to be entrepreneurs by painting houses and cleaning windows. You can sign on just to paint or to move up in the leadership food chain.

This website, published by the local consortium of California libraries, includes lots of local jobs in California along with loads of useful information about writing a résumé, creating a cover letter, and figuring out your career path.

If you’d like to work at a camp or a national park, this is the site for you. The jobs include resorts, theme parks, ski resorts, ranches, and tour companies.

If you want to work overseas, this is the job site for you. Whether you want to tend bar in Europe or pick fruit in New Zealand, this is the place.

This is the must-have site for those looking for an hourly gig. You can search by state, and their employers include big-name companies like ATT and Halloween USA.

This site lists full-time, seasonal, and internship jobs for younger workers that include the likes of MTV, Amnesty International, and Apple, as well as fascinating day-in-the-life articles about all kinds of people in all kinds of jobs.

This site has been offering summer jobs for a decade, and their target audience is high school and college students and new college grads.

If you want to work at a Disney resort or work in Alaska, this is the resort job site for you. They’re hooked into a number of major resorts, and they offer advice about how to land the jobs.

• Camp Jobs This site lists 167 camps looking for staff. You can also list your résumé for free.

Use this site to search by state, country, or position you want. You can also list your résumé here for camp owners to see.

This site makes it easy to find jobs at residential camps. You send in your résumé, and the site sends it directly to all the camps that subscribe. Interested camps can then call or e-mail you.

• Internships This site offers internships with the likes of Deloitte, Google, Nestlé, and Enterprise. You need to register (it’s free) to see their listings. offers free sign-up for students seeking internships.

This website run by includes internships from NBC/Universal, the U.S. Department of State, and Disney. Signing up is free for internship seekers.

Volunteer Jobs

• Volunteering If you want to volunteer at a national park, you can find out everything you need to know at this website for the National Park Service (NPS).

You can also volunteer to help in your own community or across the nation at You can even create your own volunteer project and list it on this site. Your hometown If you want to get a summer job at home, use the want ads in your local paper or go online to see what’s available.

Don’t forget that you can also just walk into a business and ask about jobs. You may find a position that hasn’t even been advertised yet.

Your Family

Use your family to help you network to find a job. If your parents own a business, you can work for them during the summer.

If your parents have friends with businesses, maybe you can work for a friend over the summer, or your parents may know someone who hires college students.

Don’t be afraid to ask everyone you know, including great-aunts and uncles and cousins, if they know of any jobs for the summer.

Your Friends

Ask your friends where they are working for the summer and see if you can get an interview for that company. Ask them to help you network to find a summer job.

Virtual Jobs

The Internet could provide a job for you if you have a laptop or desktop computer. Some companies are happy to hire virtual workers who can work from anywhere.

• Demand Studios This online portal hires writers and editors. If you qualify, you can work at your own pace on the articles of your choice. They pay via PayPal, too.

Your local temp agency may also have spaces available for virtual assistants, web designers, and web programmers. Check to see if you can work at home during the summer.

Start Your Own Business

If your local temp agency doesn’t offer jobs for virtual assistants, web programmers, or web designers, and you have the skills, you could start your own business.

You could also mow lawns, babysit, or tutor children. If you can’t find a job, maybe it’s time to create your own job.


This article is one in a series adapted from the book How to Pay for College: A Library How-To Handbook.

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book cover: How to Pay for College: A Library How-To Handbook How to Pay for College: A Library How-To Handbook by Editors of the American Library Association published by ALA Editions.





Photo credit: NoncommercialShare Alike University of San Francisco Graduation Commencement May 2010 by Shawn Calhoun.

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