Job Tips

Preparing for Employment

How do I find a job related to my major or field of interest?

To find a job related to your major or field of interest, use Handshake. If you have never used Handshake or are having trouble navigating the site, additional resources will be avalible soon.

How do I get a job if I have no experience?

Employers value skills developed through academic work, volunteerism, extracurricular activities and other experiences that are be applicable to the work environment. Not all of the skills you learn from these experiences will be job-specific; some of them may be more general, (i.e. communication and analytical skills), and can be valuable in a variety of work settings. Even routine types of student jobs can demonstrate to employers that you have been a successful employee. If a job requires very specific experience, you might consider finding a more routine position in a setting similar to where you would eventually like to hold a job with greater responsibilities.

Why can’t I find a job?

It can be frustrating to look for work and feel as if you cannot find anything, but most students who actively search are able to find jobs. The best way to secure a job is to continue applying and to apply often. Use Handshake to apply for a campus job; new jobs are posted almost daily, throughout the year, particularly near the beginning of each quarter. Check back often. Experts point out that up to 80% of jobs are secured  through networking, rather than through a job listing. Take advantage of the great networking opportunities you have right here on campus! Increase your chances of finding a job by talking to your professors, fellow students who already have jobs, and supervisors at any place you think you might want to work. Put the word out there that you’re looking. Almost all on-campus departments hire some students. In addition, make sure you submit a high-quality resume or application. Set up an appointment with a Career Advisor who can look over your resume or meet with a Career Peer Educator in the Career Center Library, (drop-in hours are 10am - 3pm, M-F). Lastly, when applying for a position, be sure to carefully read the job description and qualifications. Some applications require additional information.

What can I do to increase my chances of finding a job?

In addition to seeking out and following-up on new job listings, diligently network with people who may have contact suggestions for you. If you have an interest in a specific employer, reach out directly. Most businesses have a web presence; apply online. Do your homework: Put your best effort into writing a quality resume, research potential employers and practice your interview skills. If you’re not finding success, consider switching it up. You may need to be more flexible about where you’ll work. 

Can I have someone review my resume?

An experienced Career Advisor or Career Peer Educator can look at your resume! For directions on how to set up an appointment with a Career Advisor, click here. To meet with a Career Peer Advisor, stop by the Career Center for walk-in advising (10am - 3pm, M-F | Career Center Library). 

Can someone help me prepare for an interview?

To get advice on preparing for an interview, check out Big Interview, a service offered by the UC San Diego Career Center, specifically designed to help students learn and practice their interviewing skills. You can also schedule an appointment with a Career Advisor or try walk-in advising with a Career Peer Educator (10am – 3pm, M-F in the Career Center Library).

What resources do you have to offer?

For a full list of resources check out this page. To find services for students and alumni, log on to Handshake, under "Career Center" select "Resoures". There you will find a host of valuable tools and resources, including links to The Triton Career and Professional Development Guide, Career Portfolium, Interview Practice, Going Global: Search Careers Abroad, Essay Critiques, and various assessments. Information about majors, careers, job preparation, grad school, and more can be found on the Career Center website (click the "Undergrads” tab). 

When should I start looking for an internship, part-time job, or summer job?

Start your search early. In order to take full advantage of all the resources and job listings available to you, it’s advised that you begin your search during the preceding fall quarter. Some application deadlines occur very early in the school year. If you begin looking early, you will have the time to conduct a thorough job search even though your academic schedule may be demanding. 

The Interview and Getting Hired

What should I wear to an interview?

Every company and industry has its own dress code. Therefore, before your appointment, you should research the company’s culture or ask a recruiter what is appropriate to wear for your interview. You should dress one notch up compared to employees who work there. For example, if employees wear business casual, you should come in business attire. This shows employers that you take the job and interview seriously. But remember, it’s always better to show up overdressed, as you can always look less formal by taking off your jacket. It’s a lot harder to look more formal if you’re not prepared.

General Guidelines: The standard job interview attire is a dark navy, black, or gray suit with a shirt or blouse in white or another light color. If the shirt is see-through, make sure to wear an undershirt! If you are wearing a tie, make sure it is darker than your shirt, has a conservative pattern and does not extend below the belt. If you are wearing a jacket, it should end just over the wrist so the cuff of the shirt underneath can extend about a half of an inch beyond the jacket. Pants should be long enough to touch the front of the shoes but fall just above the heel while skirts should be a little below the knee. Hair should be neat, professional and out of the face. You should wear clean, polished, close-toed dress shoes and if they have a heel it should be conservative. If you are wearing socks they should be dark in color. Make-up, jewelry, perfume and cologne should be minimal and conservative.

Should I ask questions during an interview?

Yes, you should always ask at least two to three questions after being interviewed. Write them down.

What questions should I ask during an interview?

Here are some ideas: 

  • What’s the dress code for the job like?
  • Once my work-study award has been exhausted will I continue working?
  • How will I be trained?
  • What does a typical day look like?
  • What are the skills and experiences you’re looking for in an ideal candidate?
  • What would make someone successful in this role?

On The Job

How should I dress for work?

Once hired, ask your employer about the dress code. Most employers on campus are casual about how student employees should dress, but best to check rather than to show up dressed inappropriately. You can also observe the dress of fellow employees in your new workplace. 

How do I balance academic and employment obligations?

It is possible to balance academic and employment obligations, but in order to do this you must plan ahead and manage your time wisely. Make sure to communicate in advance with your employer regarding finals and midterms in case you may want time off. If you need help managing your time, consider attending a CAPS Workshop on time management, check out these helpful tips from Revelle or Eleanor Roosevelt College, or check out the Weekly Time Finder  and Quarter at a Glance from OASIS. 

What if I need time off during midterms or finals?

If you work on campus, your employer should be understanding because they know you are a student. If you work off campus, your employer may be less understanding; make sure to put in an effort to find someone to cover for your shift. Either way, if you would like time off during midterms/ finals, make sure you know your employer’s “time off” policy and keep track of the dates for your finals and midterms so you can ask your employer well in advance. Finally, make sure to ask nicely and explain your situation. 

What should I do if I am sick and cannot work?

When hired, ask your employer if there is a procedure for calling in sick. Make sure both you and your employer have each other’s contact information so if you need to call in, you can contact them as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, there is a stigma associated with calling in sick because some people abuse it as a way to get out of work. In order to minimize this stigma, be vocal when you feel like you may be starting to get sick. This will not only help your boss prepare for your absence but also makes it more believable if you need to call in. Don’t wait until the last minute to call as it is better to let your boss know as soon as possible so they can prepare. Be apologetic and let them know you will be back as soon as you feel better. Finally, make sure to rest and take care of yourself! 

How long should I work before updating my resume?

Once you have worked somewhere for three or more months, it is suggested that you update your resume. If you need assistance in updating your resume, come in and speak to one of our Career Peer Educators, who have office hours in the Career Center Library (10am - 3pm, M-F).  

If planning to leave my current job, how much notice should I give to my employer?

Two weeks’ notice is the standard for letting your current employer know you will be leaving. 

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