Finding on-campus employment

Author name
Cindy Broderius, Assistant Director, Duke University Career Center

Many students work during their time at Duke, holding jobs in a wide range of locations and environments. Finding campus employment is an important part of your professional development as you prepare to launch your career—you will likely engage in the same processes you’ll use for finding internships and post-graduate jobs, e.g., creating job-search strategies, preparing professional application documents, interviewing, developing skills and attributes that contribute to strong job performance and others.

Information on work-study funding for both undergraduate and graduate students is available from the Duke Financial Aid Office. Refer to the Work Study section of their site for information specific to this type of financial aid. The job search process is the same for both work-study and non-work-study positions.

Resources to assist and guide you in the process
On-campus Job Search Resources
• Browse DukeList, a centralized listing of campus opportunities, to identify potential jobs.
• Check The Chronicle classified section for job ads.
Network! Talk to friends and upperclassmen with on-campus jobs and find out how they landed their positions.
• Identify places on campus where you might like to work and approach the department or organization directly. View the index of Trinity departments, departments in Student Affairs or directories for specific schools to get started.
• Be aware of fliers, bulletin board postings and “word-of-mouth” advertising.
Think broadly—consider academic departments, student services departments, shops, restaurants or any place where business is taking place.
Sampling of on-campus employers: Duke Recreation and Physical Education, Duke University Libraries and Nasher Museum of Art
• Consider Durham Community Employers funded by federal work study.
American Reads, America Counts and Duke University Community Service Center
• Refer to the Employment Fact Sheets from the International House if you are an international student or scholar for guidance in navigating U.S. policies and procedures.

Professional Communication: Inquiring About a Job
You may respond to a job posting of interest on DukeList or reach out to a department to inquire about possible jobs. Recognize that your first email to a potential employer will make an important first impression!
• Use professional salutations, e.g. “Dear Dr. Smith” or “Dear Hiring Manager” to begin your email message.
• Write a clear, concise note introducing yourself and expressing interest in a position.
• Close your email with a professional signature, including both first and last name, class status and contact information (this helps the reader identify you).

Professional Application Documents: Resume and Cover Letter
Most employers will ask for a resume and many will also ask for a cover letter when you apply for jobs.
• Be sure both documents are tools to show how your skills and experience fit your job of interest.
• Refer to Career Center Resume and Cover Letter Skills Guides for tips and templates to assist you in the process of creating these documents.
• Visit the Career Center’s Drop-in Advising (during the academic year) for review of your resume and/or cover letter. Schedule an appointment if it is over break or during the summer.

Professional Communication: Interviewing
An employer may want to interview you as part of their selection process, so be prepared!
• Review the Career Center Interviewing Skills Guide to learn tips for developing strong interviewing skills as well as sample questions that may be asked during an interview.
• Practice crafting a response to the question “Tell me about yourself.”

Professional Behavior: Attitudes and Character
Campus employment is an excellent way to establish good work habits you can carry into internships and jobs after graduation. Qualities such as timeliness, dependability, collaboration and good work ethic are characteristics ALL employers are seeking in their employees, on-campus or in “the real world.”
Get a start on developing these attributes even during part-time work in college!
Learn to connect your campus job to broader career exploration or planning by scheduling an appointment with your career advisor, (919) 660-1050.