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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Finding jobs on campus needs a makeover

A student multitasks on their computer and phone to create connections. Photo from Unsplash.

On-campus employment ​can be​​ ​a great opportunity to have a stable source of income for college students, and it is beneficial for those seeking to become an integral part of the campus community. These jobs can be convenient for someone who lives near campus, and they can help students cover their monthly expenses or start saving up to pay off student loans.

One of the suggested ways to search for these opportunities is through the Handshake website or app. Handshake is a site for students to find on-campus jobs, internships, co-ops and full-time jobs. It is similar to LinkedIn but without social media or networking features. The platform directly connects university students to prospective employees. The Student Employment Services mentions on its website that it uses Handshake to list all on-campus opportunities available. [1]

The listing of on-campus opportunities through Handshake feels like an afterthought. It is not frequently updated, and many listings remain visible long after the positions have been filled. Instead, many students often find better luck in emailing the relevant employer to find out if the positions are still open. Presently, Handshake is only useful as a tool for checking open positions, since job applications must be sent externally through the relevant email mentioned in the posting.

When we cannot apply through Handshake and employers do not use the platform to communicate, it would be more prudent for the employment services to have a web page specifically for listing on-campus job listings. That way, students could access all opportunities directly, eliminating the need to navigate through another platform.

I have often noticed that not all on-campus opportunities are posted on Handshake. ​Many student employment opportunities, such as Dining Services, UMass Boston Recreation, The Mass Media and a few other departments do not list vacancies on Handshake.​

This has led to general confusion among students regarding proper avenues for searching opportunities. When approached in person, many departments suggest Handshake as the appropriate space to look out for. But then many positions are filled without ever listing on it. All of these make searching for opportunities on campus feel daunting and luck-based.

For other full-time and internship opportunities, I feel Handshake is rather cluttered with a lot of generic emails and irrelevant opportunities. It often sends mass messages and emails that all users of the platform receive. Many companies there do look for previous experience when the application is for current or recent college students, which often defeats the purpose of the app entirely.

Handshake might be useful, but we would get better results by using LinkedIn with relevant filters, especially since LinkedIn is the website many students end up using long after college anyway. Being on LinkedIn helps build networks and connections. Many students may only find themselves using Handshake solely because it is recommended by the university.

Regarding finding job opportunities that are actually applicable, looking for flyers on campus, monitoring departmental websites such as one for UMass Boston Recreation and relying on referrals from friends can be other effective ways to find opportunities. There are many Federal Work-Study options available, often in places and offices that may be least expected. Undergraduates also have the PACE program, a paid on-campus position where students develop industry-aligned skills connected to their career interests. Last, and certainly not least, student employment fairs can be a great way to find jobs in a variety of offices or fields of study.

While our main priority is, of course, our studies, having a transparent process for on-campus opportunities would significantly enhance our overall university experience, especially for international students eligible to work on campus only in non-work study programs. A less ambiguous and more transparent process would be a unified and frequently updated job listing on a university web page.

For those coming into the Fall 2023 Semester and looking for on-campus opportunities, be sure to keep an eye out on all avenues, because employment opportunities may appear when you least expect them. Don’t hesitate to network with professors, administrators and friends working in various departments. Stay connected.

[1] Student Employment – UMass Boston (umb.edu)

About the Contributor
Charan Reddy, Opinions Writer