The Hidden Perks of Student Employment: Part 1

a person typing on a laptop and possibly working remotely
Rebecca A. Eckland

Pssst… did you know that even as a student, you can work for TMCC?  In this two-part series, we’ll explore the benefits of working for TMCC (even if you are working remotely), how to land your next job whether it’s on-campus or in the community, as well as the skills you will want to hone as you continue your professional journey. 

No matter if you’re just starting out in the job market or if you’re looking to switch careers, we checked in with local industry experts on how to develop yourself into an ideal job candidate.  As you read through these tips, remember that working at TMCC is not only a great way to reduce your commute time, get to know the faculty and professional staff at the college at a job that understands that you are a student first (all great wins), but it’s also a way to learn the skills that will help you to land a career in the community, too. 

If you’re not sure how working on campus can help you to hone your workplace savvy, read about what employers are really looking for in successful job candidates. 

Just Because You Need One, Doesn’t Mean You’ll Get One

For most of us, having a job is a necessary part of our adult lives. However, just because you need one doesn’t mean you’ll automatically “get” one. To help uncover what employers in the Reno and Sparks area are really looking for, we sat down with Ann Silver, Chief Executive Officer for the Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce, a 2,000 member organization that represents businesses of all sizes in the community. “What employers are looking for isn’t as complicated as students may think,” Silver said. 

Whether you are applying for an on-campus job or one in the community, Silver offered three tips that will definitely increase your chances of getting hired. 

1. Do Your Homework Before Your Interview.

And, no we don’t mean your math or English homework. This means doing a little bit of research about the company or organization to which you are applying. 

“The last thing I want to do is interview someone who says ‘I have no idea what the Chamber of Commerce is’ but they are there for an interview,” she said.  “So that’s the first thing: if you’re going to work for a company, understand what it does. Do your homework.”

What does it mean to “do your homework?” This could be something as simple as a Google search. “[These days] a person can find out anything about anything. Everything is available on Google, so there is no reason to show up to an interview saying you know nothing about a company,” she said.

2. Demonstrate Your Passion.

Maybe you’re not exactly thrilled about having to work (there’s a reason why they call the fifth day of the week “Fri-yay.”) However, thinking about the ways you can bring your passions to your day job opens opportunities for you to learn more about yourself, and to meet people who share your interests. Additionally, demonstrating that kind of openness and curiosity is exactly what employers are looking for.

“You want to demonstrate a passion for the job,” said Silver, who said that describing your understanding of the position in terms of how it relates to your hobbies, passions or causes that you are interested in will make you a much more competitive applicant. 

Arriving with questions about the job is also another great way to demonstrate that you’re passionate about that specific position. 

3. Know How to Present Yourself.

According to Silver, this last piece of advice is the most important: know how to present yourself.  Silver worked as a human resources professional for over 30 years and said that first impressions can make or break an interview. 

“We get an impression of someone in 13 seconds... [in that short amount of time] you size them up immediately. We have to work hard to overcome someone’s first impression of us,” she said.  “This is why you have to be consciously aware of why you’re interviewing for the position, and you have to know something about the place you want to work. You have to demonstrate that you care if you want to get the job.”

That sounds easy enough, but Silver insists that interviewing is an advanced skill that not many people—college-age or any adult—possesses. Instead, becoming good at interviews requires practice. The ability to present a lot of information in a short conversation with a hiring manager is no easy task, but it can make the difference between being considered for the job or not. 

In fact, the impression you make during the interview is more important than knowing the specific skill set or knowledge required by the job itself. “Most employers are willing to train people who show initiative and curiosity,” she said. 

This is why the interview is so fundamental to your success. The interview is precisely where and when you convey that you have what it takes to get the job done. 

Working at TMCC Can Help

As a college student, your schedule—and your developing skill sets—are unique. Some on-campus jobs might not pay as much as employers in the community will, but the skills you will learn in every step of the employment process—from interview to resignation—will prepare you for future careers. 

After all: interviews are free. What do you have to lose by applying for an on-campus job? The experience of applying for the job is the same, and offers you real-time experience that you will use for the rest of your professional life. The value in honing the kind of first impression you make and interview skills will pay off in the future. 

The other perks of campus employment? The commute is short, especially now that most campus operations are being conducted remotely. Worried you don’t have the Zoom skills? Showing curiosity, initiative and dedication is often enough: for many of these jobs, the TMCC department will train you as a part of the on-boarding process. 

Another unexpected perk? TMCC departments will work with your academic schedules more than another employer probably would. At TMCC, you are a student first, and adjustments to your work schedule to accommodate final exams or more demanding academic projects are expected.

Finally, as Silver explained, no job is supposed to last forever. “You don’t have to commit that this is your full-time career,” she said. “I’ve been in many jobs that I knew I would be in briefly but at least I learned something or met a lot of interesting people.”

Working on campus could be a wonderful first step into a positive work environment where you are surrounded by staff and other student workers who share your interests and passions. To help you do exactly that, the TMCC Career Hub has created the new Resident Lizard Intern Program to help students find “real world” work experiences virtually and on-campus starting Fall 2021.
The internship program will allow students to grow in their area of study while completing their classes, while working under professional learning objectives and outcomes. Additionally, students who participate in the internship program will gain valuable work experience provided by a TMCC department, make departmental connections and learn to network.  Learn more about this new internship program and explore the hard and soft skills in your future career field.

However, there are several on-campus employment opportunities available right now. For more information about these job openings and how you can apply, contact the Career Hub at 775-829-9080.