Job Search

Tree branches and blue sculpture

We know it can be overwhelming trying to find a part-time job. As a college student, this may be your first time seeking employment. If you have already started your job search, you may have questions about your applications and following up with employers. For those of you already employed, maybe it is time to begin thinking about a new part-time position that will help you gain more transferable skills and experience for your future career.

Regardless of your part-time job status, Student Employment is here to help! Students at Grand Valley, regardless of their financial aid status, may work either on-campus or off-campus. Students searching for on-campus jobs can use our online system, Workday. Students can search for off-campus jobs through Handshake

Searching for jobs on campus will look a little different for students starting January of 2024. GVSU has implemented the Workday system across campus which has replaced Handshake as your destination to search for on-campus employment. Handshake is still being used to search for off-campus opportunities and internships. More information, including training materials, can be found here.

Finding Work

Developing a Job Search Action Plan

To jump-start your job search, it is important to first develop an action plan. You need to know what type of jobs you are interested in and also consider which jobs will provide the most valuable work experience to help you find a full-time position upon graduation. Each student may have a very different action plan. The following is a list of suggested steps to begin your job search: 

  1. Determine the type of job you are interested in. Do you prefer an on- or off-campus position? Are there specific industries or areas you would like to work in? 
  2. Determine the number of hours you want to work on a weekly basis. Studies show that students who work 10-15 hours while enrolled in classes find greater success in their academics. 
  3. Determine the hours you are available to work. Some jobs will require set hours, while others will have flexible scheduling. It is important to know a company's or department's expectations to ensure you can fulfill the requirements of the job while still balancing your academic responsibilities. 
  4. Get your professional documents ready. It is important to have a resume and a cover letter ready. The Career Center has many resources to help you in creating these professional documents. You can also schedule an individual meeting with the Career Center for help. 
  5. Create a job search time line. If you want to begin working in the fall semester, July or early August is an ideal time to begin your job search. Make sure you allow yourself enough time to search and apply for jobs without getting into a time crunch. Planning ahead will make the job search process much less stressful. To stay motivated, create milestones for yourself (e.g., apply to five positions each week, follow up on applications every week). 
  6. Begin your job search. Log into Workday and search the various opportunities available! Instructions on how to search for jobs in Workday can be found here.


Zumberge Pond

What should I apply to?

What if I'm not qualified for a position?

Many on-campus employers understand that a part-time job is a learning experience, and you may not be expected to know everything right away. Having a positive attitude and showing your motivation to learn new skills will make you an outstanding job candidate for many positions. On-campus employment is an excellent option for those looking for flexible work schedules, as well as for students who may be finding their first part-time position. 

Your first job

What if I have never worked before?

Many times, students have had jobs, they just don't realize it. Have you ever babysat, cleaned houses, mowed lawns, volunteered, or helped with a family business? These are all great experiences and should be included on your resume. Job shadowing and internships are also excellent items to add to a resume to showcase your experience. If you have truly never worked, showcasing special skills will be important on your resume. Add things like certifications (CPR, first aid, Microsoft, Adobe, etc.). Let the employer know of any special skills you have or languages you can speak. These types of items are very valuable to an employer and definitely worth adding to your resume.

Blue sculpture with greenery


We'd love to speak with you. Feel free to call our office at (616) 331-3238 or email us at [email protected].

Page last modified January 2, 2024