CSU Side Hustles
How can students find jobs on campus?
Written by Abigail Preiszig
In 2001, Hyacinthe Raven began her career in the office of Career Development and Exploration at Cleveland State University as a student employee. Twenty-one years later, with a master’s in philosophy from CSU, Raven fulfills the role of student employment program manager in the same office where she got her start.
“It’s so exciting every school year to get a fresh batch of people excited to take that next step into their life,” Raven said. “It’s so empowering and really positive to see students transform.”
The Vindicator met with CSU alums Gabi Pridemore and Katie Shusta to discuss their first-person experiences as student employees. We also spoke with Hyacinthe Raven for a behind-the-scenes look into Career Development and Exploration and the student employment hiring process.
Pridemore’s experience as a student employee had a profound impact on her life, changing the trajectory of her collegiate journey. She began as an America Reads Tutor at the Cleveland Public Library through the office of Civic Engagement, eventually progressing to a student assistant position which earned her a raise.
“I learned so many personal skills, budget skills, I worked with Excel, I sent a lot of professional emails, connected with a lot of nonprofits and built professional relationships around Cleveland State,” Pridemore said.
As Pridemore pursues a master’s in clinical mental health counseling through CSU, she continues working in the office of Civic Engagement as a graduate assistant. But as an undergrad majoring in psychology, she was not sure of her next step. “I figured I’d land somewhere,” she said. She received an extra helping hand from Director of Civic Engagement Anita Ruf-Young, who showed her the reality of what her degree could do for her and pushed Pridemore to continue her education.
“She really changed the trajectory of my education career path,” Pridemore said of Ruf-Young. “She inspired me and really made me consider. I blossomed personally and professionally as a student.”
Shusta, who earned her bachelor’s of art in design from CSU, began her student employee journey after being laid off from her serving job during the pandemic. She desired a position more in line with her major and obtained a job through the office of Career Development and Exploration as a graphic design intern and peer advisor.
“Working on campus made it much easier for me to balance work and school,” Shusta said. “My employer understood that I was a student first, and if I ever needed more time to study or finish a school project, I was able to have the flexibility of taking time off for school. Working for Career Development taught me what it means to be professional.”
Through her position, Shusta gained many friends and mentors whom she says were a “big help” in the process of landing her full-time job as a designer for The Adcom Group. She also learned to look at job applications with attention to detail, providing all the requested information and tailoring resumes to the specific position.
“On-campus jobs are often posted on Handshake but they are very competitive!” Shusta said. “Talk to your professors, department heads and the Career Development team to find a position that's right for you, and to help prepare you for the application process.”
Students interested in working on campus must be registered for at least six credit hours and be in good academic standing. Jobs are posted year round, but the best times to apply are at the beginning and end of each semester.
“The main thing I want people to know is to go to the website,” Raven said. “There you can find step-by-step information on how to find a job.”
To learn more about on-campus job opportunities, visit www.clestatecareers.com/studentemployment.
2. Understanding: Students are limited to 20 hours per week and supervisors understand that school comes first, allowing for flexibility.
2. Limited Hours: “It was a great balance with classes, however, with it being my only source of income at the time, I do wish I could have worked more than 20 hours as a student employee if my schedule allowed,” Shusta said.
3. Connections: “Working on campus gives you the ability to learn more about the amazing resources on campus,” Raven said, having experienced that during her time as a student employee and first generation college student. Students also have the chance to network with professors, supervisors and students in other majors.
4. Graduation Retention Rate: “Having a job on campus helps keep you at the university, finishing your degree, because it gives you another reason to be on campus,” Raven said.
5. Money: Students are compensated for their work. The lowest you can be paid is minimum wage ($9.30 per hour), but according to Raven, the average pay is $11 per hour. Wages depend on the department a student is employed in, the market around campus and the skill set required for the position.
Tips on becoming a student employee:
Visit www.clestatecareers.com/studentemployment and read the Student Employment Handbook for rules and instructions.
Perfect your resume and cover letter.
“A cover letter is your sales pitch and your resume is your data,” Raven said. “Your resume is going to back up what you say in your cover letter. Your cover letter is the way of telling an employer ‘I saw this particular job posting and these are the things that stood out to me’ and relate those things to your personal experience.”
Have a letter of recommendation handy.
Some jobs will ask for a letter of recommendation, so it is good to have one just in case. This can be from a previous professor, mentor or employer.
Create a Handshake account and begin applying.
Raven posts job offers in the evening, making it the optimal time to look. Remember to apply only to jobs you're qualified for and pay attention to details in postings, crafting your application accordingly.
Speak with professors, department heads and Career Development team.
Jobs on Handshake can be competitive. Department members may have the inside scoop on what positions are available in your area of interest.