Student Employee to Qualified Intern: The Benefits of Working On-Campus

The idea of working while carrying a full course load can be overwhelming to students; however, many students find the flexibility of an on-campus job can prove to be rewarding when it comes to learning lifelong skills such as collaboration, communication and organizational skills.

The Career Center is fortunate to have several student employees that are the first point of contact for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and employers.  The experience of working on-campus often helps prepare students for internships by helping them polish their professional skills in a familiar environment that helps build confidence and navigate expectations.

We asked student employee Tazmania Hayward about her experience working with us and what she has come to value most about the Career Center’s services and connection to the creative industries. Here is what she had to say:

“I had never written a cover letter before. In fact, my first supposedly written cover letter was a poor introduction of myself and my abilities. When I applied to jobs, I never got them, and I started feeling like I was screwed.  I got emails from Nelnet every month reminding me that I was in debt. The school, with its yearly tuition, reminded me that despite how much I spend on a degree, not everyone is guaranteed a job in their career choice. I started failing classes a little, drowning in panic. I was more than scared because I didn’t know how to talk to people to get help. Mind you, I’m antisocial, and a bit of a hermit too. I would much rather play Halo and Call of Duty than get help with my problems.

I found out about the Portfolio Center (now the Career Center) literally when I was hired to be a Front Desk Assistant. I learned about their perks as I learned about the job. My supervisor Michael not only taught me how to communicate, but also taught me how to tweak my resume to appeal to potential employers. From there, I learned that a resume should always reflect the individual, and that a portfolio goes a long way to showcase a person’s talents. Being within the workings of the Career Center taught me how the process of preparing for a career works. It’s a long process. A process that I wish I had started during my freshman year. I didn’t know how to search for a job or present my work, and not knowing is where the panic started. Building connections, attending workshops, talking with my career advisor, those relations take time to build and you only get two to four years at Columbia. Through the Career Center, I formatted an awesome resume, business cards, a cover letter, and my own personal brand. With moral and verbal support from the Career Center staff, I’ve been president of a writing club, gone to the Nebulas, found an internship with Gumbo Fiction Salon, and I am currently prepping to attend graduate school so that I can educate college students. I look forward to having my own class where I teach genre writing. My advice to all students is: Take the chance to visit the Career Center and build connections that will benefit you in the long run.”

–Tazmania Hayward