Talking About Your On Campus Job On During An Interview

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By Hayley Herzog, MPH/MPA (GPH/Wagner), Class of 2023

Landing an on-campus job is exciting. You did your research, aced the interview, and now have the job. But what happens when it’s time to search for another opportunity and have to talk about your on campus job? I’ve found the following three tips and tricks helpful when it’s time to talk about my on campus experiences. 

  1. Transferable skills!

You’ve heard the phrase ‘transferable skills’ before. Yes it is a hot popular phrase- but it is also one of my favorites when interviewing. I love being able to show future opportunities why I am the best fit for them through transferable skills. Even if your new opportunity isn’t exactly like your on campus job, the skills you developed during your job can help you with your next opportunity. Were you an on campus office assistant looking to be a full time office aide? Did you work at the bookstore at the check-out desk and are now looking to be a full time data analyst? Did you work the 6 am shift at Palladium and are now looking to be a financial advisor? All of these situations are opportunities to take advantage of the specific skills you have gained from your previous experiences as they would be relevant to your new ones. You can take almost any responsibility and aspect of your on campus job and show your new opportunity why you are better because of it. 

  1. Don’t fudge it, it’s all about framing

If you didn’t actually do it, don’t pretend you did. Be truthful about how you contributed and where. There are so many positives and worthwhile experiences one gets from their on campus job. Remember those transferable skills, here is where they come in again! Not every job makes you feel like you are the CEO of the world, but that doesn’t mean the work you did/are doing isn’t important or relevant to your future opportunities, especially when you frame them differently. Even tasks that might have felt menial or not impressive to you can make you stand out among other applicants. Did you answer emails as part of your responsibilities? This is a perfect example to show you are able to pay attention to details, have interpersonal skills, and are communicable. Be honest about what you did while at your on campus job and make sure to frame the skills you showed/developed rather than just stating what you did.

  1. Have moments ready on hand during an interview

  We’ve all experienced the ‘name a challenge’  or ‘name a time when you succeeded’ questions during the interview process. This is the perfect opportunity to share what you learned during your on campus job. Prior to the interview, I come up with 3-4 things that I want to talk about or that I think are good examples of my workstyle from each of my experiences. This is another opportunity for you to frame your on campus job or talk about an aspect of it that you are particularly proud of. 

Being an NYU student is an achievement in itself and having an on campus job is a manifestation of that achievement. These are just a few things that I’ve found to be helpful and that I’ve learned through my on campus jobs. But I’m not the end all be all in terms of on campus jobs or talking about past experiences in interviews. Violet Network, NYU’s mentoring platform for students and alumni, is a great place to connect with others who are currently or have been in your shoes. But don’t just take it from me, there are thousands of others who are figuring it out alongside you or have just figured it out for themselves. Use them as a resource, ask questions, and always keep learning.