“Student job-seekers up 56 percent from last year”

By Kaitlin Johnson

Sun Star Contributor

Caleb Kuntz has worked at Rasmuson Library on and off since 2005. When he started, he was still living with his parents and the job was just a way to meet new people and earn some extra cash. Now it’s become a necessity.

“It pays my rent, food, pretty much everything but school,” said Kuntz, now a senior. His school costs are covered through financial aid.

UAF has about 1,000 student jobs, said Career Experience Coordinator Jackie Debevec. Job opportunities range from firefighting to food services. UAF even offers some paid research positions for undergrads.

According to the UAF Human Resources website, on-campus jobs are capped at 20 hours per week unless a special exemption is made.  Pay starts at $8 per hour.  For many students, these positions are an ideal alternative to off-campus employment.

During his college career, Kuntz has had both on- and off-campus jobs, sometimes both at the same time. But for him, campus jobs are a better fit.

“They work with your schedule,” he said. “They always bend and make sure work doesn’t get in the way.”

Also, his campus job forced him to stay busy and become more efficient with his time. During semesters that he didn’t work, Kuntz felt he was more prone to waste time then when a job forced him to exercise time management.

“I still waste time. I just waste time more efficiently when I work,” Kuntz said.

UAF’s Career Services Department helps students find on- and off-campus jobs.

“I get to be like a matchmaker,” Debevec said.  “I match students to jobs that will fit them.”

The department’s services include polishing resumes and perfecting interview skills through mock interviews. The staff offers tips to help students distinguish themselves to recruiters and employers in competitive job fields. Then, they help guide students to job openings.

In recent years, the number of students utilizing Career Services has increased. In the 2008-09 school year, 1,072 students made use of the department and its online services. In 2009-10, that number rose to 1,672, a 56 percent increase.

Debevec said that the increase could be attributed to multiple factors, one being that the department has tried to make students more aware of its services through classroom presentations and critiquing resumes posted on UAF’s online job sites. Also, many students are referred to Career Services by faculty and other students.

Two tools for students to find jobs are the web sites uakjobs.com and uafcareerconnect, which can be accessed through the Career Services web site uaf.edu/career/.

Uakjobs lets students view and apply to open on-campus jobs.  UAFcareerconnect helps students find off-campus employment opportunities, including internships, summer jobs and openings in their career field.

Another tool to finding job opportunities is attending a job fair.

“Job fairs are great because you can interview with 15 potential employers all at once, instead of having to drive around and set up an interview with just one,” Debevec said.

Career Services hosts several job fairs annually. Different fairs are designed to target different career fields. For example, the Careers in Energy Recruitment Fair that will be held Sept. 22, is an opportunity for engineering and technology students to meet with employers from across the country.  Other fairs include accounting, natural resources and sciences, and campus jobs.

Although UAF’s career fairs remain an excellent opportunity, fewer out-of-state employers will be coming this year, Debevec said.

A major cause for this is the economy. Many companies have reduced their budgets for recruiting, and coming to Fairbanks is too expensive for them. Engineering firms Jacobs and Baker Hughes will both be absent at the Energy Recruitment Fair this year due to budget cuts.

Other companies, also faced with financial squeezes, have come up with alternatives to physically attending. After making budget cuts and having no available recruiter, the engineering firm Halliburton decided to schedule a time to do phone interviews with UAF students, said Debevec.

“It’s a competitive world. Graduates have to compete with people in the field as well as other students,” Debevec said. “And employers expect students to have experience in their field.”

For Kuntz, working on campus has meant more than merely preparing for the future. It’s helped shape his college experience.

“It’s a really good social environment. It makes you get out and meet people you otherwise wouldn’t.”

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