I don’t know about you guys, but applying to work-study jobs can be a huge hassle. There are so many criteria when applying to these jobs, whether it’s creating a diverse range of cover letters, filling out endless applications, or even preparing for remote interviews. In other words, it can be really tiring and frustrating at times.

And I get it. I’m a work-study student myself. I’m currently a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin, and this is my second year of doing work-study. For this school year, I was hoping that I could continue with my work-study job from my freshman year, as that would help save hours and hours of me applying to multiple jobs. Unfortunately, however, my work-study job was canceled for the new school year because of COVID-19.

When I first received the news at the end of July, I felt discouraged because I only had a few weeks to find a job before classes started up again! I immediately went to Handshake, which is basically this platform that many universities/colleges use across the United States for students to apply for on-campus (or off-campus) jobs and internships. Using Handshake, I’ve applied to roughly 28 jobs, worked on at least 6 cover letters, updated my resume a couple of times so it could be relevant for whatever job I was applying for, gone to a work-study job fair that my university was hosting remotely, and have prepared for at least 7 different remote interviews in the span of five weeks. To tell you the truth, I am exhausted.

BUT – now that I have finally secured a work-study job (you guys don’t realize how relieved I am now!), I feel like I’ve now gained some experience under my belt in where I can give some helpful advice to those who are still applying to work-study jobs.

1.) Don’t be afraid to email work-study recruiters. 

If you’ve submitted an application a few weeks ago and still haven’t heard a response from the job-recruiters, don’t hesitate to email them about the status of your application! Sometimes, they may have missed your application amongst other applications. By emailing them, you’re showing genuine interest in the job position and the work-study recruiters will understand how serious you are about this job.

2.) Don’t let a cover letter requirement scare you. 

That is the one mistake that I have made when I first started applying for work-study jobs at the beginning of August. Every time I spotted a job that I was genuinely interested in and realized that it required a cover letter, I immediately dismissed it and moved on to the next potential job application.

Yet, however, when I finally realized how many of the jobs I was really intrigued in required a cover letter, I decided to go ahead and apply for those jobs – even if I didn’t know how to write a cover letter. I did have to teach myself (and ended up spending a lot of time watching YouTube videos) on how to write a cover letter at some point, but once you move past that stage, it’s all smooth sailing from there (or, as smooth sailing as it can get when you’re applying for work-study jobs)!

And you know what? I’m glad I decided to go ahead and apply to jobs that required cover letters because I ended up getting a work-study position that had formerly required a cover letter in the first place!

3.) Write down what jobs you’ve applied for so far.

This is imperative, you guys. Sometimes, you may end up applying to numerous jobs (like I did), and it’s really easy to lose yourself in all of these job applications.

That’s why it’s a good idea to set up a word document (or physically write it down in your planner if that’s what you prefer) of what jobs you’ve applied for so far, when you’ve applied for them, and if you’ve heard back from them. That way, if you look at your list and noticed that you had received no word from a job that you applied for almost three weeks ago, you can go ahead and email the work-study recruiter (which connects back to my first tip!) about the status of your application.

All in all, this will definitely help you in the long-run.

… and, that’s it! I know the job process can be frustrating and extremely daunting at times, but don’t worry, you’ll get through this! I spent so many hours behind a screen, applying to work-study jobs whenever I had the time, so I know how intimidating and tedious this process can be.

But, I believe in you! You just have to keep pushing yourself, and I know that sounds much easier than it really is, but it’s true. Even when you are getting rejection emails from job-recruiters (like I did), just remember that that job was not meant for you. Take a deep breath, keep on applying, and don’t lose hope in your capabilities. An opportunity will present itself in the future; all you have to do is believe in yourself and not give up.

Good luck everyone and I hope you get the work-study job that you want!