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Finding a Job On-Campus

Part-time employment on campus is a great way to earn extra money while developing valuable skills that you can highlight in future searches for internships, jobs, and graduate school applications. 

Do You Have Federal Work-Study? 

The Federal Work-Study (FWS) program is a federal need-based financial aid program administered at Northwestern University by the Work-Study Office, part of Undergraduate Financial Aid. Eligibility is determined annually by the student's financial aid office. Generally, students must be U.S. citizens, demonstrate financial need, and be enrolled in school at least half-time. Because FWS is a Federal Student Aid program, you can’t apply for it separately. Participants must also meet federal, state, or employer-specific employment conditions before beginning work in an FWS position. 
The purpose of Federal Work-Study at Northwestern is to promote part-time employment for students with financial need to meet their educational costs, gain skills and work experience related to their academic major or career field, and foster relations between the University and the community.  If you are on financial aid at Northwestern, you may have Work-Study as part your financial aid package.  To find out, contact the Work- Study Office.

Finding a Job On-Campus 

While a work-study award will make it easier to find a job on-campus, many departments across Northwestern will have openings for both work-study and non-work study students.  Students typically find on-campus job opportunities either through the student employment job board or by reaching out directly to faculty, staff, or departments by email.  Often, a simple email is all that is required to be considered for any openings.  Some employers may ask for a resume, or have you fill out an application noting your availability. 

Sample Resumes 

Should you need a resume, Northwestern Career Advancement has sample resumes as well as an online guide to teach you how to create a resume.  For many students as they transition from high school to college, they reduce their resume from multiple pages down to one page.  In addition, it is common for many first and second year students to have high school activities and awards on their resumes.  NCA welcomes the opportunity to meet with students and critique their resume.  Additionally, NCA has available an AI resume critiquing software, vmock available 24/7 to improve your resume. 

Communicating with a Department 

Many departments will ask you to contact them by email.  An email to an employer typically has the following parts.  Most emails are one to two paragraphs. 
  • Introduction 
  • Who referred you/how you found the contact 
  • Specific request (inquiry about position) 
  • Why you are interested in the position (note skills by looking at qualifications if provided) 

Sample Initial Outreach Email 

Subject: Northwestern Student Seeking Work Study Position in Biological Sciences Lab 
Dear Dr. Sanders, 
I am a first-year student at Northwestern University pursuing a degree in biology. I am interested in working on campus this fall.  I came across your job description on the Northwestern student employment webpage. Because of my interest in a career in research and experience with lab work in high school, I would like to apply for the position in Molecular Biosciences as a Laboratory Aide. If you have any questions, or require additional application materials, just let me know. Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you soon. 
Erika Gaines 


Many campus employers will ask to interview you for the potential role.  These conversations are less formal than traditional internship and post graduate job interviews.  Yet, a little preparation might be helpful to lessen your anxiousness.  Similar to the email, think about your interest in the position as well as some of the key skills necessary to do the job.  Examples can be simple and from a club in high school, summer job, or academic project.  Also, bring your availability to the interview – it will likely be important to the department.  NCA publishes an in-depth guide to interviewing.  This guide is designed to prepare students for internship recruiting – your experience is likely to be more conversational with simpler questions.   

Thank You Emails

After your conversation with a potential employer, send them a quick thank you email.  The email can be brief for a student job – often only a couple of sentences.  In the email, reference your appreciation and communicate your interests.