This is a guest blog post from RedShelf's summer intern Lauren.
As I enter my final year of college, I reflect on my college experience and how quickly time flies! There have been many people and organizations that have made my time at college incredible, but one experience stands out for me as I enter the real world in less than a year - my experience as a student employee at my campus bookstore. To incoming freshmen or students who want to make some money and develop great communication skills, I highly recommend working at your campus bookstore. Here are the 5 reasons to apply to work at your campus bookstore:
1. Develop real-world skills and have something on your resume you can talk about!
From being on both sides of the interview process for many roles, I have seen the value that work experience provides in the conversation. In past interviews, the individual has commented on their appreciation for my work experience at the bookstore or holding a job throughout my college career. As a student employee, you not only learn how to work a register and use inventory systems, but you also learn other skills like time management, interpersonal and conflict resolution communication skills. There are also times that the projects you could be working on at the bookstore could also have the potential to relate directly to the career path you are looking to take.
2. Make connections with other students, parents, alumni and members of the community
Every time I talk to a student about why they like working at their campus store, I hear the same thing: the interactions with the customer and serving as an ambassador for their campus. Often times, the bookstore is the first interaction or impression that a prospective student has of an institution. Students, parents, alumni and members of the community all come into the store with different questions and needs. It is always awesome to tell a parent about your major, listen to stories about campus from alumni-parents, and help new students find their course materials. You begin to gain a deeper appreciation for your school and all that it has to offer this network.
3. Gain an understanding of the world of textbooks
Textbooks are notoriously expensive. I know the feeling of swiping your savings account (the money you had saved because you were hoping to use it for spring break) to spend on hundreds of dollars of textbooks. Also, a huge fear students have is getting to class and having the wrong book or edition. By working at your campus store, you can learn the ins and outs of the world of textbooks to better assist customers, too. You learn why textbooks are so expensive and find ways to save money. You learn about the different ways you can purchase your own course materials (new, used, or digital), too, helping you to make informed purchases. I know that I have saved hundreds of dollars on textbooks throughout my college career from the knowledge I have gained on what is available for me to purchase at my campus bookstore.
4. Make friends and have FUN!
Accepting a job at my campus bookstore was one of the first things I did my freshman year. I have made so many friends and have gotten to know so many different people from my experience. I even met one of my sophomore year roommates from working at the store! By working at your campus bookstore, you will get to meet other students outside of your dorm, student organization, or friend group. These are the people you will talk to after you get to work after a long day and the people who will pump you up to ace an exam after your shift! Not only are the student employees great, but you will interact with the awesome full-time staff. I know that the relationships I have built with my adult co-workers are ones I will treasure for years to come. I stop by my store whenever I am around campus!
5. Be one step ahead in knowing what is happening on campus and what is coming to the store
The bookstore is often a central hub of any campus. Stores often work in conjunction with other departments on campus to host events or hold promotions. By working at the store, you can be in the known about these events and promotions. You can always be one step ahead of your peers in picking up the coolest new spirit wear or technology release. You can know when your textbooks will be available in-store and how soon you can pick them up. By working at the bookstore, I scored a great deal on a Bluetooth speak because I knew when a great promotion was happening and bought a cool sweatshirt with my university logo before it sold out!
Lauren is a student at Miami University of Ohio who is a Business Development Intern at RedShelf.