Series: A Graduate Student’s Guide (On-Campus Jobs)

by Rashmi Jeswani, Information Sciences and Technologies MS student

I thought of starting a series called ‘A Graduate Student’s Guide’ that will include individual blogs about finding on-campus jobs, looking for a co-op, and several more! The first one in the series is ‘A Graduate Student’s Guide to finding on-campus jobs’!

After I paid my $300 deposit last summer and decided that RIT was the perfect place for me, I began to explore the numerous resources and opportunities that the university had to offer. After some research, I stumbled upon ‘Handshake’: the online job portal for the university that lists details about the various on-campus jobs as well as internships and co-op listings. I was lucky enough to stumble upon a listing called the ‘Graduate Liaison’ at the Graduate Enrollment Office offering a great working environment and decent pay; I immediately applied for the job knowing that it was only a few months that I arrive at the university and had an interview scheduled for as soon as I came to the country. All this prior research helped me in landing one of the best on-campus jobs which have massively helped me take care of my personal expense whilst pursuing my masters.

A lot of people ask me about the best ways a student can find and land good on-campus jobs; this blog talks about the different ways one can look for jobs on campus and the several jobs available on campus that best suits their interests and helps take care of financial liabilities as an international student.

Research on Handshake 

Handshake is RIT’s online job portal. Almost 90% of the employers on campus post job listings on the portal where the students have to upload their resume as well as other requested documents. These students are then shortlisted by employers and contacted for further interviews. Employers actively post job listings on the portal hence if one has to look for the best jobs on campus, Handshake is your go-to portal.

It is a simple but powerful search tool and alert system that helps students find the best fit for jobs (on as well as off campus) and internships posted by 300,000 companies, non-profits, and government organizations.

Visit this link to access Handshake. (Please note that the portal is only accessible to students after they have paid their $300)

Dining Services 

RIT Catering manages tons of events both on and off-campus and they are always looking for people who are friendly, punctual, and ready to help bring food and drinks to some of the most exclusive RIT events! Lots of the events that RIT Catering handles take place on campus for art gallery openings, club and organization meetings, and even the annual president’s ball which gives you an awesome chance to meet new people ranging from faculty in some of RIT’s academic colleges all the way up to RIT’s current president! Catering also is responsible for lots of the food at the RIT hockey games so chances are that landing a job here means you will get to watch lots of games for free! Dining Services offers the most number of jobs on campus and they are relatively easier to land. Students can look for postings on Handshake or simply visit a dining facility and ask for open positions.

Note Taking

Because RIT shares a campus with NTID (the National Technical Institute for the Deaf), many classes will require a designated Note Taker for some of our deaf or hard of hearing students. People need to be very reliable for this position because you are not allowed to miss any classes. This person, normally a student, clocks in before their classes, takes notes on the lecture, submits the notes, and then clocks out. Because note takers work during their class time, you end up feeling like you are being paid to go to class and if you already take good notes then this might be the perfect job for you!

Teaching/Research/Graduate Assistants

After their first semesters at the university, a majority of graduate students end up finding graduate/teaching/research assistantships under their professors that provide them exposure working with experienced people in the industry or gives them an opportunity to research in their field of interest. These jobs offer a fixed stipend or tuition waiver opportunities and are one of the favorite on-campus jobs for students that look impressive on the resume as well.

Each department offers a certain number of graduate assistantships to the students at the start of the fall semester. Teaching and Research Assistantships are offered by particular professors and they are to be approached directly.

I ended up finding a Lab Assistant opening at the Information Sciences and Technologies department through a friend who was graduating that semester. Through his recommendation, I was able to bag an interview with the Head Systems Administrator for the department and ended up getting the job. Recommendations work wonders when finding any kind of job (whether on campus or off campus) and one should always be on the lookout for such opportunities through friends, colleagues or mentors.

Peer Advisor Leaders/Student Government/Global Union Ambassador

Several students organization at RIT like the International Student Services, Global Union and the Student Government offer several part-time opportunities to the students interested in being a part of such organizations. The ISS offers the positions of graduate assistants and Peer Advisor Leaders (PALS) that offer their services during the orientation period and help incoming students with a smooth transition into the university and the life in the US. Global union ambassadors perform similar duties year-long on campus. Student government offers certain positions as well (eg. the graduate senator) to students interested in holding a certain amount of power and responsibility among the student body. Listings for these jobs are sent out through emails and special postings on-campus groups or handshake.

RIT FALL CAREER FAIR 2018

by Rashmi Jeswani, Information Science and Technologies MS student

The 2018 University Wide Career Fair at RIT (October 3rd and 4th) turned out to be the biggest fair ever held at the institute. Companies from diverse industries attended the fair to recruit and hire students for numerous positions. The fair marked attendance by over 5000 students and RIT alumni, 265 companies and over 935 recruiters.

Companies like Bosch, Canon, Eastman Kodak, Honda, Oracle, Paychex, Microsoft, USPS, T-Mobile, Wegmans, United States Navy and several other industry giants attended the event and reviewed several resumes for interviews the next day. Students were interviewed to be hired for full time positions, co-ops and internships over the spring and summer.

Prior to the commencement of the career fair there were several networking events organized by the institute. Companies like Google and Apple interacted with RIT students from various majors and provided information on the kind of skills they look for while hiring by conducting info sessions and workshops. Post-sessions, the recruiters networked with current students and reviewed profiles as well.

Students could also get their resumes evaluated at the Career Services office to better prepare and be ready for the fair. The college also provided students with access to formal attire prior to the fair in the fireside lounge at SAU.

In my experience attending the career fair for the first time, here are some important tips that I think are useful when attending such fairs:

1. SHORTLIST COMPANIES FOR YOUR MAJOR

Every year, information about the companies attending the fair is updated on the Career Fair website and blog. It is clever to research about potential recruiters, their requirements and background to help establish a better impression during the one on one. Shortlisting companies can also help you save time and energy during the fair as you would not have to struggle in long queues for companies that have no interest in hiring your respective major.

2. GET YOUR RESUME EVALUATED

 Resumes are possibly the most important aspect while presenting yourself to a recruiter. The piece of paper represents your skills and your chances to get hired. As you speak about yourself, make sure to hand in your resume and point out the places that substantiate what you’re saying. Make sure your resume gets highlighted among the lot. You can head to the Career Services office at the Bausch and Lomb Center to get your resumes evaluated and updated by an expert.

3. DRESS WELL AND PRESENT WELL

 As with any interview, it’s important to dress professionally—but at a career fair, you want to be comfortable, too. Wear a lightweight outfit that won’t get too hot and check your coat or leave it behind. And make sure your shoes are extra comfortable—you might be on your feet for several hours!

As you approach each table, be friendly, be confident, and be prepared with something to say. Introduce yourself with a smile, eye contact, and a brief, firm handshake. Often, the recruiter will take the lead and ask you questions, but you should also have your elevator pitch ready—a 30-second soundbite of what you want the company to know about you.

For more information on the career fair you can visit the official Career Services website.

 

 

 

 

What is a Co-op?

Picture from my Co-op during Summer 2016

by Sanjay Varma Rudraraju, Computer Science MS student

“What is a Co-op?” is probably one of the most frequent questions I get from prospective students so I thought I should be writing a short article explaining what exactly is this word Co-op that RIT staff and students use a lot. Co-operative Education or as we love to call it, Co-op, is similar to an internship that can be done during the academic semesters (Fall or Spring) and is a practical experience that add values to your degree and can be done anywhere in the world. It is the best way to get your foot in the door of your favorite company and also gives you a great experience.

For an opportunity to be considered as co-op it should be full time (35 hours or more per week), paid, and relevant to your field of study. Employers love the co-op program at RIT because it gives them a chance to assess a student’s skill set before they offer them a full-time position at the company. Students love the co-op program because they get to do the same work as a full-time employee and sometimes even pitch new product ideas, which adds great value to the company. One of the perks of being an RIT student is that unlike many schools that require their students to pay for certain credit hours to be registered for a co-op, RIT doesn’t ask its students to pay anything. RIT recognizes that this co-op brings a lot of value to the student and also helps them financially so they encourage their students to complete a co-op before graduating.

The Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education has absolutely the nicest people who are always there for students to help them prepare for their interviews, try to bring a lot of companies to the career fair for students to meet employers, review resumes and tons of other services. I personally have done one co-op and it was the best experience ever and was lucky enough to get a full time offer too. So to conclude this short article, a co-op in simple language is just an internship done during academic semesters.

More information can be found on RIT’s Career Services website. 

Financial Funding 101

by Ami Patel, Computer Science MS student

Let’s not lie, Graduate school can be expensive and what’s better than financial funding to a grad student? But, at times it’s confusing what all are the available options, what do those options mean and how to approach? This article is going to be your Financial Funding 101. Let’s begin:

1. Scholarship: Based on previous scholarly activities, students are awarded merit-based scholarship upon admission. The amount varies based on how much funding the department has. This is the percentage value of your tuition and you don’t need to apply explicitly for it, each applicant is automatically considered for the scholarship. It might increase after 1-2 semesters based on your academic performance.

2. Graduate Assistantship: This role involves working as a support role or conducting research work for your academic department. The compensation includes some percentage of tuition waiver along with payment for the hours you work. Check your Department Office for any vacancy.

3. Graduate Assistant with RIT Student Affairs: So, this one includes a variety of roles like the resident advisor, Greek life assistant, orientation programming assistant, health promotion and marketing, assistant to Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement and few more. Compensation varies from hourly wage to stipends along with housing and meal plan. Check here for more details: https://www.rit.edu/studentaffairs/about/GA-opportunities

4. Research Assistantship: This one is simple. You work with a professor on a research project. Usually, the compensation is in the form of hourly wage but in some cases, you might receive some percentage of tuition waiver in-addition-to or instead-of the hourly wage. For this, you need to approach professors who are conducting a research project in your area of interest.

5. Teaching Assistantship: TA is generally assisting the professor with instructional responsibilities and you get paid for the number of hours you work. For TA opportunities, you will need to approach professors teaching a course you have completed before.

6. Clerical Jobs: These are on-campus jobs which involve clerical tasks like office assistant, student assistant with different departments, library, student center and various other offices at RIT. Compensation is in form of hourly wage. To apply, you can check for opportunities on RIT’s job portal: https://rit.joinhandshake.com/

7. Technical Jobs: These includes all kind of computing jobs from lab assistant, system administrator, web development for various departments. Compensation is in form of hourly wage. To apply, you can check for opportunities on RIT’s job portal: https://rit.joinhandshake.com/

8. Dining Services: If you love food and working with it, then this is interesting with roles involving food prep, production, inventory, cashier, dining room attendant for various dining locations on-campus. Again the compensation is the hourly wage. To apply, you can check for opportunities on RIT’s job portal: https://rit.joinhandshake.com/

Note: For all of these opportunities, you will need your RIT email address.

 

Working on campus – how to find a job

by Krishna Tippur Gururaj, Computer Science MS student

Working part-time is an integral part of a student’s life. It provides a chance to earn some money which could go towards rent, groceries, or for a trip out of town.

As per the Student Employment Office (SEO), RIT has over 9,000 student jobs on-campus. These range from dining services to administrative jobs, from working as librarians to being tutors and teaching assistants. The minimum hourly pay for an on-campus job, as per NY state law, is $9.70. The pay may go up to $15 or so per hour for some jobs. Dining services pay minimum wage. RIT states that no student may work more than 20 hours in a week (counted from a Friday morning to the following Thursday midnight). The student has complete flexibility to choose the hours for which they would like to work, subject to shifts available at their workplace. Managers at all jobs know students are eager to work but at the same time will put studies ahead of any job they do; they are usually able to accommodate any modification in work schedules to work around mid-terms or project submissions, if such requests are put in advance.

The SEO requires a student to report any new job that they get, and assign a badge/punch number for the same. This number is unique to each student’s each job. This is used to maintain time sheets. A student is issued an SEO card every semester, and this is a mandatory requirement to be taken care of by the student. This card is issued only once the SEO can see that the student is enrolled as a full-time student for the term in question (12 credits for an undergraduate and 9 for a graduate student). Salaries are paid biweekly, on the Friday after the end of a pay cycle. They can be picked up as checks from the manager or auto-transfers can be set up toward the student’s bank account.

When I first arrived at RIT in August 2016, I had not taken up a job immediately as I figured I would first see how hectic my coursework would be. I found out that dining services usually employ a lot of students. So about 2-3 weeks after start of the session, armed with my class schedule, I had first approached Gracie’s (located in Grace Watson Hall, near the Residence Halls) for a job; however, there were no positions available there by then. My roommate had just started working at RITz Sports Zone (in the lower level of the Student Alumni Union) and told me to try my luck there. It took me a few days to get a hold of the manager during her break, and once I spoke to her and asked her for a job for around 10 hours a week, she immediately looked at my class schedule and asked me if Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10 AM to 1:30 PM would work for me. I said it would be fine, and that was it. I started the day after that. People at RITz were extremely helpful and welcoming. It only took me a few days to get used to working in an environment I had never seen before. I had always been a customer at a restaurant; I had never given thought to how things worked behind the scenes.

During my winter break, I came across an opening on the SEO website for the job of a Graduate Student Liaison at the Graduate Enrollment Office. I applied, interviewed, and got the job. The last seven-odd months that I have been working here have been wonderful, to say the least. I have had the opportunity of interacting with every graduate admissions counselor and with many of the incoming graduate students from India. I have had some insightful conversations with people and have learned quite a bit about the various questions that an incoming international student has, and how answers given by someone currently at RIT helps them out.

In conclusion, I would like to say that by working different on-campus jobs the past year, I have learned a lot about some of the efforts that go in to the functioning of a university the way it does. It has been a challenge balancing work shifts with my studies, one that I have enjoyed and managed quite well. I hope this serves as a helpful read to all newcomers to RIT!