I Applied to Every On-Campus Job to Write this Ultimate UCI Student Job Guide

Posted on September 8, 2021
On-Campus Employment

Why should you consider getting an on-campus job?

  • Gain valuable real-world work experience to build your resume.
  • Expand your professional network at UC Irvine, connecting with staff, professors, and students.
  • Earn extra income, typically ranging from $15.5 to $18 per hour.
  • [International student] Obtain your American Social Security Number (SSN).

Materials Needed:

  • Resume: A concise summary of your professional background, usually limited to one page. List your education, experiences, and skills. Almost 100% required to apply for a job.
  • Cover Letter: A tailored letter highlighting your suitability for the specific job. Usually not required, but nice to have.
  • Schedule: Clearly indicating your availability for the quarter. Required for almost all on-campus jobs I applied at UC Irvine.
  • Transcript: Demonstrates your dedication to your education and proficiency in your previous classes. Some people say employers can gauge how "hard-working" and "serious" you are from your grades, although this is debatable.
  • Work Study Permit: Required for work-study-only positions, a federal student aid program. Only eligible students can apply for these positions.

Hiring Timeline:

  • Most job postings appear 1-2 months before each quarter begins.
  • More positions are available in the fall compared to winter or spring quarters.
  • After submitting your resume on Handshake, expect to wait 1-3 weeks for an interview invitation if you are shortlisted.
  • You can then arrange your interview time. It's a courtesy to pick the earliest slot that you are available.
  • Some competitive positions may have multiple interview rounds.
  • If you passed the interview, expect to wait an additional week or so for the official offer.
  • If you accept the offer, you need to pass a background check before you can start working.

How to Narrow Down Your Job Search

From my observation, on-campus jobs can be categorized into four types:

  • Jobs that align with your major (Example: Software Engineer, IT Support, Administration Assistant)

    Pro: Better for resume-building and eventually land a full-time job after graduation

    Con: Small amount of job openings, competitive hiring process

  • Jobs that align with your interests (Example: Video Editor, Graphic Designer)

    Pro: More relaxed since you liked what are doing, Advance your hobby while earning money

    Con: Small amount of job openings, may not help with your resume depends on your career aspirations

  • Research-related jobs (Example: Research Assistant, Data Entry Clerk, Equipment Maintenance)

    Pro: Easier to ask for recommendation letters and prepare for grad school

    Con: Long hours, not flexible, little pay, many require work-study

  • Low-skilled jobs (Example: Meal Server, Library Checkout Clerk, ARC Desk Worker)

    Pro: Many openings, hire all year, pay is usually higher than minimum wage

    Con: May not help with your resume depends on your career aspirations

Understanding your preferences is key. Consider the pros and cons outlined above to make an informed decision about your on-campus job search.

My Background

I have prepared two resumes for different positions.

Computer Science Resume:

  • Summer internship at a major tech company
  • Published 2 iPhone apps on the App Store
  • Won 4 notable international awards during freshman year
  • Leadership experience in hackathons
  • Technical skills and programming languages proficiency

Video Editing / Graphic Design Resume:

  • Experience in YouTube video production
  • Video editing and graphic design portfolios
  • Proficiency in various editing software
  • Proficiency in DSLR camera operation


The data below is from August 2021 to September 2021.

Success Rate:

  • Submitted applications: 78
  • Reviewed applications : 39 *
  • Rejected with no interview: 4
  • Interviews offered: 12
  • Interviews attended: 3
  • Job offers: 3
  • Accepted job offer: 1

* This meant the manager viewed your application on Handshake

Interview Experience:

  • UCI Alumni Association: Exceptional experience with a 3-part interview, similar to questions on LinkedIn
  • UCI Merage: Informal and friendly interviewer, 15-question questionnaire
  • UCI DETI: Initial interview offer, featuring 2 detailed questions and a Q&A session

Good luck with your job search!