Finding a job: where to look

Many students use on-campus employment to ease the costs of college life.

Freshman Robert Partyka passes a finished plate to a co-worker during his shift at Noodles and Company. Many job opportunities exist for MU students. Maneater File Photo

Behind the bells and whistles that paint the portrait of an ideal college life, a major crossroad of life in a new land nests within even the most enthusiastic of college students: finances. 

The broad subject encompasses not only the costs of tuition but also the general expenses of living away from mom, dad and the comfort of one's childhood home.

Some students arrive on campus with the inherent fortunes of family or scholarship support. Others merely join the mounting population of adults fighting the plague of college debt.

But for many, a means of supporting themselves amid adulthood expenses, whittling away at the borrowed amount or simply generating income to make their college years all the more enjoyable is actually joining what they came to college to join: the work force. And here at MU, job opportunities all along the avenue of making ends meet will open their doors to those students hungry enough to seek their benefits.

On campus: Where to start

The most popular and convenient start to the college job search process unsurprisingly lies on campus. With endless possibilities, resources make the process of finding the right job easier.

MU hosts a department with that sole purpose in mind known as the MU Career Center. Located in the basement of the Student Success Center on Lowry Mall, the Career Center is an outfit run largely by student staff members with the goal of directing students to appropriate career paths.

The other popular job-search resource for students is the website The online job database works as a one-stop shop for employment befitting to the career paths on which students arrived to be Tigers in the first place.

For students who qualify, the advent of work study, which provides additional funding for student employment, bridges the gap between dream and reality when it comes to affording a college education.

Campus Dining Services

No line of on-campus employment is as large or as steady as Campus Dining Services. To accomplish supplying meal plans to thousands of students every single day, CDS employs close to 40 percent of all MU student staff members, ranking it as the top job market on campus. The majority of CDS student employees work in the area of food service, as seven dining halls and several on-campus retail locations provide more than 500 student jobs.

Susan Dayton, CDS Manager of Computing and Recruiting Resources, said she feels that though food service is not the desired occupation for most students, CDS jobs do offer many life skills that can be applied to any field.

"We're looking at what skills we can help develop to support those career paths because there are skill sets employers are looking for from students that they say education doesn't have," said Dayton, who listed characteristics such as teamwork and people skills as traits that can be acquired through CDS employment. 

Job applications and further details can be found on CDS's website.

Residential Life 

As the second largest employer on campus with more than 300 student staff workers, the Department of Residential Life offers a variety of jobs that share a common vision of maintaining on-campus living for MU's ever-expanding undergraduate population. 

A unique opportunity presented by Residential Life is its method of payment. Peer and Community Advisors live in the residence halls – working as student leaders, organizers and on-call workers in return for free room and board along the way. Residential Life also employs desk attendants, hall tour guides and office aids.

"We're an essential function on campus," said Matt Arnold, one of the Area Administrative Supervisors on campus and a former Residential Life student staffer himself. "Even when we had the 'Snowpocalypse,' we still served our students."

Look for applications to most Residential Life positions in December. A full list of positions and job descriptions, including summer employment, is available on the department's website.

Other On Campus Jobs

CDS and Residential Life are certainly not the only places for students to find work.

The Student Recreation Complex is fueled by student workers who aim for professionalism in maintaining one of the most highly-regarded student recreation complexes in America. For students like MU senior Courtney Nachtsheim, the complex offers a comfortable and friendly work atmosphere.

"I like the flexibility of the hours and how they work around your class schedule,"she said.

Other student jobs can be found at the University Bookstore (job openings are posted online periodically), as well as through financial aid and in summer opportunities such as work as tour guides and Summer Welcome leaders.


Working off-campus, unsurprisingly, is not nearly as popular as on-campus employment due to the difference in proximity to students, an increased job market and the reality that most employers don't share the same level of sympathy for school-related conflicts that many on-campus employers do.

But for those willing to expand their work horizons, businesses are out there for students to engross themselves in a real work setting.

Although off campus employers can't match the proximity to campus that on campus ones can, many downtown restaurants, pubs and shops line the streets just beyond the edge of campus where the bustle of life on the town fuels a job market that is within reasonable reach to students.

Be it work in Residential Life, CDS or other outfits on or near the MU campus, employment during college life is like most parts of this new life that students deem necessary — available for those who care and dare to explore.

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