Finding a part-time job on campus

Waterloo student working in campus services.
Author avatar of alyssa Written by Alyssa (she/her), student

Looking to make some money but want to avoid commuting between classes and work? Want to connect with other great people? Then a part-time job on campus sounds like the perfect fit for you!

Not only is working on campus convenient, but campus employers recognize the priorities of students and are accommodating to your class schedule. Plus, part-time jobs allow you to meet some awesome people, both students and staff! Living in a brand-new environment can be a bit daunting, but this is the great thing about getting a part-time job — you can familiarize yourself with student co-workers and get started on connecting with the campus community!

Where to start

Searching for, finding, and applying to jobs isn’t always the easiest task, so I’ll help break it down for you!

1. Begin with the basics

This means ensuring that you meet the criteria necessary to be employed in Ontario, Canada. The last thing you want to do is work hard to obtain a job, just to find out that you don’t meet the criteria for employment. If you’re an international student, it’s important that you connect with an immigration consultant, as your eligibility to work may vary.

2. Create your résumé

A résumé is the first piece of information that employers read through to determine whether or not you're the right person for the job. Building a résumé that looks good, is written well, and — most importantly — stands out, will definitely benefit you in the long run.

Waterloo co-op student in suits.

3. Think about what suits you

Applying to jobs that cater to your own personal interests makes working much more enjoyable. If you like leadership roles, being a student ambassador would allow you to really put that skill to use. Maybe you enjoy cooking? UW Food Services offers part-time employment with flexible work schedules! For all those sports-lovers out there, you can find opportunities to referee at your favourite sport games. Whatever interests you may have — there is a work opportunity out there to match it!

4. Adjust your résumé

Though this step is not required, adjusting your résumé and/or cover letter before you apply to align better with the needs of your potential employer will definitely make you stand out! For example, if you’re opting for a job in customer service, it would serve you well to highlight any interpersonal skills you may have such as communication, conflict resolution, or communication, rather than technical skills like computer programming or data analysis.

5. Interview

I know it can be scary, but if you prepare enough, you can easily ace that interview! Doing your research on the company, rehearsing your answers for common interview questions, and dressing in clean, wrinkle-free clothing can go a long way.

What to expect

Depending on what job you’re looking to get, the hours you work each week can vary. On average, most students who have a part-time job are working 10 to 20 hours each week — however for international students working in Canada, depending on numerous factors such as your program, term level, study permit, etc., your work hours may look a little different.

Regardless, if you’re on a study term and you’re looking for a job, I would highly recommend a part-time position rather than a full-time position. While you may have less hours, a part-time job allows you to have an optimal balance of time between your studies and your work, reducing the possibility of burnout. The extra cash in your pocket is helpful too when having to buy groceries, fill up gas, or go out with friends.

Where to work on campus

Work-study program

Work-study is a program offered by the University for full-time students with financial need. There’s also an international work-study program that provides part-time work experience for full-time international undergraduate students with financial need. Students can earn up to $2,000 per term, and the best part is that all the available jobs are located right on campus! Jobs can be posted in a variety of departments, ranging from Athletics to Drama to Communication Studies, and even our on-campus optometry clinic.

Student Ambassador

Group photo of Waterloo Student Ambassadors
Student Ambassadors represent the University and get to share their personal experiences with visitors from around the world through tours and working at large events like Fall and March Open House, the Ontario Universities' Fair, and You @ Waterloo Day. There’s nothing better than getting paid to tell people why you love being a student here!

Adding onto that, the Student Ambassador community is one like no other. You’re surrounded by like-minded students who share the same enthusiasm and love for being a student here as you do.

I love working as a Student Ambassador because it allows me to be part of a community while also earning money for expenses like tuition and food!

Chaylan (she/her), Public Health student

On-campus student services

With dozens of student services on campus, there are usually tons of short-term and long-term jobs that are specifically for students. Whether it’s working at the library circulation desk, as a referee for intramural sports, or in a customer service position at the W Store, you’ll be surrounded by other amazing staff while helping to improve the student experience on campus.

Residence life

Student working with Waterloo's Campus Housing

Planning to live in residence? Within Campus Housing, there are a few different jobs for students looking for employment. No matter the position you get, you’ll be surrounded by an amazing team that works together to improve the student experience on campus.

Front Desk Assistants, Peer Leaders, Residence Engagement Leaders, and Dons are just some of the positions available through Campus Housing after first year. While most positions are geared toward upper-year students, there’s still plenty of opportunities for students living in residence (including in their first year) such as the Residence Ambassador and Residence Influencer roles. All positions are paid hourly with the exception of the Undergraduate Don position which is compensated through residence fees and WatCard funds.

I was a residence don in my last year, and it was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had to date. I made lasting friendships with other staff while being able to support a community of wonderful first-year students. Residence life has provided me with endless opportunities, such as presenting at a Residence Life Conference at Brock University. It was a great weekend with amazing company!

Sanji (she/her), Science and Business

Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA)

Waterloo's student association offers a range of jobs and volunteer opportunities each term, such as an Office Volunteer for Food Support, a Rental Specialist at the Bike Centre, a Marketing Executive for the Centre for Academic Policy Support (CAPS), and much more. Not only are the hours flexible, but you also get paid to help other students!

Explore other options

Part-time jobs are just one way you can earn some extra cash while you study. There are also opportunities available on WaterlooWorks or other off-campus jobs within the region of Waterloo. 

  • WaterlooWorks offers a variety of part-time and summer jobs — the process of applying is also really simple!
  • Conestoga and Fairview mall have over 100 stores each, meaning that there are often many part-time and full-time positions just waiting to be filled.
  • The City of Waterloo is home to hundreds of different restaurants, cafés, and shops, so there’s basically an endless supply of available positions that you can choose from. Don’t forget about the large department stores in the area, like Walmart, who are always searching for extra help, too!

Having a part-time job helped me earn extra savings so I could afford my tuition, but it still gave me freedom to do other things in my life!

Natasha (she/her), English student

Want to earn some cash without committing to a set schedule each week? Explore bursaries, a helpful tool for those looking for financial aid during their study term. 

I hope my advice and tips help you to secure the job you’re looking for. But remember, if you don’t get it, don’t sweat it — there are plenty of positions out there and now you have the resources and knowledge to back you up. Good luck and happy job-hunting!


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