Not many college students can say that they were paid to talk about beer throughout college, but that’s exactly what Liz Wessel did while at the University of Pennsylvania.
“I was the Anheuser Busch rep on campus,’ Wessel explains. “I considered my job a supplement to my education.” It was during her time at Penn that Wessel and classmate J.J. Fliegelman decided to create a site exclusively geared toward students looking for jobs as campus reps. After graduation, the pair decided to create a firm that would connect students with such companies.
Wessel was working in India for Google when she and Fliegelman decided to launch their new company Campus Job – which connects companies with interested student workers. In addition to listings for more conventional college students positions at coffee shops, it also recruits for larger companies as well. Her work experience as a campus rep provided much of the inspiration behind the website, she says. “I still had no idea what I wanted to do [while I was in college],” recalls Wessel, a political science major. “It was actually my part-time job that led me to realize ‘Wow, I like marketing.’”
We talked to Wessel about how students can build their skills off-campus.
Become a better public speaker: “For my job I had to visit fraternities and sororities to talk about products and also promote the engineering jobs at Anheuser Busch. I had never gone in front of hundreds of peers to do something like that,” says Wessel. Many of the jobs listed on the site require employees to be comfortable speaking in front of large groups, she notes.
Explore new fields:Wessel advises students use their part-time positions to gain skills outside their courses of study. “We did an analysis of recent grads and the majority of students said their majors had nothing to do with their jobs,” she notes. “We talked to a pre-med student who wanted to look for a job in marketing because they thought, ‘Let me try out a new field. Let me gain new skills.’”
Develop connections: “A lot of students also don’t know that companies like Microsoft have campus reps…,” says Wessel. “Also, typically if an employer wants to hire a student, they want to give them feedback, so it’s a chance to grow and build relationships.”
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