Professor's research assistant: If you're having a tough time finding a job, consider working closely with a professor as a research assistant. You might propose a position to a professor in your discipline, Shatkin says. Not only will the skills you learn improve your career prospects, you'll forge an advantageous connection. "The recommendation you're going to get from that professor is better than from one who knows you solely in the classroom setting," Shatkin says.
Home health aide: If you're considering a career in healthcare—a solid choice in this economy—working part time as a home health aide could provide some valuable insight. Home health aides often work with the elderly, helping them take their medicines, work through physical exercises, and perform basic grooming. Healthcare jobs have held up during this recession, and the number of home health aide positions is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations.
Writer: If you're headed for a career that involves communications—and most do—you may gain advantages working, paid or not, as a writer. You might find work with a campus publication or the school paper. Alison Green, a hiring manager and U.S. News contributing blogger, says her college job writing for the school's alumni magazine looked great on her résumé. You might even find online editing work. "We have seen an increasing trend toward virtual jobs," says Fred Grant, founder of CollegeHelpers.com, a job-posting site for college students.
Bank teller: About 1 in 4 tellers work part time, so college students might find flexibility in a bank job. You'll gain customer service experience, and you'll be forced to become familiar with numbers. Sometimes students who are interested in working in the financial industry get their feet wet as tellers. Remember, when searching for a job, you're ideally looking for something that's relevant to your future career, Shatkin says.