Community Service Work-Study

Work across the Country

If you would like a work-study job during the summer or IAP, think big! Instead of staying in Cambridge, consider working in your own hometown, or try out a new city anywhere else in the country.

Questions to ask yourself before you start your search:

  • Is there a city I might like to live in after graduation that I can "test drive" for the summer?
  • Where will I live if I choose to work in a new town?
  • Do I need to pick a location to work that has public transportation?
  • What would be the advantages and disadvantages to working in my hometown?
  • Is location or job type my priority?

Step One: Brainstorm your network

Whether you have decided to look in one town or several, think of all the people who can help you with your job search: professors, parents, friends, previous employers, your high school biology teacher etc. Don't forget to add the Community Engagement Administrator to that list!

Step Two: Do a little research

A Google search never hurt anyone, and websites like Idealist.org or Volunteermatch.org will help you learn about the non-profit organizations that exist in the locations you have in mind. It's also a good idea to research organizations that friends and family have connections with to make sure they are places YOU would like to work. Remember that to qualify for Community Service Work-Study, an employer must be a non-profit, school or governmental organization that will be expected to contribute 25-33% of your wages. This is a good time to run your list by the Community Engagement Administrator to make sure you are on the right track.

Step Three: Contact potential employers

Even if an organization doesn't appear to be hiring, you can always call about the possibility of a summer or IAP work-study position. If someone from your network has suggested an organization, have him or her make the initial introduction for you. There's no perfect number of organizations to contact, so keep going until you've found a position that makes your heart beat faster. Feel free to make an appointment with the Community Engagement Administrator if you have trouble making a decision. Are you sensing a pattern here?

Step Four: Confirm all of the details for your new job

There's a good chance you won't be able to visit your work site until your first day, so don't hesitate to ask lots of questions. Where will you work in the office? How big is the staff? What is a typical day like? When you are convinced that this is the position for you, contact the Community Engagement Administrator to submit an application. All positions must be approved before you can start packing your bags.

It's never too early to start looking for this type of job. For example, winter break can be the perfect time to look for summer employment in your hometown. Remember that non-profits may have small staffs that aren't able to return your call or schedule an interview as quickly as you expect. You can also increase the likelihood of receiving funding if you plan ahead!