The Value of Student Employment

Obtaining work experience while earning your degree can be a great addition to your resume and demonstrate to an employer or graduate program that you have developed professional skills.  Whether you obtain experience through a campus position, internship/co-op, or an off-campus opportunity, you will have the opportunity to enhance your professional network and fine tune relevant or transferable skills. This page contains advice on a variety of topics to help you develop as a professional and make the most of your work experiences.

Advice for Student Employees
  • Always maintain a positive attitude and smile. Think “ How can I help?” Strive for excellent assistance
  • Put yourself in the same position as the person you are helping
  • Smile and show that you are there to help
  • Take initiative on the job
  • Grow in your position.· When in doubt, check it out! If you’re not sure of the correct way to handle a situation or if you aren't confident in your response, go to your supervisor for direction
  • Learn as much as you can about the place where you are working
  • Remember, “the people you meet create your future.”
  • Treat your work-study position as a training ground for real-life work experience.
  • Take the job seriously!
  • Consider the letter of recommendation that will stem from this job... will you be proud of what is written?
  • Make an effort to get to know the professional staff around you. They will play an important role in your success if you let them
  • Dress for success! Knowing that you are representing not only yourself but the University as well!
  • Exceed expectations. There are over 9,000 students on campus. Be the student that the office talks about for years! 
  • Be a role model. Show other students how to be a good contributor and how to make a positive impact during your time at the University.

 Advice for Student Employees Printable Document

How to Write a Professional Email
  • Think of the basic rules such as politeness (i.e., saying please and thank you.)
  • Address people, you don’t know, in a gender neutral way (i.e., using their full name or using pronouns such as “They, Them, Their, Theirs, Themselves”)
  • Be respectful, friendly, and approachable in your writing
  • You don’t want to sound blunt or demanding. Get to the point of your email as quickly as possible, but don’t leave out important details that will help your recipient answer your query
  • Stay away from abbreviations and don’t use emojis
  • Use your umich email address for business communication (if a non-umich employer has given you an official email address for that company, use that one for those work email)
  • Use a spell-checker and pay attention to the basic rules of grammar
  • Always check your attachments before you send your email

How to Write a Professional Email Printable Document

Student Employees Do's and Don'ts


  • Demonstrate a positive attitude
  • Exercise confidentiality
  • Exhibit proper attire
  • Demonstrate consistent attendance & punctuality
  • Know your job
  • Demonstrate accuracy (Take the time to do things right!)
  • Utilize good oral & written communication skills
  • Exercise organizational skills
  • Be dependable & reliable
  • Exhibit intercultural skills (be sensitive to diversity issues)
  • Exercise personal management skills: Be self– motivated, able to manage stress, and exercise efficient time management skills
  • Utilize good thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Be creative
  • Treat those in the campus community like welcomed guests know as much as possible about the campus
  • Make the situation as easy as possible on whom you are helping
  • Know your job responsibilities, services, & products you provide
  • Use proper telephone etiquette
  • Always ask appropriate questions to clarify
  • Take responsibility
  • Take initiative
  • Represent UM-Dearborn with pride!


  • Demonstrate a negative attitude
  • Breach confidentiality regarding student information which you may access
  • Wear: shorts, torn clothing, crop tops, etc. (every office is different, so always ask your supervisor about what is appropriate)
  • Exhibit tardiness or have numerous absences
  • Expect to know everything (always ask questions)
  • Use your work in a non-productive manner
  • Always wait for someone to tell you what to do
  • Be close-minded when it comes to input from co-workers (Remember, you are working as a part of a team!)

Student Employees Do's and Don'ts Printable Document

Successful Telephone Techniques
  • Answer calls before three rings
  • Identify your office and your name when answering the telephone
  • Always keep a pen and paper handy in case you need to write down information
  • Always ask permission to put a person on hold
  • Use a voice that is warm, friendly, and energetic
  • Speak clearly at an appropriate volume
  • Give the caller the name of a new person/department and telephone number before transferring a call
  • Offer to take a message if the person the caller is attempting to reach is unavailable
  • Verify information and take complete, accurate messages.
  • What do you do when there is an angry caller?
  • Remain calm and helpful when handling angry callers
  • Listen
  • Accept that a problem exists and the caller has a right to be concerned
  • Do not tell the caller to calm down
  • Do not blame
  • Adopt a "can do/will do" attitude
  • Express thanks to the person for calling

Successful Telephone Techniques Printable Document

How to Maintain a Good Working Relationship With Your Supervisor

Task Completion: If you are assigned a project or specific responsibility to complete, make sure that if you encounter problems or have to leave, you have communicated the status of that project to the appropriate person. Have arrangements made for the completion of said task. Most projects have deadlines that are set which need to be strictly followed.

Communication: This is very important! If you are given a task and you are unsure of what needs to be done, it is your responsibility to ask questions.

Mistakes: Your student position is a great opportunity for personal growth. Do not be discouraged if you make a mistake. Learn from it!

Keep Informed: It is important that you know what is going on around campus and can act as a resource person and an ambassador for your department.

Stay Busy: If you feel you don’t have anything to do, ask for something to do! You can always clean and straighten up your work area. Look for things that need to be done. There is more than enough to do for all of us.

Challenge: Each student employee has a responsibility to continue to improve your university and department. Please make suggestions and address concerns on why things are the way they are. If you have an idea or a new approach, don’t hesitate to SPEAK UP!

Help others: Go out of your way to help others. Personal service and problem-solving for visitors to campus can be critical. When you see someone who looks like they need assistance, offer your help.

Continuing Employment: Employment for the next academic year is NOT automatic. Students will be rehired based on their performance from the previous year. Students interested in continuing employment for the next year should ask their supervisor what procedure they should follow to apply for work.

ACADEMICS: Your first priority is as a student and it is important that you pursue high academic achievement. You must balance your student job and your academic work so that you can be successful in both. Plan ahead so that you can meet commitment within your department. Review specific needs with your supervisor.

How to Maintain a Good Working Relationship With Your Supervisor Printable Document

The Seven C's

1. Caring: of the person you are  assisting, of your organization, or yourself
2. Confident: with responses to questions, of your people skills
3. Considerate: of the caller’s feelings, of colleagues
4. Committed: go an extra step
5. Creative: think about how to  solve the caller’s problem in a different way
6. Controlled: do not get upset when dealing with a difficult situation

The Seven C's Printable Document

How to Take a Phone Message

When Taking a Message Include:

  • Whom the call is for
  • The caller’s name spelled correctly
  • The caller’s firm or department, if offered
  • The telephone number to which a return call can be made
  • A message for the reason of the call
  • The time and date of the call
  • Your name

How to Take a Message Printable Document

New Student Employee Handbook

If you are a new student employee on campus, we encourage you to view the New Student Employee Handbook. It is a great reference for new student employees that contains information on:

  • The Value of Student Employment
  • Getting Started Checklist
  • What is Federal Work-Study?
  • Filling Out Your Timesheet
  • Onboarding Expectations of New Employee
  • Leveraging Your Student Employment Experience
  • & more...


Career Services

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