Landing a Federal Work-Study (FWS) Job

When employers recruit or graduate schools admit new college graduates, they look beyond a student’s major and academic record for a demonstrated skill set. Part-time jobs allow college students to earn money while building their resume and provide an opportunity to develop new skills and competencies that complement classroom learning.

One program that connects undergraduate and graduate students with paid, part-time employment opportunities is the Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program.  FWS is a federally funded student aid program that provides part-time employment while the student is enrolled in school to help pay day-to-day expenses. Unlike other types of financial aid, FWS earnings are not applied directly to tuition and fee bills. Students who are awarded FWS receive the funds as they earn them via a paycheck, based on hours worked - just like any other part-time job.

In addition to earning extra cash for college, FWS participants may pick up professional skills and make on-campus contacts. Students may get a chance to work in a field related to their college major and/or career goals with a supervisor who understands that academics are a priority and will offer flexibility to schedule work hours around your class schedule and potentially serve as a future job search or graduate school admissions reference. 

To be awarded FWS, you must:

  1. File a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on an annual basis;
    • Question #31 on the FAFSA reads: Are you interested in being considered for work-study?
      • Select Yes if you are interested in being considered for work-study. Selecting this response does not guarantee that you will be offered Federal Work-study.
      • Select No if you are not interested in being considered for work-study.
      • Select Don’t know if you do not know if you are interested in being considered for work-study.
    • All students will be considered for federal student grants and loans. You can decline any financial aid that is offered to you, including Federal Work-study.
    • Please note: Answering "yes" to this question does not guarantee a student will be offered a work-study job, and students are not required to accept it if it is offered.
  2. Be enrolled in a full-time or part-time program at a university that is a participant in the FWS Program;
  3. Be a U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident, eligible non-citizen, or citizen of the Freely Associated States: The Federated States of Micronesia and the Republics of Palau and the Marshall Islands.
  4. Demonstrate financial need;
    • Note: Not all students qualify for FWS. Failing to qualify for FWS does not prevent a student from pursuing other forms of on-campus part-time employment while in college.
  5.  Accept your FWS Award;
  6. Search, apply and secure a FWS position through your institution.
    • Note: Students who are awarded FWS are not placed into positions on-campus.  FWS-eligible students must still apply, interview and be hired to earn their FWS award.  The Career Center is here to support you through the application and interview process - details below.

At FSU, the FWS Program is managed by the Office of Financial Aid. To learn more about the program or inquire about your FWS eligibility, email FA-FWS@fsu.edu.

Crafting Your Resume to Apply to Federal Work-Study (FWS) Positions

After you accept your FWS award, you should receive an email from FSU's Office of Financial Aid (within 5-7 days) with instructions on how to find a FWS job and a copy of your FWS Authorization Form. 

But, it's important to understand that the most popular FWS jobs at FSU tend to fill up quickly!

One key document that you will utilize during your search for a FWS job is your resume.  Make yourself a stand-out, competitive candidate by working with The Career Center on your resume.  A good first step is to review our online resume writing resources to ensure you are communicating your skills and abilities to potential FWS supervisors when applying. If you haven't written or updated your resume recently, The Career Center can help you craft a compelling resume!

Your resume is the only way a potential FWS Supervisor will initially review your candidate profile and determine if they would like to interview you.  As a result, it is highly recommended that you have your resume reviewed by The Career Center prior to uploading and applying for FWS jobs. In order to have your resume reviewed, you may:

  • Meet with a Career Center Career Advisor during virtual, drop-in career advising via Zoom breakout rooms.
    • Available Monday – Friday, 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM (closed Friday from 1:30 – 2:30 PM for a team meeting) throughout the online learning period:
      • Complete the advising registration by providing your name, email address, FSU Student ID, and select your advising topic.
      • Enter the Zoom waiting room.
      • A Career Center team member will greet you when you enter the Zoom advising session and place you in a breakout room with a Career Advisor who can critique your resume.
  • Meet with your College/Major specific Career Liaison during virtual, drop-in advising hours via Zoom: https://career.fsu.edu/about-us/career-liaisons
  • Submit your resume for document review by a Career Advisor:

Finding & Applying for a Federal Work-Study (FWS) Position

If you have been awarded work study, you will search and apply for FSU FWS jobs across campus through the online FSU FWS job portalNote: this link will only work for you if you have received an email from the Office of Financial Aid containing your work-study authorization form. If you have received the email and are having issues opening the provided link, please see here for instructions on clearing your cache.

We encourage you to submit an application to every FWS job that interests you! It is not in your best interest to apply for only one opportunity and wait to hear back before applying for other FWS jobs.  Hiring Supervisors will review job applications and might contact you directly to schedule an interview. 

If you are really excited about a specific FWS job, you can easily reach out to the Supervisor to indicate your interest!  All FSU Offices and Departments have webpages listing Faculty and Staff contact information.  FWS job listings will include the hiring department.  If you're unsure what to write in a networking email to the office or department indicating your interest in working there, your the FSU Career Center can help you craft a great one! 

Interviewing for a Federal Work-Study (FWS) Position

When attending an interview for a FWS job, it is very important to bring these documents with you:

  1. A copy of your FWS Authorization Form emailed to you by the FSU Office of Financial Aid
  2. Your printed Class Schedule from myFSU
  3. Your valid Driver’s License or Acceptable Form of Identification

To land your FWS job of choice, you should definitely prepare for your interview!  The FSU Career Center offers several options to help you effectively prepare for your FWS interview:

A virtual mock interview can help you hone your interviewing skills while also providing you with the confidence to deliver a great interview presence -

  1. Big Interview is a free online system that combines training and practice to help improve your interview technique and build your confidence.

  2. The FSU Career Center Mock Interview Program

Meet with a Career Center Staff Member for a 1:1 interview prep advising session -

  1. Meet with a Career Center Career Advisor during virtual, drop-in career advising via Zoom breakout rooms.
    • Available Monday – Friday, 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM (closed Friday from 1:30 – 2:30 PM for a team meeting) throughout the online learning period:
      • Complete the advising registration by providing your name, email address, FSU Student ID, and select your advising topic.
      • Enter the Zoom waiting room.
      • A Career Center team member will greet you when you enter the Zoom advising session and place you in a breakout room with a Career Advisor who can conduct a brief interview prep session with you.
  2. Meet with your College/Major specific Career Liaison during virtual, drop-in advising hours via Zoom: https://career.fsu.edu/about-us/career-liaisons

Review the FSU Career Center's online interviewing guides -

  1. The First Job Interview
  2. Preparing for a Telephone Interview

At FSU, the FWS Program is managed by the Office of Financial Aid. To learn more about the program or inquire about your FWS eligibility, email FA-FWS@fsu.edu.

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