Admissions & Aid

Student Employment Handbook


As a student employee, you must remember one thing: THIS IS A REAL JOB!

DOs and DON'Ts of Being a Good Employee


  • Get to work on time. Don't be late or absent (except in an emergency) and then always call your supervisor as soon as possible to inform him/her of your absence.

  • Work the hours and schedule assigned to you - others are counting on you to be at your job. Take your scheduled breaks or lunches as assigned.

  • Come to work looking neat and clean. Your dress and appearance should be appropriate to the job setting.

  • Follow the instructions given to you to do your job.

  • Think carefully about your position and the role you play.

  • Speak clearly and listen carefully.

  • Ask questions when you are not sure what you are supposed to do or say.

  • Take notes while in training.

  • Ask for work when you are not busy.

  • Become a good worker and a good team player.

  • Be kind to others at all times. Be polite. Treat people the way you want to be treated.

  • Show respect for yourself and others.

  • Behave appropriately while on the job.

  • Follow the rules and finish your assignments.

  • Keep a positive attitude.


  • Talk too much or have chatty conversations while on the job.

  • Argue, complain or speak inappropriately while at work.

  • Discuss personal matters on the job.

  • Discuss confidential office business with anyone.

  • Do your personal work while on the job.

  • Make personal phone calls (except in an emergency and with your supervisor's permission).

  • Eat on the job.

Employers admire and reward employees who are:

  • Dependable

  • Courteous and respectful to others

  • Responsible

  • Efficient and hard working

  • Self-motivated and cooperative

  • Proud of their work and do a good job

  • Enthusiastic and motivated

  • Able to listen and communicate effectively

Employers tend to dislike and/or terminate employees who:

  • Have poor attendance and/or tardiness

  • Are dishonest

  • Are unable to get along with co-workers

  • Work inefficiently and ineffectively

  • Make too many mistakes

  • Have a bad attitude while at work

  • Do not follow instructions

  • Ignore confidentiality

Common Interview Questions & Answers

“Tell me about yourself.”

Limit your answer by quickly summarizing your past work experience. Select one or two items to illustrate your best features and be sure to use specific examples/details.

“Why did you decide to pursue this job?”

Mention your most relevant achievements and discuss what motivates you and how you make decisions. Focus your answer by picking a couple of specific events and provide concrete details.

“What difficulties have you faced on prior jobs?”

Be sure to turn negatives into positives. Describe prior “problems” as challenges and focus on solutions, not the difficulties.

“What is your greatest strength/weakness?”

Again, turn a negative into a positive. Do not mention a character flaw or weakness. Instead, say something like… I would like more experience in this area and a chance to develop my skills.

Doing the Job

Job Skills

You must learn the skills needed for your current job, be able to use them, and perfect them. Even if you know (or think you know) how to do something, do it the way you are told to do it. You will do well on the job if you keep a cooperative attitude and an open mind.

Work Habits

You must also practice good work habits. Learning new skills requires listening, thinking, reading and taking notes. If you are still not clear about your assignments/tasks or have questions, ask your supervisor. It is much better to ask questions than to do the job incorrectly.

Work Ethic

A person who strives really hard to be a successful employee is considered to have a "strong work ethic." Having a strong work ethic is important as you advance in your career and become an active member of the workforce. Having a solid work ethic means that you know that a job of any kind is a commitment and the work that is to be performed should be done to the best of one's ability. You should always be proud of a job well done. The rewards for doing a good job are personal satisfaction, upward mobility and potential salary increases.

In a new job, doing a good job includes learning how your employer wants things done. Even if you think you know how to do something, keep an open mind. You must listen carefully to instructions, watch closely when you are shown how to do something, take notes, ask questions and read everything you are given to read. You may find there are different ways of doing things, but always do the job the way you are told to do it by your supervisor.


What is attitude?

Attitude is your intellectual position or viewpoint on facts or, more simply, the way you view life and everything that happens to you. Your attitude determines what you think and how you see yourself and the rest of the world. It is easy to think positive thoughts. Everyone can have a good attitude; and, as an employee, you need to stay positive and upbeat no matter what happens on the job. In order to provide good customer service, there is nothing better than presenting a positive attitude to everyone that you make contact with while at work.

5 Things About Attitude to Remember

  1. Your attitude toward others influences your behavior.

  2. Your attitude determines your level of job satisfaction.

  3. Your attitude affects everyone around you, both in person and on the telephone.

  4. Your attitude is not only reflected by the tone of your voice, but also by the way you stand, sit your facial expressions and in other nonverbal ways.

  5. Your attitude is not set - the attitude you choose to show is up to you!

Your Key To Success

  • Start each day with thoughts about the positive aspects of your job.

  • Should negative events occur, take a deep breath and re-establish a positive attitude by focusing on things that allow you to regain your perspective and remain positive.

  • Whenever possible, avoid people and situations that are predictably negative.

  • Spread your positive attitude when things are going well.

Remember: Attitudes are caught, not taught!

Being a Good Communicator

Communicating effectively is extremely important in the work place as well as in your personal life. Be sure to make direct eye contact when speaking with someone; it is considered a sign of interest and respect. It might be okay to call your supervisor by his/her first name only if he/she tells you it is okay to do so. Some work places are more informal than others. However, in all places of employment, you should be polite, mind your manners, never raise your voice and speak slowly and calmly.

Everyone you have contact with at work should be treated with respect; including, your co-workers, your supervisors, and your customers. This is considered appropriate behavior on the job and good customer service.

Personal Style

We all have our own way of doing things and our own style. While you are working, however, you need to modify your personal style to fit and mesh with your co-workers, supervisors and the workplace.

Do you get along well with most people? Are you a team player? Are you cooperative? If you have even the slightest concern about these questions, it means you need to work on your personal style and manner. A pleasant and positive personal style is absolutely essential for any job and place of employment.

Good Work Habits

A person who is considered a good worker is one who is anxious to learn, responsible, reliable, available when needed, communicates well (both verbally and in writing) and acts as a team player. Your behavior in the workplace should always be professional. This means behaving in a mature, courteous, and business-like manner. As an employee of Santa Monica College, you represent your department and the entire college to everyone you come in contact with while you are at work.

Assignments and Timelines/Deadlines

When you are given an assignment; complete it in a timely manner and before the deadline date, give it back to the person who assigned it to you and then ask your supervisor for more work to do. Before you leave work every day, if you have not finished your assignment(s), you should attach a note to your work explaining what you have completed so far and also inform the person who assigned it to you how much you have finished. In addition, on a daily basis, before you leave the workplace, be sure to clean up your workspace and return all tools to their proper places.


All information regarding students, faculty and staff, including verbal, written and electronic information, is absolutely confidential. This means that anything you hear, see or read may not be revealed, discussed or used in any way. Any violation of confidentiality could result in severe disciplinary action.

Customer Service

Everyone, to whom you speak with while on the job, should be considered a customer, treated kindly, and given good service, both in person and on the phone. A person who provides quality customer service is one who:

  • Accepts responsibility for providing timely and exceptional service in a courteous manner.

  • Understands that the success of a department or office depends on good customer service.

  • Learns and practices customer service skills and presents a positive attitude.

Quality Customer Service

  1. An immediate response when someone enters your work area.

  2. Looking directly at the person, smiling, and in a clear and pleasant tone of voice asking, “How may I help you?”

  3. Being helpful and addressing the situation in a kind manner. Offer assistance and information, but only provide information that you are absolutely sure is correct.

  4. Avoiding "problem" situations. If you have a problem that you cannot resolve courteously, stay calm and pass the person to a supervisor with a quick and clear explanation of the customer’s problem.

  5. Apologizing when you make a mistake or hurt anyone in any way.

  6. Not discussing other people or confidential information with anyone at any time.

  7. Remembering to say “please,” “thank you,” and "you are welcome."

In order to provide quality customer service; you must remember that your customers, co-workers and you need:

  • Help/Assistance

  • Respect

  • Comfort

  • Empathy

  • Satisfaction

  • Support, AND

  • A friendly face!

Telephone Skills

While speaking on the telephone, be sure to use quality customer service skills combined with the following telephone techniques for good customer service. You need to be sure to give people the impression that you care about them and want to help them.

How to Handle Incoming Calls

  1. Answer the telephone by the first or second ring and be sure to smile.

  2. Using a clear, pleasant tone of voice say, “Good morning (afternoon, evening), this is the ____________ Office/Department and my name is ____________, how may I help you?” If your supervisor gives you different words to say as the greeting, use them, but you should always be pleasant. If you have a positive attitude it will be heard in your voice. And, be careful not to use slang.

  3. Try not to put someone on hold before you find out who it is and what the person needs.

  4. Try not to leave a person on hold longer than 30 seconds without checking back to tell him or her the status of the call and how much longer the person may need to wait. You may need to check back with the person more than once. If the wait is going to be longer than a minute ask, “May I (or whoever the person is calling) call you back or do you want to continue to hold?” If the person asks that he or she be called back, make sure the person is called back as soon as possible.

  5. If you are on the phone when another line rings and there is no one else to answer it, you should say, “Would you please hold for just a moment” and then answer the second line by the third ring and kindly find out who is calling and what they need. Give the call to the appropriate person if he or she is there, or if not, say, “I am on another line, may I put you on hold for a minute or shall I call you back?”

How to Respond to Requests and Questions

  1. If the call is for someone else in your office, ask the caller his or her name and to please hold a moment, push the hold button, then tell the person in your office who is calling and which phone line to pick up.

  2. If the call is for someone who is out of the office at the moment, tell the caller this fact and ask if he or she would like to leave a message. If the person says yes, put the individual through to voice mail or take a complete and clear message on the appropriate message form. Be sure to include the caller’s name, phone number, date and time of the call, any information offered, the name of the person being called, and your name. Ask the person to spell his or her name if you are not sure how to spell it correctly. Be sure to put the written message in the correct place on the person’s desk or wherever you have been told to put telephone messages.

  3. If the call is for someone you do not know or the call is someone with an emergency, check with your supervisor in order to determine how to handle the call… you may need to transfer the call or refer the call to someone else in the office.

  4. Keep your conversations professional. It is inappropriate to start up a "chatty" or personal conversation with a customer, no matter how friendly he or she may be to you.

  5. Do not make personal phone calls while on the job unless you have a “true” emergency. Even then, you must ask permission from your supervisor to make the call.