It would be great to spend the entire summer sleeping in, hanging out with friends, and binging your favourite TV series. Unfortunately, if you are like most students that’s not an option. Summer means a summer job. Whether saving for school, a new car, spending money or because your parents are making you get off your butt—more than likely—you’ll be hitting the pavement looking for decent summer employment.
Looking for a summer job is easy; however, securing one is not. The internet is full of job opportunities. You could easily spend all summer sorting through job listings without ever finding anything of interest. Your chances of finding a job you’re interested in doing is low, and if you’re lucky enough to find something you like, your chances of getting that job are even worse.
You may have some luck on the big job search websites like Workopolis or the HRDC Job Bank but there are thousands and thousands of people looking through these websites daily. And although they have thousands of jobs posted most of them are not geared towards students.
What other options are available? Before you decide where best to look, there are a few steps you need to take to prepare yourself for finding a job. Obviously, the first thing you need is a good resume, so the more work you’re willing to put into your resume, the better the pay off. If you want suggestions on resume writing you can check out The Damn Good Resume Guide for samples, tips, and answers to tough questions.
The second step is deciding what kind of job you want. Do you want to work in hospitality, an office, retail, or recreation? If you’re having trouble figuring it out, consider your interests. If you like working with people, perhaps you would enjoy sales or hospitality. If you’re interested in fitness or the outdoors, try recreation. Getting your foot in the door is a great way to network with people and learn more about your field of interest.
Now you have your resume and you know what you want to do. Where to look? The third step to finding a summer job is research, which presents a number of challenges. Let’s assume that you have tried the internet without any luck. Despite the fact that the majority of us turn to the internet when we’re hunting for work, only 20 percent of available jobs are advertised. That means 80 percent of jobs are not advertised . The best way to tap into this market is through research. Find a company in the field you’re interested in, track down the name of a contact person, along with their email and phone number and send them your resume. It’s always better to address your cover letter and resume directly to a person versus, “To Whom It May Concern.” A good place to start is Student Jobs: The Canadian Career Directory, which lists hundreds of employers throughout Canada, including the qualifications they look for, contact information, and whether or not they hire summer students.
If you’re not quite ready for cold calling or need help finding a job, there are places that search out summer jobs for you. The Human Resource Centre of Canada for Students (HRCC-S) runs the Hire a Student Program, which provides summer jobs for students of all ages, one-on-one employment counselling, volunteer opportunities, information on government programs, and much more. For the location nearest to you, visit the Human Resource Development Canada website.
If you know what you want to do and you have a good resume, then go for that summer position that will allow you to gather some experience! Keep in mind your summer job does not have to be directly related to your career aspirations. Many of the skills you acquire through a summer job are transferable to other areas. Trying a variety of summer jobs will give you valuable experience and may even help you figure out what you want to do in your future career.