By ERIC MCKENZIE
For students looking for full-time work this summer, the Internet is the springboard to opportunity.
Companies are using Facebook, Twitter and Linked In as recruitment tools for summer jobs, said Christine Walch, an employer relations consultant at Conestoga College.
Walch said it works both ways and that students should start creating an online profile.
“Linked In is a powerful way for you to start researching a company. You can start looking at profiles of the people that work there,” she said.
Blogging, social media and an online portfolio and resume are the trends of the future for employment, said Walch.
“Make sure that you are ahead of the curve or on trend using these things to your advantage. When someone Googles you, make sure you know what comes up,” she said.
This online leverage may be necessary this year for students as the recent layoffs at Research In Motion, Colonial Cookies and Schneiders will likely result in hundreds of lost student jobs.
Catherine Aruda, a third-year accounting student, worked at Schneiders for her summer job for the last three years and may now have to look elsewhere for employment.
“Because they’re closing they’re slowly reducing the work in the plant. There’s also less full-timers taking vacation so they need fewer students,” said Aruda.
An icon in downtown Kitchener, the Schneiders’ manufacturing plant will be shut down in 2013 and work shifted to a new location in Hamilton. As more and more manufacturing jobs are lost locally, students will have to look for more skilled work in their educational fields.
Many of these skilled jobs can be found online, on websites such as Conestoga’s MyCareers, which posts full-time, part-time and summer employment.
“I think we need to get more traffic on that site,” said Walch.
Many other local employment opportunities will be posted during the winter and spring months, through services such as the Student Job Service offered by Lutherwood in K-W and the City of Kitchener.
“The city employs almost 200 summer workers, many students, for jobs that range from youth drop-in supervisor to summer camp leader to skateboard park worker,” said Angie Fritz, the co-ordinator of Summer Playgrounds for the city.
A provincially subsidized employment resource is also available from the Government of Ontario called the Summer Employment Opportunity (SEO) team. These are full-time, temporary positions that offer a range of working environments which include offices, outdoors and unique locations such as laboratories and travel information centres.
“The Summer Employment Opportunities program provides an excellent opportunity for post-secondary as well as high school students to work and gain experience in a related field of study while learning about the Ontario Public Service,” said a representative from the SEO team.
No matter which jobs students are applying for the golden rule is “apply early” and “apply often.” In a competitive job market where unskilled labour is not in demand, students should be looking for their competitive edge in the skilled market.
“Time is key, be prepared and get organized early. Good luck is hard work meeting opportunity. Start planting those seeds now,” said Walch.