BY TASHA LUNNY
It’s that time of the semester. Schoolwork is piling high and student stress levels are growing with it. In addition, a lot of soon-to-be graduates are preparing to make the transition from student to employee and are unsure of how to snag that perfect job.
It is a whole new experience trying to get a job in your desired field and it can come with a lot of uncertainties. Conestoga College Co-op and Career Services employment adviser Violet Vadjina said one of the biggest concerns students have when looking for employment is their lack of experience.
“Being enthusiastic and demonstrating you would be a good fit for the organization goes a long way and can sometimes make up for a lack of experience,” Vadjina said in an email interview.
Another way to make up for lack of experience is to use projects, skills and coursework as good examples of capability or volunteering your own time to intern for a company.
With school quickly coming to an end, students should be laying the groundwork for full-time employment way before final exams.
“Students also often underestimate how much time and effort it will require – looking for full-time work is a full-time job,” Vadjina said.
A common mistake made by students is solely focusing on advertised jobs. Only 10 to 20 per cent of jobs are advertised, leaving 80 per cent of jobs hidden. Advertised jobs can get hundreds of applicants, so applying for hidden jobs will better your chances of standing out.
Students often think they only need one standard resume and cover letter when in truth they should have several different variations that cater to specific job markets. They should also be taking advantage of any networking opportunities whether it’s career fairs, informational interviews or joining professional associations.
“It is very important to take advantage of any opportunity that puts you into contact with people in your field. Networking can also result in uncovering those hidden jobs,” Vadjina said.
Today’s society is overwhelmed with social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes these sites can leave a negative impression on potential employers but taking advantage of business networking sites such as LinkedIn can be a good place to network, follow companies of interest and find potential job opportunities.
The biggest thing to remember when the time comes to switch from college student to employee is to maintain realistic expectations.
“In today’s challenging job market you may have to start in an entry-level position. Instead of looking at it as a negative, consider it a stepping stone to where you eventually want to be,” Vadjina said. “Don’t have tunnel vision, be open to any possibilities in your field – you limit yourself greatly by focusing on one occupation.”
Students can take advantage of the services offered free of charge through Conestoga Co-op and Career Services. From employment listings on MyCareer, an online employment database accessible to students through their student portal, to cover letter, resume, interviewing or job searching questions, staff there are available to help students with all their employment questions.