Last summer, student unemployment was up compared to the previous year. There were 152,000 fewer jobs for students aged 15 to 24 in July 2009 than in July 2008. In a weak economy, there just weren’t enough jobs for those looking to fill in at landscaping companies, movie theatres and theme parks over the summer.
But with an upturn in the economy, things might be rosier for job hunters.
As students quit the books and head to work, there are a few ways you can improve your chance at landing a summer job. Ashley Stopek, a second-year marketing student who volunteers as a peer advisor at John Molson School of Business’ Career Management Services, has a few tips for students.
One thing to help your chances is presentation. “It’s about presenting yourself to make yourself look the best for the job,” said Stopek. While you might have the same qualifications and experiences as other students trying to land a job, it’s the way you format your resume that will help you stand out.
First off, keep it short. “Resumes should be two pages long,” she said, with your name at the top in a big font with your contact information. And if your email address is “firstname.lastname@example.org,” you should probably get a new one, said Stopek. Stopek said Yahoo and Gmail accounts are best.
Are you applying to be a barista and a receptionist? Get specific for each application: “Resumes are tailored for each job, but the structure is pretty much the same,” Stopek said. After your name, select “three to five bullet points of the main key points of why you’re good for that job” from a list of skills you have in a master resume. And study the job posting for clues for what the employer is looking for.
“Always do research, and use words they use in the [posting],” Stopek suggested. Also, it’s time to leave high school behind. Don’t mention it unless you attended a notable school, won awards or studied abroad. “It’s just not relevant at this point in the game. In university, employers don’t care. If you have a CEGEP diploma and you’re in university, they know you went to high school.” Education should come after the key points, and each level ranked in order of the latest .
CMS is only available to business students, but everyone else can head to Career and Placement Services or Counselling and Development for job postings and workshops on interview skills.