Your 9-step guide to finding a summer job

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Businesswoman standing on a ladder looking through binoculars

Photo Source: Microsoft Office Images

The summer job hunt is already well underway for many students. With exams finished and papers written (hurray!), it’s time to buckle down and start the search for that perfect summer job.

Below is a 9-step guide to help you find and secure your 2014 summer job.

  1. Target your search. No longer are we in the era of classified job listings, found at the back of your daily newspaper. Try visiting the following places for job listings:
  • Your University Career Services office: They offer resume, cover letter, and interview advice, along with workshops, career fairs and job opportunities for you. They will also help you early in your degree to figure out the best courses, co-op options and extra-curricular experiences to secure you a job after graduation.
  • Online career sites: In addition to searching your university career service sites, be prepared to look broader to career sites such as Talent Egg, JobPostings.ca, Charity Village and GoodWork.ca.
  • Employer’s Social Media Pages: Most companies post job openings on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Follow them to make sure you know when an opening is available.
  • My Career Info: This job site has an associated Twitter feed that is updated daily with Ontario job postings for students. Follow us at @MyCareerInfo.
  1. Set up an informational interview. Get in touch with a manager at a company you’re interested in and ask that person to meet for a quick coffee to give you an idea of what it would be like to work there, or for a similar company.
  2. Clean up your online presence. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, Blogger, WordPress, Reddit, Vine. With so many social media sites, you are an easy target for background checks from potential employers. Some studies suggest that a third of employers rejected candidates based on something they found on their social profile.
  3. Get an online resume. While you should always include a standard resume when applying for a job, you can stand out in a highly competitive job market by including a link to an online resume. Visit sites like Acadiate, WhoPlusYou and MyOwn TM to set up a professional online profile that you can link to from your resume.
  4. Tailor your resume to the job. There is rarely a “one size fits all” resume. Think through all of your past jobs, volunteer and leadership experience, and general interests, and decide on which ones are most relevant to this job based on key terms in the job description. For example, your experience working at a children’s day camp may be relevant to an entry-level job in business if you can link it to skills such as leadership and your ability to pacify conflict.
  5. Prepare beforehand for the interview. You should prepare for your job interview well in advance of the day. Make sure you know the company’s mission, goals and recent projects. Look through its website and social media pages to get an idea of key areas of interest and where you fit. Browse through common interview questions and nail down a good response ahead of time.
  6. Ask good questions at the end of your interview. When it comes time in the interview to turn around and ask your interviewer some questions, do not forget that you are still – at this point – being assessed on whether you are the best candidate for the job. Ask intelligent questions that showcase your leadership skills, desire to dive into the tasks at hand and willingness to get into the dirty work. Here are some examples:
  • What is an example of a client challenge you have recently faced?
  • Where do you see the company going in the next year? 10 years?
  • Can you tell me more about the day-to-day responsibilities of this job?
  • What do you think are the most important qualities for someone to excel in this role?
  • What are your expectations for this role during the first 30 days, 60s days or a year?
  1. Write a thank-you letter after your interview. Take the age-old advice of mom, and don’t forget to say please and thank-you. A day after your interview, write a personal thank-you letter to the interviewers and let them know that you appreciated their time, that you were excited to learn about the company, and are looking forward to hearing from them. It will show that this is a job you care about and you are willing to go the extra mile.
  2.  Start a summer company. If you’ve always dreamed of being your own boss, then the Ontario government has an opportunity for you. Through a program called Summer Company, you will get up to $3,000 in start-up funds to kick-off a new summer business and the advice and mentorship from local business leaders to help get it up and running. You can apply for this opportunity until May 23, 2014. There are also a number of opportunities to start your own business through incubators and accelerator programs at Ontario universities. To learn more, check out the Council of Ontario Universities’ Entrepreneurship Report here.

Good luck job hunters!

This post by Rachel Gardner was originally published on the Council of Ontario Universities’ Blog.