When I went home for the break in February, my father and I had a discussion about summer jobs. As someone who is looking for both skill development and money, he pointed out that this is the time to be applying for summer jobs.
January and February tend to be cluttered with application deadlines for summer job in both public and private fields. While many applications do extend into the March period, let me make something clear – if you are still looking for a job, you’d better get a move on.
March and April tend to be interview periods. Companies review applications, cover letters, resumes and take into account references, marks, skills and previous work experiences. Applicants are called in for interviews, and generally, by the end of March to Mid-April, you should be able to figure out which of the applications you submitted are serious job prospects.
Now, I do understand that finding a job can be tough – you want something that pays well, is a reputable company, and will develop your skills set. Many of you are aware of the Career Centre website that posts jobs – here are some important tips to keep in mind when reviewing and applying to the postings.
1. Job Description: The most important thing is to figure out what the job will entail. Many of the postings on the career center website are posted by regular citizens, who may be looking for a baby-sitter or even a grass cutter. The Career Centre doesn’t monitor the posts, so it’s important for you to make sure that whatever job you choose will ensure your safety.
2. Job Requirements: Applying for a job takes time and effort. If you are under-qualified for the job, don’t waste your time. This doesn’t mean you need to underestimate your own skills – if the job requirement asks for 5 years of experience, and you have three, you can realistically explain to your potential employer that your three-year experience well-equipped you for the job. Or if the job needs a CPR certificate, you can tell your employeers you’ll take a course before the job starts and produce your certificate at the beginning of summer (many courses are available). But if the job asks for certain certifications, like a Haircutting certification, or a paralegal degree, and you don’t have that, then put your application efforts to jobs that suit your current credentials better.
3. Check out the pay: I’ve always wondered if, when companies post their available jobs, they realize how important pay is to students and what a distinguishing factor is it when individuals apply to jobs. It’s important for you to know how much the job will pay you, so there are no difficulties when you start.
4. How many hours?: Just because the pay is good, doesn’t mean you’ll make a lot of money. If a job pays $18/h but only lets you work 20 hours a week, then you’re not better off than anyone else who making $9 (although, on the plus side, you get more time off). Hours are important. On the opposite side, if the job requires odd hours, early morning or weekend shifts, those are all important to take into consideration.
5. Date the Job starts: As a B.A. student, my skill levels tend to match everything from Administrative Positions to Camp Counsellors to Painters! An important factor to look out for is when the job starts – many jobs actually start in July, but pay minimum wages, which means you’re not making up the lost money in May and June. Look out for when the job starts, especially if it involved camps, schools, children, day-cares, or public services that are based on a seasonal schedule.
5. Location: Students sometimes forget that location is an important factor, because we’re so used to travelling to school everyday. Remember, unlike choosing classes, its tough to select your starting work time. For an individual like myself, it takes almost two and a half hours to get from the door of my house to the door of my Res, one way. If I have a job downtown, and it starts at 9AM, that means im leaving the house no later than 6:30 or 7AM to make it just on time. Getting up at 5:30 or 6:00AM everyday during the summer is not my cup of tea! So location and travel time are very important to consider. For individuals who don’t drive, access to public transit may be another important locational factor.
Good luck job hunting!
Until Next Week!