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Time for the Summer Job Hunt?

That title above was literally what I said, when in my first year of university, I found out that summer job postings go up early…in January. I had no prior job experience, except for a handful of unpaid volunteer positions, and I was finally looking to do something with my first 4 month long summer break: get experience and get paid. I didn’t even know where to start. What kind of job did I want? What companies would hire a person with limited experience? What would I do now?????

January is Your Career Starts Now month at U of T, which means that whatever stage you’re at in the career process, why not push yourself to begin searching? We’re all at different phases in life whether you’re in your fourth year and about to graduate, looking for that first entry level job or you’re a first year student (like I was) looking for your first summer position. Now, this is all leading up to the story of how I attempted to get my first summer job…and failed. (Intrigued?)

Screenshot of the Career Learning Network website

Browsing job postings on CLN can be a great resource in your job hunt!

I thought finding a summer job would be easy: fill out an application, get interviewed, get hired. Simple, right? But it didn’t exactly go that way for me. Starting my job search, I literally googled “summer jobs toronto,” which may be a helpful way to find positions, but I found myself scouring through thousands of Google hits. I did manage to find a list of job search websites such as Workopolis, Indeed, and TalentEgg, but I still wasn’t sure of what kind of job I wanted. Regardless, I took the resume and cover letter I had created in the 10th grade (Thanks, Careers class), polished it up a bit and sent it out to numerous companies. Needless to say, bringing my resume and cover letter to the Career Centre would definitely have benefited me because I truly had no idea how to effectively write and format them.

Despite these issues, I did manage to get a few interviews with companies but they…did not…go well… I cringe to think about it still. Besides being professionally dressed for the occasion, I was ill-prepared. I was terrible at eye contact, fidgeted with my hands, didn’t answer questions as effectively as I could’ve, and to one question from an employer, my literal response was “Um,”. Awkward, embarrassing, cringe-worthy, but all on my part and could’ve been prevented if I had taken advantage of the resources that U of T has to offer. Also, suffice to say, I didn’t get any of those jobs. I had failed at my summer job hunt and that left me feeling dejected.

Meme of "One does not simply forget to prep for an interview"

Don’t make the mistakes I did in the interview process… (Source: imgflip.com)

Like school, researching potential jobs and using school resources are essential to being successful. I didn’t realize that this would be a critical aspect to the job hunt and now, I take job hunting as seriously as my school work. There’s this helpful website provided by the Career Centre called the Career Learning Network. It contains off-campus, on-campus, and casual job postings as well as volunteer postings. It’s also where you can go to register for one of the Career Centre’s awesome workshops or events that range from “Own Your Interview” to “Linkedin Lab.” I highly recommend it.

In this experience, I don’t regret what happened. If I hadn’t stumbled through that first try, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’ve held a few successful and interesting positions, and most of all, I’ve learned from my experiences. Even though it’s still cold and damp outside, start thinking ahead to the sunny days of summer and if you’re thinking about it, start the summer job hunt early!

How did your first summer job hunt go? Let me know in the comments!