First-year me, like most people, I’m sure, was a little confused and lost at all times. Whether it was finding my way to class, picking a major, or even finding a study room in the many maze-like basements of Gerstein library—confusion accompanied me everywhere I went. Unfortunately, by the end of my first year, I was lost and confused once again. This time I seemed to be alone in this feeling. Most of my peers had secured some amazing summer jobs or research positions, while I had somehow missed the cue to start applying for summer positions until it was too late. The only way to describe how I felt in that moment of realization would be the “Mr. Krabs in panic mode” meme.
In the midst of adapting to the new changes in first year, I failed to think of what lay ahead of me aka a four month break for which I had zero plans. Although I did end up getting a part-time summer job last minute, I still regret not planning ahead and spending that summer doing something relevant to my field of study such as research etc.
Now, I have learned my lesson, and know that I must start applying for summer jobs ASAP! Job postings go up as early as mid-December!! (WHAT?!!) As a result, I have been spending the past few weeks regularly checking job postings online. If you are looking for a place to start I suggest checking out the CLN website, Indeed, or Workopolis! Another great place to look for jobs is with your respective city which I am sure will have many summer jobs specifically for students such as parks and recreation positions, administrative work, and even internships.
Perhaps you are not looking for a summer job and want to spend the summer expanding your skills as a volunteer or a research assistant. These types of positions also go up around this time of year as well. For example, many hospitals, such as Sickkids, have a summer positions section on their website and guidance on how to find research positions.
The number one tip I have learned is that you should apply to as many jobs as possible. The truth is that out of the 10 places you apply sometimes only 1 place will call you in for an interview. On the other hand, I have learned, from attending information sessions organized by the Career Exploration & Education, that you should also apply to those jobs you might not have all the qualifications for. Most employers looking for summer employees don’t expect you to be perfect, so it doesn’t hurt to try!
This is also a great time to review your resume and perhaps have someone read over it. I did this after noticing that my resume was not as polished as it should be and might be why I wasn’t getting responses from the jobs I had applied to. I went to a “Rapid Resume Review” workshop and left with some valuable advice and tips such as the importance of layout and grammar. Career Exploration & Education is a great place to start your job search as they can guide you in the right direction, look over resume and cover letters, and provide you opportunities to improve your interview and communication skills!
I hope this post reached you just in time as a gentle reminder that you must start your summer job search now!!! The summer months are a great break from university, but should also be seen as an opportunity to complement your academic achievements with some real world experience!
Until next time!