The winter term is starting to wrap up (finally!) and many of us are eager to begin job-hunting. A summer job is a great opportunity to gain experience in your field, pursue passions you put on the back burner during the school year and of course, make some extra cash.
But finding a job can definitely be a big source of anxiety, especially as the months of summer inch closer and closer. I’ve been on the lookout for a co-op position this spring term and three months into my search, I’m still applying for jobs.
While not having your co-op secured is totally normal at this time of year (as I’ve been trying to remind myself), there are a couple of things that you can do to get your job search actively up and running, whether you’re looking for part-time or full-time work.
Take Advantage of Your Resources
Students have access to a wealth of information that we often forget about and our school is a great place to start discovering this info.
As a Laurier co-op student, I make daily use of the Laurier Navigator platform, where co-op postings and applications are made available, as well as a diverse range of other full-time and part-time job postings. These opportunities are often received directly from employers who wish to hire Laurier students. The positions vary from remote, to hybrid, to on-location work in many cities, which certainly include Waterloo and Toronto but are not limited only to jobs in Southern Ontario.
Our provincial and federal governments also offer great job-search resources in the form of the Canada and Ontario Summer Jobs Programs, if you’re looking for a public service job this year.
Remember the classic job-search platforms, such as Indeed or Glassdoor. On Indeed, turning on notifications for specific job terms is a good way to engage with and stay aware of postings. Of course, by researching using these platforms we’re only looking at the visible job market. So, what’s the next step to actively find work this summer?
If you’re like me, this word sends shivers down your spine. “Networking”, is a daunting feat that I think I have yet to accomplish. But your network is already there, it just needs some extra strength and connection, which will help you access the hidden job market.
Can you think of anyone in your life, such as relatives, friends, past co-workers or acquaintances, whose work you want to learn more about? This is your network! Asking someone for a coffee and a chat can be a great way to start establishing those relationships or even taking them to the next level, giving you both insight into a field or job you may be interested in as well as a new contact for a potential employment opportunity.
You can also network using cold contacts, which essentially just means reaching out to a person or a company who you have no prior connection with. This can be easily done but just requires a bit more tact and politeness, as you want to make the best impression possible.
Talking to your existing network to find outside and less obvious contacts is one great way to tap into the hidden job market. You can also reach out to those in your desired career using tools like LinkedIn and Laurier’s Ten Thousand Coffees. These platforms are a good place to follow company pages, find alumni from your school and gain insider information about your field if that’s what you are looking for.
Although it might feel awkward reaching out to somebody you don’t know, remember that it shows the initiative and ambition that many employers are looking for and that anybody would respect in a person. Keep in mind, even cold contacts are unlikely to say no to a coffee chat, provided you are respectful of their time and responsibilities!
At the end of the day, take it easy on yourself. Job searching can be a long process and you deserve to do work you feel is worth your time. So don’t sell yourself short. Put in the work and go get your dream summer job!