C6 • THE SILHOUETTE
THURSDAY, MARCH 31, 2011
Tackling the summer job scene Because sitting on your parents’ coach is not an option SONYA KHANNA SILHOUETTE STAFF
Job hunting can be a tedious task, and with school nearing an end and summer just around the corner, the anxiety of securing a job for the summer may have many students in disarray. Although summer job hunting stress may have many moving full steam ahead, actively seeking employment opportunities with seemingly few prospects, there is a silver lining to shed some positive encouragement to students. According to a release from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada, “employment has risen by 1.9 per cent since March 2010” following a sharp decline in employment in 2009 with the recession. According to the survey, “part-time employment has grown by 5.1 per cent, while full time increased by 1.1 per cent.” These statistics are promising and provide some hope to the countless students that will be vying for summer positions. With employment rebounding quickly from the recent economic downturn in 2009 it would seem that seeking summer employment should be a somewhat swift task in comparison to recent years, yet it is still disheartening to hand your resume out to multiple employers with few responses. Recently, a close friend of mine disclosed to me an interesting experience she had with the manager of well known restaurant franchise. During this mock interview of sorts she was offered a bit of unorthodox advice. Certainly, it’s something that has crossed through the minds of many at some point or another, but she found it a tad bizarre to hear this advice offered by the restaurant manager. She was urged to embellish her resume; remove most of her prior experience and significantly exaggerate the length of time she had been employed at the company that related to the desired position of employment. This got me thinking, what exactly is it that employers are looking for? A resume that is chalkfilled with experience is meant to be embellished to appear more suitable to specific segments of the labour market? So in essence, many students applying for summer positions in the labour market are either significantly under qualified or too seemingly overqualified. While it seems this might pose a dead end to some, this might just mean that it’s time to rethink your job-hunting strategy. When applying for positions that you have minimal experience with, it would be beneficial to obtain any skills or qualifications that might help in your employment search. If you are applying for a position as a server in Ontario it is crucial to have your Smart Serve certification. It is a prerequisite for many employers and is mandated training for individuals who serve alcoholic beverages in licensed establishments in Ontario. If you are applying for a serving position, having this qualification will provide some indication to employers that you are hospitality-industry inclined which may increase your chances of securing the position. It is also beneficial to highlight skills on your resume that might be transferrable with desired employment positions. Working with cash is a highly transferrable skill for positions in different segments of the labour market. Whether you have worked for various clothing retailers or have had an office job, there may be
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common skills relating to both. Customer service skills and basic interaction with clients and customers also requires significant interpersonal skills; in an interview highlight these relationships. If you have a specific preference as to the industry you desire working in then scout out all available alternatives. The Internet has excellent search engines for job hunting that are commonly used, but don’t rule out newspapers, regional municipality websites, your campus, and even company websites that may have more information on hiring for summer employment. Remember, when one door closes, another door opens. Don’t be discouraged if you haven’t heard back from employers. Keep at it and don’t limit yourself. Sometimes people may have a stigma against handing resumes out to specific retailers, but in order to enhance your chances of securing summer employment try diversifying your options. Who knows, you might find the perfect summer job in the most unorthodox of places. Summer employment prospects are looking up from previous years; part-time and fulltime employment opportunities are on the rise, and now is the perfect time to pour your resume out and unearth a world of potential job possibilities. Highlight experiences in your resume that reflect the job you’re applying for.