Applying to almost all jobs require a resume which essentially establishes you as a brand. A good resume should be relevant, listing pertinent work and volunteer experiences to the job you’re applying for. Employers often look through hundreds of resumes to fill just one position, so it is crucial that you be attentive to detail and craft a resume that truly reflects the type of employee you are. Career resources on campus and in the community are useful tools for perfecting your resume.
Cover letters are also important, particularly when applying for professional positions or when there is a high volume of applicants for a position. Attaching a cover letter can help set you apart from the rest of the applicants, as they establish (in more detail than a resume) why you are seeking employment. Cover letters can express to employers why you are the best candidate for the job. It is also an opportunity to show that you have done your research into the company or organization you are applying to in your cover letter, so be specific.
As a post-secondary student, there are so many campus resources to take advantage of. For example, your university or college may maintain an online career portal with current job postings. Access to these career portals is designed for students to log into with their student number and password. Employers often advertise jobs exclusively to universities or colleges with current students in mind for the positions.
For high school students, Guidance Counsellors and Academic Counsellors can be helpful resources for resume and cover letter help. In some provinces, careers courses, workshops and seminars are offered to build resume writing and interview skills.
An internship is a short-term position with a focus on hands-on training and is similar to an apprenticeship though typically in an office environment. Internships are a great way to build your resume, make contacts in the industry, and get some work experience under your belt before (or even after) you graduate. Being an intern is a great way to experience what it would feel like to work in a given industry. Placements are often highly competitive.
Some areas of Internships can include:
- Human Resources
- Public Relations
- Office Administration
- Legal Support
- Customer Service
- IT Support
Be mindful that not all internships are paid. While some positions merit hourly or salary wages, others pay stipends and some provide no monetary compensation at all. Some companies or organizations require that their interns be current post-secondary students with the intention of returning to school. Being aware of these requirements ensures that you do not waste time in your job search applying to jobs which you are not eligible for. While some internships are based on work experience, others are research-based. Research based internships are called Dissertation Internships, typically completed by students in their final year of university who undergo research and write and present a final report.
A co-op is a way to unite study with work experience. Typically, co-op students can obtain academic credit for their work in the field. It is important to get authorisation from both your place of work and your institution (high school, college, etc.) in advance of the placement so to ensure that you will, in fact, receive recognition. Many campuses offer internship and co-op services to match you with a suitable placement. People like Academic Counsellors and Internship Advisors can meet with you to discuss your interests and facilitate a placement. Keep in mind, however, that many institutions implement a fee for both their academic and non-academic internship and co-op services.
Non-profits organizations and charities are often applicable for government grants to fund summer interns, as well as incentives and benefits for creating positions for students. Find out if the place you work or volunteer is applicable to obtain these grants in order to pay you a wage.