Tag Archives | job

Image by Corey Seeman, Flickr

Image by Corey Seeman, Flickr

Academia doesn’t grind to a halt during summer vacation. A work-study is named for its status as both a job and opportunity for students to continue studying. The “working” aspect of a work-study means the student will be paid for their efforts. The “studying” aspects means the student will be paid for their involvement in some aspect of academia; this could be anything out of a range of duties; such as research, writing, editing, and compiling and organizing bibliographies.

I was lucky enough to be employed in a work-study this year at the University of Toronto. During my annual summer job hunt I checked the U of T work-study database. There weren’t any work-studies with the history department (I am a history specialist), but a work-study with the Statistical Sciences Department required graphic design and writing experience, which I had. After an interview on campus, I got the job. This particular work-study was part-time, so I was able to work and still attend summer school.

I worked with a professor in the Department of Statistical Sciences for a little over a month, and learned a great deal about statistical sciences by doing research for her. I also slogged through bibliographies and made graphs, but got the opportunity to learn about a field I otherwise would never have breached.

A summer work-study is convenient for students looking for a job who live near campus, or for those who live far away to find student housing on campus. In addition, if your employment works out, having a professor as your boss makes for an excellent reference for either graduate school or future employment.

Drawing from my experience, do not be afraid to apply for work-studies outside your specialization. Work-studies also exist during the school year, and are a good opportunity to financially benefit from your extra-curriculars. Ask your registrar about work-study opportunities. If you are passionate about a particular subject, ask a professor in that field if they know of any work-study opportunities. Having studied all year, it’s nice to make money doing so.

Image by Alex France, Flickr

Image by Alex France, Flickr

Find out everything you need to ensure your interview goes smoothly. It’s hard enough interviewing for a job as one person amongst a large pool of applicants, possibly with better qualifications than you. Ensure you look and sound presentable, so as to let both your professionalism and qualifications do the talking. Use this article as a checklist before going to your next interview.

Pen and paper

The pen and paper are the golden job interview supplies. If you take one thing away from this article, let it be that you should always have a pen and paper when interviewing for a new job, and on your first day on the job, if you are lucky enough to get hired. If appropriate, take notes during the interview without noticeably dividing your attention or neglecting eye contact. This will show you are serious about the job, and know how to organize. Do not try to substitute your phone for a pen and paper – no matter what you are typing it always looks like you are texting instead of fully focusing on the interview.

Kleenex

For the unpredictable runny nose or sniffles, monster sneeze, nosebleed, shiny face, or spills. Kleenex can be substituted with coffee shop napkins.

Comb/brush

You never know when you could get caught in the rain, your hair band could break, or the wind could sweep your hairstyle away. Combs are cheap at the dollar store or drug store. Pack one to avoid messing up your hair and your professional first impression.

Breath mints

Sometimes breath mints may seem extraneous, but I make it a rule to always eat one before I need make an important first impression. Even if you think your breath is fine, pop a mint or swig some Listerine – just in case.

Prepare a question to ask the interviewer

Inevitably, towards the end of your meeting the interviewer will ask you, “So, do you have any questions for me?” Unless you feel you can pass up this opportunity to impress your potential employer, have at least one question prepared. Here are several questions that exhibit thought, professionalism, and insight:

“As an employee here, what could I do to exceed your expectations?”
“If I were to start tomorrow, what should the top three things be on my priority list?”
“Are there any questions you think I should be asking?”

Extra resume(s)

Even if you sent a resume in with your application, bring at least one hard copy to the interview. If there are multiple applicants, the interviewer may not have all their resumes present, or may not have had time to fully go over your application. Having your resume in front of them will give them a more tangible and better understanding of your qualifications. If you know you will be interviewed by more than one person, bring a suitable number of copies.

With these items in your interview preparedness pack, you can make your best professional impression. Use this article as a checklist before going to your next interview.

Tip: If you’re worried about timing, or if you’re travelling a long way to get to the interview and are inviting time delays, leave extra early. Scout out a nearby coffee shop on Google Maps, and plan to go there half an hour early for a refresher before the interview. On a really hot day you can get sweaty from travelling. Plan to stop at a coffee shop beforehand to clean up. Looking presentable is half the battle – the rest is up to you.

Image by bpsusf, Flickr

Image by bpsusf, Flickr

In my first two years of university, I was set on finding a job in human resources after graduating. I attended information sessions and noticed that the majority of company representatives there were in HR. I could see myself doing this; touring schools and talking to students about what the company does, interviewing them and deciding who would be a good candidate for our company. Yes. For someone who liked talking to people, teaching people, and giving presentations, it seemed perfect.

Then two things happened:

Thing 1: “You can’t do that right out of university”
I eagerly attended information sessions and job fairs to enquire about any vacancies in the HR department – after all, every company needs HR. With this in mind, I assumed there would be plenty. I talked to accounting firms, who gave me looks like they were thinking, “We’re an accounting firm. We’re hiring accountants…”

No one was hiring for HR. One rep was nice enough to explain to me that their company didn’t hire students to work in HR; they preferred to post internally for those jobs to hire people who’ve worked in the firm and know the company from the inside. Their advice? Get a job in another field first, and move to HR afterwards. Oh. Ok.

Thing 2: The Interview
On a conference executive committee in my fourth year, I met an HR rep from our major sponsor. By this time, I had switched my focus from HR to marketing. From the meetings he attended and recommendations from my peers, he knew I was a hard worker and that I was still on the job hunt, so he brought me in for an interview. He asked what field I wanted a job in, to which I replied, “Marketing.” He said, “We unfortunately don’t have any marketing positions available, but there is an open HR position.” Ok – that was my second choice, and I wasn’t going to be picky about a job prospect. Let’s hear it.

When he explained the job to me, it was not at all what I thought HR would consist of – or at least not the “kind” of HR I wanted.

I’d be posted in a factory, working with 20-30 middle-aged men. They would likely approach me with family issues, illnesses, general complaints, or ask for advances on their salaries. He asked if it’s something I thought I could handle, to which I said, “Yes, of course.” Inside, I squirmed and thought, “But I don’t want to.”

Suffice it to say, and to my relief, he didn’t offer the job to me – we both knew I wouldn’t be a good fit. As stressful as it was, I held out until I could find a job that more closely fit what I wanted. I learned to thoroughly research a position before assuming it’s what I wanted to do. It turns out HR wasn’t right for me after all.

Do you have a similar story? Share it with us on Twitter @StudentsDotOrg or email it to us.

Check out Jenny Lugar’s post on Maclean’s On Campus: How Traveling After Graduation Helped My Career