If your post-secondary career is coming to an end, and you’re starting to stress about the next stage in your life, you can relax in knowing that you’re not alone.
Whether you’ve been putting off the job hunt to focus on your studies, or you’re a recent graduate having a hard time getting hired, there are lots of resources available to help you with the transition.
The truth is, says Bob Eichvald, manager of Career Services at George Brown College, for most of their post-secondary career, students are very focused on their school work. “They might not take the time to look into resources that are available to them,” he says.
As it is at most colleges and universities, the Career Services Centre at George Brown is available to offer students one-on-one services to help them in the shift from student to employee. The centre helps students with matters like interviewing skills and resume development. Students also learn how to approach the job search using different tools like the Internet and networking.
There are also a variety of skills workshops, career fairs and networking events available throughout the year, all designed to help students in their journey for a career.
“Here, you’re actually going to learn some very big skills that will help you throughout your life,” Eichvald says. Which is incredibly important, when you consider that planning a career is a lifelong process, he says.
Eichvald explains that people aren’t just going to work at the same job for 20 years anymore. “The rate that people are changing their careers is really picking up,” he says. “Individuals are feeling more empowered about what they can achieve and they’re looking for job fulfillment.”
Karen Fast, manager of Career Services at Humber College, says the key to finding success in your job search is to stay motivated. Fast admits it’s not uncommon for students to be nervous about entering the real world. “It’s my job to motivate them and start building that confidence,” she says.
If you’re a soon-to-be graduate who is starting to think about life after college, Fast offers the following tips to help you stay one step ahead of the career game.
This means earlier than the last week of classes. In fact, Fast recommends students view their holiday break as a window of job-preparation opportunity. “Practise your interviewing skills and update your resume,” she says. Fast suggests students take this time to carefully examine job descriptions in their field of choice in an effort to pull particular skill sets that they might be able to offer.
Gather Related Work Experience
Start getting the experience you need to get the job you want. And start early. This can be done through part-time jobs, volunteering, summer internships and co-ops, Fast says. The truth is, most employers are going to be looking for two or three years experience.
“If you’ve been doing it throughout your college studies, then you’re going to have those years experience by the time you’re ready to start looking.”
Take Inventory of your Skills
Take a look through your course outlines and take note of what the learning outcomes of those courses have been. Fast says you should be able to pull job-related skills out of these descriptions.
Recommend Academic Highlights
If you don’t have specific experience, Fast advocates highlighting situations that show examples of how you’ve used particular hands-on skills in a school-based capacity.
Develop a Portfolio
It doesn’t matter what type of industry you’re looking to break into, a portfolio is a great way to show a potential employer exactly what you’re capable of, Fast says.
Don’t put the Blinders On
For anybody going out and looking for work, don’t put blinders on. Look at all kinds of opportunities. “Don’t just target a specific job title,” Fast explains. “Look at a broad perspective of job descriptions.”