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Summer Job Search Strategies for Students

Summer Job Search Strategies for Students

1. Reflect

Look back on the past semester and academic year to assess the knowledge, skills, and experiences you have gained. You are not the same job seeker that you were last summer – through essays and assignments, case studies and labs, tests and presentations, you are more skilled and job-ready than you were last summer! Learn to talk about your skills, accomplishments and education in a positive way.

2. Research internships, job vacancies, and employers

Start your search by identifying current vacancies advertised by job search websites (eg. Indeed, WowJobs, Government of Canada Job Bank, Glassdoor, LinkedIn etc.). But don’t stop there. Here are tips to take your job research further:

  • Instead of only searching for job titles (eg. “Project Manager”), research specific organizations and companies to determine if they are hiring. Nearly every organization website has a career opportunities page – and some even have specific information for student work opportunities! This may help you find work in a field of interest, even if the job title isn’t what you would have initially searched for on a job search website.
  • Be open minded when looking for summer work. Look past the job title and company name to the responsibilities and skills required. However, be wary of employment scams that promise a lot of money for little work.
  • If you are looking for work in a particular field or industry, research professional associations related to that field. These associations may have (virtual) networking events, webinars, information for students and prospective professionals, and a job opportunities page. Many professional associations offer free or discounted student memberships.
  • Keep track of the organizations and jobs that you are interested in. You will likely be looking for a summer job next year as well – updating a list of roles and companies may save you time in future job searches, including once you graduate!

3. Tell your network you are looking for summer opportunities

Let your connections know you are looking for summer work. You may find that someone will hear about an opportunity that you wouldn’t have known about otherwise! Reach out to:

  • Family and friends. They may know others that are hiring in roles that they themselves would not qualify for or have interest in but would suit you well!
  • Those you have connected with in the past but are not in touch with regularly. This could include: those you met volunteering, former employers/co-workers, and other professional or academic connections. Reconnect with acquaintances, while also letting them know that you are looking for work.
  • Professionals you do not yet know. Networking with professionals in a field/organization of interest is a great way to learn more about opportunities and challenges in the industry. Keep in mind that this may not result in a job immediately. This is a long-term strategy, in which mentorship and professional development opportunities may lead to employment after you graduate.

4. Tailor your resume and cover letter for every job application

Your resume and cover letter should reflect the skills and qualifications emphasized in the job posting. Be confident in the skills you are developing in your degree and co-curricular experiences, and express them clearly in your application documents using action verbs (eg. communicated, collaborated, organized).

  • Showcase your skills and experiences in your resume and cover letter. However, the focus should be on demonstrating the value that you can add to the organization. Think about how your experiences and skills demonstrate that you are the best fit for the role.
  • Catch any typos, spelling/grammar mistakes, or misunderstandings by asking someone else to read through your application before submitting. Resume and cover letter appointments are available through CUE Career Services – reach out to have your resume and cover letter reviewed virtually!

5. Apply on the company’s website

Using third-party websites to apply to a job might be convenient, but it is not always effective. Apply directly through the company’s website and follow their specific application instructions. Every company is looking for different qualifications, characteristics and experiences, and your application should reflect that.

  • Don’t disqualify yourself from positions. You do not need to match every skill and qualification listed on the job posting. If it is a position that you are interested in working in and that you have the foundational skills to complete, apply.
  • Keep a screenshot/copy of all job postings that you applied to. Often job postings are removed prior to the interview, and it is helpful to reference the job description while preparing for the interview.

6. Practice for your interview

Interviews are an opportunity to demonstrate your fit for the position. They can be intimidating, but they are an opportunity for you to elaborate on your experiences, demonstrate your interpersonal skills, and ask questions about the job and company.

  • Identify example interview questions that might be asked based on the job posting. Practice with other people or in front of the mirror. Pay attention to your body language, gestures, and eye contact. If you have a phone or a video interview, try to practice in the same medium.
  • Prepare questions to ask the interviewers prior to the interview. This is a two-way conversation, and the employer will expect you to ask questions that cannot be answered with a quick internet search.
  • Request feedback if you do not receive an offer of employment. This can be difficult but learning areas to improve and skills to develop is valuable.

If you would like assistance in your job search, including resume, cover letter and LinkedIn reviews, interview preparation and practice, or career advising, contact the Concordia University of Edmonton Career Services Advisor at careerservices@concordia.ab.ca.