Helping Your Student Get Job Ready

Soon students will be exiting their hallowed halls of higher education, security and built in sociability to look for a summer job or, their first permanent position.

Before they go off into the big scary world of commerce, you as parents can guide them as to the dos and don’ts of a proper work search. They may not want to listen to you, but hopefully a columnist has some clout, so feel free to clip out this article and leave it under their cereal bowl in the morning.

The number one complaint heard the world over is, “I don’t have the experience so how can I get a job?” Experience doesn’t have to come from paid employment. Encourage your student-child to do volunteer work if they are still too young to be paid or paid work is not forth coming. Nursing homes, parks and recreation facilities, art galleries, museums, Guides and Brownies, Scouts and Cubs and BINGO halls, all hire student volunteers. Most high schools have community initiative programs where students get compensated for volunteer work towards their schooling. Check with the local Lions and Rotary clubs in your neighborhood for man power they can utilize. All these assignments can go on their resume.

For students with some work experience, they need a good solid resume that highlights their previous work experience and contributions, student council positions, athletic teams or yearbook staff, newspaper or activity club involvement. Babysitters should take a Babysitting Certificate course; swimmers need their CLS to lifeguard or teach. Many school activities teach skills that are transferable to parks and recreation programs: skating, gymnastics, arts and crafts. Tutoring lower grades or students in ESL counts too.

When applying for a position, encourage your job seeker to dress the part of a reliable, mature, serious applicant. Encourage them to meet the decision maker of the company when handing in the resume, whether they drop it by or have arranged an appointment. Never dress like you need a job, don’t lug along your friends, pet, mother or baby sister and be well groomed, no gum or visible signs of bodily mutilation – there could be an exception on Queen Street West in a pub or retail store.

List awards won and multiple languages spoken. Work done in a family business counts too. Global living experience makes one more worldly and cultured – include it.

Attitude accounts for a huge percentage of ones success in getting an interview and ultimately a job. Belief in yourself, confidence in your abilities and a positive personal attitude beats out desperation, entitlement and laziness every time.

Just before they step out the door to apply for a job, have them step in front of a mirror and ask them, “Would you hire this person to work for you, and how much would you pay them?”

Colleen Clarke, Career Specialist & Workplace Coach