Often, there is a stereotype of students working in minimum wage jobs to make ends meet and although this situation is the reality for many students, it doesn’t always have to be.
I think that no one should ever be forced to work such jobs. If you enjoy it, that’s great! If you don’t, however, then I am here to help you change that.
One of the first things recruiters look for when sourcing potential candidates for a job is experience.
Let us take the example of 2 finance students. One of them worked at a typical fast-food restaurant or a bar downtown. While the other student worked for several different organizations as an intern in his field.
The harsh reality is after graduation, the second student is much more likely to find a suitable job in his industry while the first student will be stuck trying to get internships or accepting a low-paying job while they figure out their next step.
Some folks will succeed without any relevant experience, but the majority will have a really hard time.
So, how can we resolve this issue?
- Try to get a professional job
I understand it is hard for many people to find professional jobs, but it is essential to take this first step for your future.
There are many ways to get a professional job:
- Try applying to work in customer service for some big company and transfer within the company from there.
- Join a club and get a referral from those you work with.
- Apply to a university Work-Study program (you will have the most success with this because they want to hire students and don’t care too much about experience – if at all)
- Apply to junior roles or co-op roles at companies near you.
- Ask your friends, parents, associates for a referral to work at their company.
The skills you gain from a professional job are vital for building your future. Working with specific programs, gaining specific skills, and growing your network are all things that you will most definitely use later in your career.
2. Grow your network
Most co-op positions are made to build one’s network. Many students get hired after their graduation by companies that they used to work for.
A friend of mine was hired as a co-op student and after graduating he was offered a full-time position in that same company. He was offered the job because the hiring manager used to be his boss and he liked him so much.
Co-ops, internships, part-time jobs are all made to connect with people. Something I learnt quite late is that there are two goals to achieve while working as a student: do great work and make people like you!
Add everyone to your network on LinkedIn, chat up anyone around the break room, always have a positive attitude and try to help everyone around you. Try to stand out! One day these people will get the chance to hire someone and you want to be on the top of their list!
Another way that you can use your network is once you graduate, you can always put out a post on LinkedIn asking for your network to help you find a job.
3. Put your hard skills on your LinkedIn profile
Thinking that your transferable skills are a great selling point on your LinkedIn profile is not the right way to look at this.
Everyone has transferable skills!
It is so important to put every hard skill you have onto your LinkedIn. This involves including all the software you know how to use, include every programming language you know, etc. You get the point.
When a recruiter is sourcing candidates, they usually include the hard skills they are looking for in the skills section and so only the profiles that include those skills show up in their search.
If you want to be sourced, get as detailed as possible. No such thing as too much information
Being a student is often looked down upon and many students are not lucky enough to get paid what they are worth or get jobs in the first place. If you want a good job, you must be proactive and have the jobs find you!