Internet falls short in student job search
by Sean-Paul Boynton
For students about to step into the great unknown, starting the career they’ve been studiously training for, the prospect may seem nerve-wracking at best, or downright frightening at worst. Fortunately, there are many outlets — both in-person and online — that are available to help students both past and current.
For Mount Royal students and alumni, the most obvious resource is our own Career Services. Located past the Offices of the Registrar on the way to the EB building, the centre offers everything from resume-building tipsheets to one-on-one counseling with career guidance professionals, such as Elaine Balych, co-ordinator of career education and career development.
“We counsel students on everything from writing the perfect resume and cover letter, to interview preparation, to job search coaching,” Balych explained. “Our greatest strength is in working with individual students one-on-one, to coach them through how to land a job, what they’re doing wrong and critiquing their resumes so they can make theirs stand out.”
Balych said for graduates who run into dead ends when on the job hunt, the most common problem with their approach is that they’re looking exclusively online, which is starting to lose prominence as a go-to place for job postings.
“Employers are increasingly looking for non-database ways to attract applicants,” Balych said, “because they’re trying to return to a more personal hiring process. If you physically seek out the company or the open position rather than simply clicking the mouse, employers are impressed by that and see that you’re passionate and engaged.”
If you don’t have the time to sit down with someone at Career Services, the centre is understanding: the Career Services website has plenty of quick resources and downloadable tipsheets that are helpful tools to keep at your side as you type up your latest resume or cover letter.
Speaking of online resources, there are many other websites you can log on to if you need some last-minute interview tips or suggestions from real employers. Both Monster.com and Workopolis.com, besides being top-notch job banks, also offer extensive resource pages featuring articles with such headings as “Interview Dining Etiquette” (be sure to keep your elbows off the table), “The Worst Resume Mistake EVER!” (don’t rely on your computer’s spellchecker!) and even “Building your personal brand: What you can learn from the world’s biggest rock stars” (the wisdom of Ozzy Osbourne knows no bounds).
For those who still prefer the personal approach, students like Aryn Guthrie suggested looking no further than the professors who have been with you every step of the way towards your impending career.
“My profs are all professionals in the field that I want to enter into, and I have fostered relationships with them that will definitely lead me to where I want to go,” Guthrie said, who’s about to graduate from the broadcasting program at MRU.
“It is kind of nerve-wracking knowing that I’ll soon be out there looking for a job, but (broadcasting is) a tight-knit community like most other fields, so being able to have connections with my profs will definitely lead me to building relationships with employers, so I’m confident for the most part.”
As far as pieces of advice go — besides becoming friends with your instructors — Guthrie said it’s important for graduates to “put yourself out there and don’t be afraid to knock on every door.”
And for a final piece of advice, Balych is quick to remind that the job-seeking process is based entirely on highlighting yourself as a person.
“People hire people,” she said, “and employers look for specific tasks that change from job to job and company to company. Focus on understanding what those tasks are and conveying that understanding to the employer. Don’t be afraid to showcase yourself.”