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Being likable matters in getting a job, students say. (Richard Cote/Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Being likable matters in getting a job, students say. (Richard Cote/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Education

What I wish I had known: 16 student tips on how to find a job Add to ...

The Globe and Mail Student Advisory Council is composed of university and college students and recent graduates talking about life on Canadian campuses and in the classroom.

1. Most employers would rather train someone they like than work with an experienced person whom they dislike.

2. Let your passion drive you and let your brain make decisions. People who do, end up happy and successful in their own way. Those who don’t, end up extinguishing their passion because their brain told them to play it safe and have smaller goals.

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3. Take initiative and connect with professionals in your field, whether it be university alumni, friends of friends, or distant relatives. They are more willing to talk about their experiences than you’d think!

4. Provide value.

5. Persistence is key. E-mail not one professor but 20. Don’t get discouraged if they don’t get back to you right away. Keep networking because you never know when an opportunity will pop out.

6. Don’t do something just for a bullet on your resume, because when a potential employer calls them for a reference, your cover will be blown! Secondly, believe that you are a valuable asset to the company. I knew someone that had a great resume, got hired at a great firm, but because she doubted herself she was afraid to ask questions and always acted like a subordinate ... guess what. She got fired.

7. Cold call companies using an actual telephone.

8. Intrinsic motivation is more powerful then external motivation. If all that’s driving you is the paycheque, everything beyond the minimum will seem extra. If all you want is the promotion, doing good when no one is looking doesn’t make sense. If your job matters to you, however, and you believe in the work you do, every moment will be its own reward and the best job possible will just be natural.

9. Internships and experiential learning are integral opportunities every student should engage in to gain key insight into the world of work, explore vocation, and participate in service leadership. These experiences can form a strong foundation that provides access for opportunities to network, receive mentoring, develop individual passions, as well as improve skill-sets (particularly soft skills) – all of which comprise fundamental steps in landing a job today.

10. Be likable and humble. At the very least, make them hope you’re the most qualified for the job.

11. Be flexible and adaptable, and don’t have too big of an ego. There’s no job too small – approach everything you’re assigned with a positive attitude. Your employer will notice and trust you with greater responsibilities in time, but you have to earn their trust first. On the other hand, challenge is important to growth and development in the workplace. If you’re continually not feeling challenged and are often unmotivated at work, don’t be afraid to be honest and express that you’d be happy to take on greater responsibilities at work.

12. Do as many information interviews as you can – not to ask for a job (a big info interview faux pas), but to get a better sense of the industry you want to work in, and the kinds of jobs you’re most passionate about.

13. Believe it or not, you actually have a secret weapon that will set you apart from the other seven plus billion people on this planet. It’s your personality, energy and vibe. In other words, everything that makes you, you! Work on those communication skills so you can be just as impressive in person as you are online or on paper. In order to set yourself apart you need to be authentic, and make any potential employer FEEL as though they would be missing out on a special one-of-a-kind asset to their team if they didn’t hire you.

14. Every time I’ve tried finding a job (or applying for one), I’ve found that relating my goals and aspirations to the job I’m trying to get, and making this connection clear to the employer, has always helped me get my foot far enough into the door to grab the employer’s attention.

15. When in an interview, always answer the question ‘so what?’ Whenever you are talking about your experience, education, etc., be sure to go beyond just explaining your experiences/qualifications and tell the interviewer what you took away from the experience. What did you learn that can now be applied to the job you are being interviewed for? By explicitly stating why what you have done and learned is relevant, it shows the interviewer that you are constantly trying to develop yourself and learn from your experiences – both successes and failures.

16. Utilize every resource, job search board, person, possible to ensure you find opportunity. Millions of dollars in scholarships are not being given away because either there was no interest or people didn’t know. Whether it is a school career search or other resources, there is something other students may have overlooked and the worst thing to do is make the assumption you will not get a position because of excuse A or reason B.

Comments were contributed by Josh Miller, Ryan Yeh, Zachary Strong, Monika Viktorova, Shelby Levesque, Sarah Hurst, Michael Ross, Benjamin Miller, Aaron Joshua Pinto, Tyler Welch, Anita Acai, Christine Ackerley, Shane Feldman, Armin Rezaiean-Asel and Justin Scaini.

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