Summer’s end good time to find a job
Students told to use face time as well as Facebook
When the fall hiring season picks up, some recruitment experts predict workers in the recently beleaguered 15 to 24 age bracket could see a boost in employment prospects and they advise would-be job hunters to get a jump on the market.
“Hiring definitely increases in the fall,” says Laura Hambley, founder of Calgary Career Counselling. “We see a lot more activity in hiring and recruitment.”
She predicts a turnaround in job opportunities for that demographic. Although many are students heading back to school, most still need some type of job to help support their studies, while others can capitalize on students leaving full-time jobs who resume school.
Workers aged 15 to 24 took the biggest brunt of Canada’s overall recent job loss of 74,000 workers in July, with their numbers diminishing by 45,600 according to Statistics Canada.
Now is not the time to sit idly by.
“It’s a great time for networking. They need to go out and do natural networking — the coffees, the face time — and not just relying on social media alone,” adds Hambley.
For students balancing full-time studies with work, it’s also an ideal time to take advantage of the recent surge in the creation of part-time jobs, which have outpaced the rise in private sector full-time jobs.
Jenn Sanderson, a social work student heading back to university this fall, says she hopes to make a seamless transition from her full-time summer job at a car dealership to a part-time job during school.
“I’m optimistic that using the contacts I’ve already made, I should be able to find something fairly easily by September,” says Sanderson.
Michelle Cook, an education adviser and job search strategist with Calgary Career Counselling, says students should also start thinking about internships for next spring. Many companies that hire summer interns already have it on their radar.
“We definitely know that companies who intern or have co-op students are already starting to think about (hiring) for the next session,” says Cook. Although some firms retain interns throughout the year, the majority of students return to fall studies and look for part-time jobs to help support themselves.
“A lot of students do their best to retain the jobs that they may have gotten during the summer throughout the fall, or … go on to find something else just to supplement (their income) because costs are rising,” Cook says.
Retail is the traditional sector where many students find employment while in school, but Hambley and her team are starting to take a closer look at when students start to really focus on their long-term career paths.
She recently launched a national initiative called Ready or Not: Career needs of first-year university students, as part of a national research project under the umbrella of Canada Career Counselling.
It aims to examine how prepared students across Canada in their first year of university stud- ies feel in terms of their career path. The result is not encouraging.
The average first-year student goes on to change their major three to five times. “That has a huge cost and impact on the person,” Hambley says. “What we’ve seen in our practice from hundreds of students is that they’re not prepared. We want to better understand … what it is that they feel is missing.”
Cook says volunteering — even though it’s unpaid, at first anyway — is a great way to network, build contacts and to discover what areas of work they might want to pursue as a career.
Her organization retains three volunteers at any given time, many of which become contract workers — another way to find employment without being tied to a full-time job.
One thing is clear: even though July’s employment numbers for people aged 15 to 24 may not have been encouraging, it will be a key demographic as the aging Baby Boomers retire. Many are working longer than expected, but eventually they will leave a large gap in the workforce.
“The companies need to be getting younger blood because as soon as generation X moves into the Boomers’ positions, all of a sudden there’s going to be this huge gap and this is a huge problem,” says Hambley.
Calgary Career Counselling founder Laura Hambley, right, and job search strategist Michelle Cook say local students should start planning and networking now to land part-time jobs for the fall or internships for next spring.