Summertime and the job market is busy
SPRING has arrived and another university, college and high school year is wrapping up. Hundreds of young people are exploding into the job market looking for that special summer job to build transferable skills and/ or gain an entry path to their chosen career.
Summer student employment brings a number of benefits for employers, as well. Students create an opportunity to inject youthful ideas into the workplace, they provide extra hands to help cover vacation periods and, of course, student employment provides an opportunity to scout out those individuals who may have long-term potential for an organization.
However, hiring a student is much more than just signing the first young person who knocks on your door. In fact, employers need to pay just as much attention to recruiting summer students as they would with a full-time, permanent employee. For instance, summer student skills and abilities must parallel the skills of a permanent employee, although it is understandable they will not be as experienced.
Employers need to have specific duties outlined in a job description. Summer student employees also need to have a variety of training, not only on the specifics of a job but also to learn about acceptable behaviour and responsibilities while they are working at your site. This is because workplace accidents happen more to young people between the ages of 16 and 29 than experienced adults. These injuries range from loss of life, loss of limbs, brain injury to burns, abrasions and/or minor cuts.
Therefore, summer student employees especially need to learn how to recognize workplace hazards and how to prevent accidents. If they need to wear protective equipment, then each summer employee must be instructed on each of the safety gear items and must abide by the workplace health and safety policies at all times.
In fact, workplace health and safety for student workers has been the focus of attention for many years, resulting in a number of rules and regulations governing student employment. For instance, students under the age of 18 are not allowed to work in a variety of industries that are more prone to worker injury. This includes forestry, saw or pulp mills, underground mines, open pit quarries or in confined spaces. As well, concern for personal safety also prevents people under the age of 18 from working alone between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.
On the other hand, employees under the age of 16 must have a permit from the Manitoba Employment Standards Branch before they can work at all. In addition, these youths are not allowed to work on construction sites, in industrial or manufacturing processes, drilling or servicing rigs, on scaffolds or swing stages and/or in the pruning, repairing, maintaining of trees.
Finding the right job from the student perspective can also be a challenge. What do employers want and how can students connect in today’s fast-paced world? The following tips will help to guide you to the right job.
Develop a transferable skills resumé — Many students believe they have little to offer other than physical ability. That’s not true. Students have learned to listen, organize their work, complete assignments on time, communicate with people, and work in teams. University and college graduates have excellent skills for writing reports, letters and/or policy manuals. In particular, most students have excellent computer skills. Each of these skills is transferable. Be sure to take advantage of these skills and market them in your resumé.
Get your resumé listed online — Today, there are numerous job boards on which you can list your resumé. The most popular ones include Google, Yahoo, Bing, Workopolis and Craigslist. As well, most larger organizations have their own job board; check out these boards for job listings. Go to government websites and check out summer opportunities. Send out your resumé through your social networking friends; ask them to forward your resumé to interested parties.
Build your network — While you might think your network is too small and won’t be of much help, this is simply a popular myth that is untrue. Instead, the old saying, “someone knows someone who knows someone” is what holds true. You will be surprised what the connections and linkages are among people. When you contact or meet someone, do not ask them to point you towards a job, always ask them to refer you to someone who could provide you with expert advice on your career. Take their advice and call them back with an update. You’ll build up your network quickly.
Engage your parents and friends — Who says parents don’t know anything? In fact, they might know of a summer job. At the very least, they probably have a good network themselves that you can link into. So, don’t let intergenerational issues get in the way. Friends too, have their own network. Think connection and search out ways to connect with as many people as possible.
Start now — While you may have a part-time job and wish to move closer toward your career goal, don’t hesitate or wait until school is over, start now. If you are moving into a profession, be sure to join the appropriate association and attend as many functions as you can. Throughout your school year, volunteer as much as time will permit. Then when the time comes, approach this network for job referrals.
Searching for the right student employee for summer jobs and job hunting from the students perspective can be equally daunting tasks. Each requires a strategy that will ensure the selected individual is in the right job at the right time and can offer the right level of skills as well as the right attitude.
A key factor for the employer is knowing what the job entails, what skills are required and/or can be learned on the job, and what motivators best attract potential candidates to this job. As well of course, they must keep workplace safety in mind. Students, on the other hand, must focus on matching their skills and motivators to the job, looking at what can be learned from the job, who they can meet and how the job will build skills for the future.
The students are out there, ready, willing and able. Good luck in finding the right match.