Sum­mer­time and the job mar­ket is busy

Winnipeg Free Press - Section H - - FRONT PAGE - BAR­BARA BOWES

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.

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