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Ahead of the Pack


“While things are definitely more competitive these days, you should still focus your efforts on the three or four places where you would like to work.”

Republished from Career Insider
By J.K. Radomski

You’ve always dreamed about taking the business world by storm and believed your confidence and grades would be enough to take you there. But the economy is in a slump and that creates a whole new reality. While jobs are still available, you’re not just competing against your classmates for these coveted spots, but against experienced businesspeople who have been downsized and hungry for work. But fear not. There are many things you can do starting today that will get you noticed and help you get ahead of the pack.

START EARLY

It’s never too early to start thinking about your future career, even if you’ve just finished high school.

“You should attend the fall recruiting events at your school even if you’re only a first year-student because they give you a chance to network with the recruiters who are always scouting for talent,” says Saima Kazi, a recent graduate of York University’s Schulich School of Business who now works as a financial analyst at Kraft Canada. “While you certainly won’t be offered a job when you’re still in your first year, the recruiters who come back year after year will take notice of you and your interest, and there’s a very good chance they will offer you an interview for a summer job.”

[pullquote]You should also be up to date on current events and trends within your chosen profession, as this shows potential employers that you are an informed individual, and may even give you an anecdote or two to use as an icebreaker.[/pullquote]

Most recruiting events and career fairs happen in the fall, so you should also be on the look out for smaller events that take place in the winter semester and the summer. These tend to be less crowded, and often allow you to have more one-on-one face time with recruiters and potential employers.

DO YOUR RESEARCH

While things are definitely more competitive these days, you should still focus your efforts on the three or four places where you would like to work.

Finding a full-time job is hard work, and you don’t want to dilute your efforts by spending valuable time contacting too many employers when you could be targeting the ones where you can really see yourself launching your career.

Doing so will require you do some research to learn as much as you can about the many employers that are hiring. Specifically, you will want to explore: an organization’s corporate culture; the industry sectors you might be working in; whether a company offers any support when it comes to you pursuing a designation; and the kinds of benefits they offer.

Employers can quickly tell the difference between students who are keen and interested in joining their organization, and those who are just looking for a job. They want to make sure the students they hire will fit into their corporate environment and tend to hire the most enthusiastic of the bunch.

“On the surface, a lot of firms look the same, but there are definitely things that distinguish them from each other, so you will want to do your research,” says Cordie Wilson, GTA campus recruitment coordinator for PricewaterhouseCoopers. “Students should get to know the firms and figure out what they like specifically about each one of them. When students tell me that we’re their top choice, and give me specific reasons why, it really makes them stand out. We want to hire the people who know why they want to be here.”

COMMUNICATION IS KEY

Your résumé defines your experiences and who you are, and gives employers a chance to know something about you before actually meeting you.

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