All Posts Tagged With: "summer jobs"
How to make the most out of internships and placements
I worked at least a dozen summer jobs and internships before landing a full-time job, so suffice it to say I’ve learned a few things about squeezing the most out of these fleeting experiences. I’ve also seen a whir of students come and go and noticed too many unwittingly break the unwritten office rules. Since these jobs are crucial for launching careers, I thought I’d share what I learned. Follow these seven rules to make the most out of your summer placement.
7. Cover up
Few bosses would point out inappropriate clothing, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t making mental notes about your choices. Men shouldn’t wear jeans or shorts on any day except casual Friday. For women, things are tougher, but the most common mistake is showing too much skin: open-toed shoes are out, mini-dresses are not approved and low-cut tops are frowned upon.
6. Don’t be late—ever
Sometimes traffic is bad, sometimes Starbucks has a long line and some days the boss herself saunters in at 9:45. It doesn’t matter; you need to be there at 9 a.m. sharp. Even after a true emergency (let’s say your apartment floods—this happened to a colleague) don’t just show up with soggy pants at 10:30. Call your boss so she can re-assign your work and not worry for your safety.
5. Keep that smart-phone hidden
Work time belongs to work, even if you’re an unpaid intern (I know right?). That means you shouldn’t be caught updating your status, Tweeting or having long text message conversations.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Bosses may assume you know how to do something unless you tell them otherwise. Although you should try to be resourceful and figure things out on your own, sometimes you just need to ask. It’s better to look dumb in front of your boss than to make her look dumb in front of clients.
3. Be sure to find a mentor
You may be passed around from project to project and boss to boss. While it’s great to meet plenty of new people, make sure at least one person gets to know you well. You will need that person to vouch for you when you’re asked for a reference. You also want them to think of you when a position opens up. I got my job because an editor with whom I worked closely recommended me.
2. Ask your boss for feedback
Go to your bosses before the summer is over and ask for constructive criticism. Tell them you want the truth, even if it hurts. You may be surprised by what you’re doing wrong. I certainly was.
1. Make sure to ask for what you want
I’ve seen interns come and go. The few who got hired full-time were those who made clear what they wanted to contribute. Consider Emma Teitel. While most interns would offer story ideas at our weekly meetings and then sit and wait, Teitel dared to propose opinion columns, something most interns feel too inexperienced to write. The bravery paid off. She was hired as a columnist.
Where to learn about job prospects and pay
It’s the time of year when students start looking for summer jobs. This inevitably leads to despair about what the heck they’re going to do after graduation too. So where to start? Your Job Makes Me Jealous is one good place to explore. Here are several other websites that can help Canadian students narrow down their options.
This federal government website is a rich source of high-quality information about how much jobs pay is various parts of Canada. For example, if I search “journalist” under the “Wages” tab, I can see that the median hourly pay is $26 nationwide, higher in Edmonton and lower in Saskatchewan.
The “Outlook” tab, which offers research on job prospects, is a little less useful because it’s incomplete. It shows me that the chances of journalists finding employment are “limited” in Nova Scotia, but reports are missing for Ontario. More info is available for some careers, so try it.
Worst-ever internship, tuition and “deviant behavior”
1. Here’s discouraging news. Statistics Canada reports that summer employment rates were down for students of all age groups and were among the lowest on record. Overall, the average employment rate from May to August for 15- to 24-year-old students was 47.9 per cent, down from 49.1 last summer and an average of 54.1 per cent from 2006 to 2008. It’s no wonder so many people are doing unpaid internships.
2. On the topic of unpaid internships, Apple’s infamous Chinese iPhone maker, Foxconn Technology, is being criticized for using unpaid students on the manufacturing lines, which advocacy groups say is exploitation. Apparently they need all hands on deck for the iPhone 5.
3. Members of Franciscan University’s gay and lesbian alumni group are offended by their alma mater’s social work course called “Deviant Behavior.” The course description reads: “The behaviors that are primarily examined are murder, rape, robbery, prostitution, homosexuality, mental illness and drug use.” The Catholic institution says homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.”
You’re not alone
It’s a tough summer to find jobs, according to Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey. Among Canadians aged 15 to 24 who were planning to return to full-time studies in the fall, only 58.9 per cent were employed in May. That’s down from 60.8 per cent in May, 2011. The good news? At least things aren’t as bad as they were during the Great Recession. In May, 2009 only 56.3 per cent of students were employed. If you’re struggling yourself, these 10 Summer Job Search Tips may apply. It may also be time to consider unglamorous work, despite what these Alberta students say.
Summer unemployment remained high in 2011
Federal Human Resources Minister Diane Finley has shut down a program that provided in-person job search help for students each spring and summer, reports The Globe and Mail.
The Service Canada Centres for Youth cost $6.5-million per year. Finley said enhanced services are available on Youth.gc.ca, a federal website that students increasingly turn to for job help.
Roxanne Dubois, national chair of the Canadian Federation of Students, was critical of the move, citing high youth unemployment.
The unemployment rate for full-time students aged 20 to 24 grew from 6.9 per cent in Aug. 2008 to 10.9 per cent in Aug. 2009 and then fell somewhat to 10.1 per cent in Aug. 2011, according to Statistics Canada.
It’s January. You better start looking now!
The end of the school year may seem far off, but it’s only about five months away. And as surprising as it may seem in January, most employers who hire students for the summer are already recruiting. That means you better get your job strategy ready. Here’s advice to search smarter.
1. Crack the hidden job market
Most jobs aren’t advertised. They’re given to the boss’s son, the boss’s wife’s niece or the guy who was smart enough to offer his resume just when the employer was considering expansion. Start your search by asking friends and family if they know anyone who might hire a student.
But it was a bad summer for student job hunters
Unemployment among university graduates in rich countries, including Canada, remained a low 4.4 per cent in 2009, the year of the global recession, according to a new study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. That same year, unemployment for those without higher education shot up from 8.7 per cent to 11.5 per cent. The OECD’s conclusion? Education is “a good employment insurance.”
But the organization is worried about falling public investment in education. Between 2000 and 2008, the share of private funding for post-secondary schools rose in 20 of the 26 countries studied. “Despite strained public budgets, governments must keep up their investment to maintain quality in education, especially for those most at risk,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría.
Click to find out which programs they’re taking
The first-ever detailed analysis of summer jobs in Canada shows that students from some programs are finding high-paying work that will help launch their careers. Others are working low-skilled jobs and barely breaking minimum wage.
Those in math, computer science, engineering and other technical fields are making much more cash than arts and humanities students, according to the CanEd Student Research Panel’s study. And nearly half of them say their jobs are related to their education. Those in engineering and architecture programs are making the most money, averaging $15.62 per hour.
That’s $4 per hour more than arts and humanities students are making. Those students are barely beating Ontario’s minimum wage of $10.25. What’s worse? Two-thirds of them say their jobs have little to do with what they’re studying.
Applicant who was rejected for swearing will tour the province after all
It was advertised as the best summer job in Saskatchewan and it’s hard to argue with that. “The Saskatchewander” — a.k.a. student Andrew Konoff, 21, is spending this summer travelling around Saskatchewan, from the Athabaska Sand Dunes to the Saskatchewan Music Festival, blogging about what he finds.
But the job was supposed to go to the person who got the most votes for their online video application. That was Nathan Thoen, 19, — until he was disqualified by Ministry of Tourism officials who were offended by his cursing at Roughrider’s football game. “I was supporting the Riders and we all do it passionately,” he told The StarPheonix. “I was too passionate, I guess.”
But Thoen wasn’t too passionate for The Prince Albert Daily Herald, which hired him as their summer multimedia reporter. He will travel across the province, just like the Saskatchewanderer, stopping for at least one Roughrider’s football game along the way. Read about his journey right here.
Thou shalt read these rules and obey them – or I shall smite thee.
The summer before I started college, I spent the summer working part-time at a local convenience store. From that experience, I wrote an article for my college blog called 20 Rules for the Convenience Store, which then went on to be published in the American magazine, Convenience Store Decisions.
Anyway, this summer I’m back at the same convenience store. And, to be quite honest, I think I’ve learned a few things. Following are 10 commandments to be followed by college students working ye olde summer job. Please add your own if you’re so inclined.
- Thou shalt not work too many hours. Having too many hours will usually affect how much the student loan folk hand out. Only go for a full-time job if you aren’t looking to get a student loan. (And, in that case, sucks to be you… right now. Not so much in 15 years when the rest of us are still trying to pay off our loans…)
- Thou shalt not work for a family member. Working for a family member can be either evil or great. It’s great when = you get to slack off and still get paid. But it’s evil when = they make you work and you try everything in your power to get fired because they’re being so mean and they won’t just go ahead and fire you already because you’re family. It’s a double-edged sword. Best thing to do is ask a former or current employee for their honest opinion of your relative as a boss. You might get lucky. Or, they might lie to your face so that you too are sucked into the Summer of Doom & Despair.
- Thou shalt not expect to be paid much over minimum wage. You’re only around for the summer and you suck at your job anyway. It’s laughable that you would even expect a raise after those first disastrous 2 weeks.
- Thou shalt not work at the same job as thy boy/girlfriend. We show a different side of ourselves at work. Besides, seeing too much of a person can be unhealthy for a relationship, especially in such close quarters. (Besides. Your co-workers don’t want to see you two making out in the broom closet. Gross.)
- Thou shalt probably have to wear a dorky uniform. Suck it up, kid. You’ve been assimilated into the collective.
- Thou shalt not spit into the hamburger of thy nemesis when they come to Wendy’s and you’re working in the kitchen. This should be fairly self-explanatory.
- Thou shalt not be caught smelling marshmallows by thy boss, co-workers or customers. I love the smell of marshmallows. But seeing the cashier shoving a package into her face and inhaling deeply seems to make people uncomfortable.
- Thou shalt pretend to love and not quit thy job at chic downtown coffee house. You may hate your job and have a knack for spilling hot beverages. But you still get tips and working as a barista looks a lot cooler than being a fry cook, so appreciate where you are and- more importantly- how you look while you do it.
- Thou shalt not get distracted from your job when your crush comes by. “Don’t mess up. Don’t mess up. Just try to look cool and attractive. Sure, you’re wearing a shirt with a fast food label on it but it’s cool. They respect you. It’s fine. Just don’t make eye contact and maybe they’ll go away… Crap, they’re coming over. Oh, crap. They just saw you. Don’t mess up… And there you go, spilling fries everywhere. Wow. Impressive.”
- Thou shalt make plans to have a kick-ass job next summer. This could include book store clerk, amusement park employee, summer camp counselor or, if you’re looking to be creative, lifeguard at a nude beach.
(Photo courtesy of quinn.anya.)
Again, I’d love to hear any suggestions for other summer job commandments. (Keep in mind, this article is meant to be humorous and not to be taken seriously. By all means, ignore what you’ve read here.)
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And on a completely different note, I’m inserting a shameless plug here. Please visit my new website for East Coast music, East Coast Overture. Thank you smuchly.