As a second-year business student tired of spending my summers working in retail, I jumped at the opportunity to enrol in the co-operative education option (co-op) offered at my school.
I joined co-op under the impression that I would easily be able to secure meaningful summer employment, but I quickly discovered this was not the case.
I applied to countless jobs and had no difficulty getting interviews, my problem lay in receiving an actual job offer.
I left each interview feeling as if it had gone well, only to be informed a few days later that I had not been chosen as the successful candidate for the job. And I was not alone. Several of my fellow classmates were experiencing the same dilemma.
As a well-qualified applicant, this frustrating process led me to wonder, “Which students were being selected for these jobs?” The answer: Students with more experience and education, such as third and fourth years and graduates, with whom I could not compete.
Employers shouldn’t overlook the applications of promising young students simply because they lack experience.
Students who actively achieve and aim to improve themselves should be given fair consideration from employers, they should not be automatically placed on the back burner in favour of more senior and experienced applicants.
To compete with more experienced applicants, younger students should take advantage of the many opportunities offered by universities, such as volunteering, conferences and competitions.
By making an effort to get involved, students can develop relevant skills to their field of study, as well as establish relationships and build their professional network. When participating in extra-curricular activities, you never know what opportunities will present themselves or who you might meet.
Where Erin is now
I had nearly resorted to handing out resumés at the local mall when an opportunity arose.
I was contacted by a professional I had met during a networking event hosted by a student society I belonged to. My professor had spoken with this individual and requested that they consider me for a job before formally posting the position, and following the interview I was fortunate enough to receive a job offer.
My story has proven that although what you know is undoubtedly the most important, who you know can’t hurt.
TalentEgg, Canada’s online career resource for students and recent grads, wants to hear your Student Voice. Share it at TalentEgg.ca.