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How To Survive Recruiting Season

Disclaimer: my keyboard spontaneously turned French halfway through this post, so you will notice a lack of contractions (which are now è) and question marks (É). #canadianproblems

It’s recruiting season at my school, and that means networking, writing cover letters, editing resumes, questioning your own ability to use the English language, and suits. You all know how I feel about suits. Right now though, wearing a suit is the least of my worries. First, I need to, you know, find a job.

1. Don’t just apply to everything that you see.

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It hurts me when I hear my classmates saying that they need to “just find a job – any job”. I think it’s the wrong way to approach your job search. Remember that regardless of which job you take, you will have to work there for a significant amount of time. Even a summer part time job could take 20-25 hours of your week. If you’re going to do something for a really long time, you had better enjoy what you’re doing. This means that you should like the company, like your colleagues, and like your work. There might be some trade-offs, but it’s better to go in without wanting to settle. Don’t apply for jobs that you know you won’t like. Money isn’t everything.

2. Be honest about how much you want to get paid.

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I don’t really like unpaid internships. It feels like companies take advantage of college students because we need the work experience and we know that it’s hard to get hired while we’re still in school. I took an unpaid internship once, and that was fine because I didn’t need the money at the time. If you need the money, don’t take an unpaid internship. If you have bills to pay and need to earn the money to pay it, that should be your first priority. The damage to your credit score and the additional stress might make you hate your unpaid internship anyway. On the flip side, if you are taking a paid job, there is room for negotiation. I generally suggest that you take pay that is equal to or higher than your most recent paid job. If you want more than the job offers, just ask (gently). The worst they could do is say no.

3. Plan for the future.

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Know what your end goals are. You might not get your dream job right away, but consider applying for the positions that will help you get there. If there is a company that you really like, apply away. You could get hired full time once you graduate because the recruiting process is expensive (not to mention that you already have relevant experience and fit into the company culture). This summer job is not everything. You can use it as a stepping stone in your career.

How do you survive applying to jobs?


Image courtesy of reynermedia via Flickr (CC-BY-2.0).

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