How to Get Started

Job-Search Tips

Finding a summer job in today's work force takes time and effort. While this guide provides information about opportunities supported by Ontario Summer Jobs, you should apply for as many other jobs in your community as possible. Here are some basic tips to help you with your job search.

1. Evaluate your skills and the local job market.

List your talents, skills, and interests, and then list jobs that you would enjoy. Try to determine which jobs available in your area use the skills and talents that you can provide. Is the job you want available where you live? If the job you want seems out of reach right now, work towards it in small stages. For example, volunteer work is a valuable way to gain experience in the career direction of your choice. (The local volunteer centre listed in your telephone book can help you find opportunities.) Remember that every job you have will give you some sort of experience that will be of value in other jobs.

2. Make sure you have a social insurance card.

No employer will hire you without a social insurance card. If you don't have one already, you can pick up an application form at any Human Resources Centre of Canada. For the centre nearest you, check the Government of Canada listings in the blue pages of the telephone book under "Employment and Insurance".

3. Prepare a professional résumé.

Your résumé is your most important tool for marketing your skills and accomplishments to a prospective employer. It gives the employer a mental picture of you as a potential employee. Include a résumé with every job application letter you write, and be sure to bring one to every interview. If you need help writing your résumé, there are places you can go for help:

  • your high school guidance office
  • your university or community college student placement or career centre
  • the local Youth Employment Counselling Centre
  • the nearest Human Resources Centre of Canada for Students
  • your local public library for reference books on résumé writing
4. Spread the word to family and friends.

Tell your family and friends that you are looking for a job. Be specific about the kind of job you want. Ask them to check with their friends and co-workers to see if they know of potential job openings, as they may know of jobs that haven't been advertised.

5. Read the want ads.

Read the classified section of your newspaper daily to review the employment ads. Remember to read the business section too, as it can give you valuable information about companies that are expanding and that may need to hire in the future.

Be sure to check local weekly community newspapers. Don't be discouraged from responding to job advertisements that ask for experienced help only. If you think you can do the job, go for it!

6. Visit employment centres and check their bulletin boards.

Youth Employment Counselling Centres, college and university placement offices, and Human Resources Centres of Canada for Students can help you with your job search. Many have job boards for you to check.

7. Call companies and organizations you would like to work for and ask for an information meeting.

One of the best methods of looking for a job is to make personal contact with employers. Call a potential employer and ask for a meeting to find out more about the company or organization. A face-to-face meeting will give you the opportunity to make a greater impression than you can by just sending a letter. In this way, employers can put "a face" on your résumé and get a sense of your desire to work, your skills, and your enthusiasm.

8. Network, network, network!

Talk to employers or people who work in the industry in which you want a job – including family and friends. Some industries have professional or community associations that allow students to become members. Attend their monthly lunches and seminars. It's a great way to meet people and get yourself known. Be sure to bring copies of your résumé!

9. Go to any interviews fully prepared.

An interview is your opportunity to show an employer why you are the right person for the job. Always be prompt, dress appropriately, and be positive. Show the employer that you are interested in the company or organization by doing some research before you go to the interview. Make inquiries or call or visit the organization to ask for an annual report or general information brochure. These publications can give you valuable information about the organization, its main business, its services, and its clients. And don't forget your local public library. Its reference section may have valuable information about local employers.

10. Stay positive. Persevere!

Don't take rejection to heart. There are many applicants for every job. Keep your spirits high and be persistent! If you apply for as many jobs as possible, you will greatly increase your chances of finding a job. And remember that in a competitive job market, your enthusiasm and positive attitude may well give you the edge over another candidate.

More complete and personalized job-search information is available at no cost through the Summer Jobs Service. If you don't know who's providing the Summer Jobs Service in your area, call the toll-free Employment Ontario Hotline at 1-800-387-5656 or (416) 326-5656.