The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Underwhelmed by your summer job? It may be more valuable than you realize

  • Print

TORONTO - When Christina Di Rosa graduated from McMaster University last December, she applied for dozens of internships but, in the end, opted to return to her summer job at a local golf course as a way to make some money.

"A lot of my friends right now are just working office jobs, whatever they can get their hands on," said Di Rosa, 22.

"The most important thing right now for students is to get money — we're not going to get hired anywhere without a post-graduate degree, so we have to save up (for that)."

While the English literature grad was busy during university — taking part in job shadowing programs and volunteering with schoolteachers — she wonders if any of that experience will be relevant now that she's decided to return to school to pursue a different path, perhaps in public relations.

But experts say students unable to land summer jobs in their chosen fields shouldn't assume it will hurt their career goals as there is more value in menial summers jobs than millenials think.

Sharon Irwin-Foulon, executive director of Career Management and Corporate Recruiting at the Ivey Business School at Western University, says any kind of experience can help boost your resume if you have a well-thought out narrative that leads employers to understand the skills and experience gained.

"I had a student a couple of years ago who chose to do the College Pro-Painting route because he wanted to force himself to be accountable for raising his own money and, more than that, he wanted to test his own ability to sell, because he didn't think he was good at it," she said.

"Just on that alone, that he had an awareness he wasn't good at it and that he was pushing himself — we loved him for that."

Accenture, a global management consulting firm, recruits students from university campuses and says what it values most in candidates is how well-rounded they are.

While grades matter, the firm looks at additional experience, whether it's a part-time job, a summer job, an internship or volunteer work.

"We don't necessarily place a preference on one over the other, what we look at is the overall package," said Nicholas Greschner, a human resources director with Accenture in Montreal.

"It's not about where the work was performed or the employer, it's more about what they did. It could be completely in a different field. It's all about what you did with that experience."

In addition to paid work, that experience can also come from activities on campus throughout the school year or other extra-curricular activities.

"What we hear from employers is that they're looking for people with the skills and ability to do the work, and that can come from different places," said Cathy Keates, director of Queen's Career Services.

"In general, employers hire someone who can make a really strong case that they have what they need, and that evidence for your case can come from different types of experiences."

The ability to communicate effectively, work in a team and problem solve will always be valuable skills, she said, but initiative can be what really makes a candidate stand out.

And if there is no paid work on the horizon, the best thing students can do to show they are motivated go-getters is to volunteer.

"Obviously everyone would like to have a summer job, but sometimes you try for a few jobs and it just doesn't pan out," said Greschner.

"It happens, it's OK. But do something about it. It's better to do volunteer work for four weeks than to have nothing on your calendar."

Students who spent the summer volunteering can also make a case for being goal-focused and engaged, since they can use that experience to point to the fact that they chose to spend their free time volunteering with an organization they believed in instead of sitting in their parents' basement, Irwin-Foulon said.

"It's not necessarily the credentials," she said.

"I think sometimes that's where kids get caught up as opposed to the skill set and attitude."

Follow @maurinor on Twitter.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Keri Latimer looks for beauty in the dark and the spaces between the notes

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Goslings with some size head for cover Wednesday afternoon on Commerce Drive in Tuxedo Business Park - See Bryksa 30 Goose Challenge- Day 12- May 16, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Susan and Gary Harrisonwalk their dog Emma on a peaceful foggy morning in Assiniboine Park – Standup photo– November 27, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should the city grant mosquito buffer zones for medical reasons only?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google