by Kristian Pacpaco, Chemical Engineering Undergraduate Student, Minor in Philosophy
Ryerson’s New Grad Career Fair is in February this year, from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm on February 7, 2018 at 89 Chestnut Street (Chestnut Residence & Conference Centre). The journey to meaningful employment is a chapter in every student’s #RoadFromRyerson story. Over the next month, we’ve invited graduating Ryerson students to share their professional development stories via the Path to Career blog series. For more information on the Career Centre, its events, and how you can make an appointment at the Career Centre with your Career Education Specialist, check out ryerson.ca/career.
As a graduating student, finishing a five year long program, moving on from undergraduate life to the realities of post-graduation life can be daunting and scary. Even with co-operative and extracurricular experiences, applying for full-time jobs and the start of your career can intimidate even the most confident students. Knowing how to search, apply and prepare for your job search can greatly increase your confidence, decrease stress levels, and find your dream job! These are some of the ways that I, personally, start my job search.
Developing resumes and cover letters are one of the most important primary aspects of any post-graduation job search. Displaying your best foot forward when applying for jobs is crucial to getting the career of your dreams. Most know about the basics: have keywords, correct grammar and spelling, and use universal fonts. Most importantly, many know to tailor your application to the specific job. However, with so many applications (which can reach into the hundreds!), tailoring resumes is challenging and inefficient time-wise. One technique that I employ is to create various cover letters for different types of jobs and categories, such as laboratory based or office based, public or private sector, and even location. In addition, I have various preliminary paragraphs and sentences that can be reused or rearranged depending on what skills and experience I have that match each individual job. Having things prewritten (in a general way) makes adjusting for specifics quick and easy. Rearranging the order of extracurricular activities, experience and skills on my resume and cover letter quickly makes a general resume more relevant to the specific job application, and saves time in editing and reworking. Overall, strategizing my application allows me to generate relevant and unique applications in a fast and efficient manner.
Job Searching and Networking
With the applications ready to be tailored, searching for jobs is the next step. When searching for jobs online, there are many different approaches and strategies that I employ to find those fleeting and prestigious postings. Having regular applications and profiles on file on various recruitment websites makes tailored searching easier. Make technology work for you. I have profiles readily available on LinkedIn, Indeed, and Magnet, among others, as well as specific companies such as Husky and Suncor. In addition, having notifications readily on my phone and computer on when jobs are posted, daily and weekly, allows me to find jobs that are posted and need to be filled at a moment’s notice. Being prepared to find, research and apply to jobs during short time frames on a regular basis allows me to get into the repeated motions of applying and find my dream position.
Networking events and conferences are the next step to finding jobs. As many as 50% of jobs available are only through word of mouth and not advertised. As such, it is important to sign up for events such as these and prepare yourself for what to do. For me, this involves creating an elevator pitch, having multiple formal outfits prepared, as well as having business cards linking my online resume ready at a moment’s notice. Building your network is always useful, in and out of a job search. You never know who knows who and what they could do for you.
Next, strengthening and reconnecting with your network is just as important as building it in the first place. Reconnecting with old managers and co-workers from previous experiences is particularly helpful when applying for your first post-graduate position. Not only would they be able to provide a great, current, reference for any positions you are applying for, but would also be able to give some helpful insight from inside the job market. Having a mentor to guide you and vouch for your skills is priceless in this competitive search. Your next position could even be back at your old company through a position they share with you!
Finally, when preparing for my job search, I give special attention to curating when potential hiring managers search for me. In the modern day and age of social media, finding out about a prospective employee can be done with a click of a button. Ensuring that whatever is connected to your from a simple google search can mean the difference between a successful interview or one doomed from the start. Regularly throughout the year, I find what comes up when I search my name, and variations of it (through nicknames or middle names, and so forth). I ensure to adjust my privacy settings on personal social media accounts as well as ensuring everything publicly displayed is professional and suitable for the workplace. This extends past the commonly used LinkedIn and into my personal accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Moreover, I aim to increase my “search-ability” by being found online in pages that I would want employers to see. Whether this be a group project, extracurricular events or an awards page, I aim to make any and all of these achievements readily available at the search of my name. Even before you step into the room, depending on what is available online, the hiring manager has a brief but significant impression of you. Remember: Like a pricey shirt or fancy car, your name is your brand. Take care of it and allow it to show who you truly are. Personal branding is a must in the job search!
All in all, there are various ways to begin your job search. For me, organization and having a detailed action plan increases my confidence in myself and reduces my anxiety in applying. Though everyone’s job search may look different, the principles remain the same. Work hard to put your best foot forward and everything will fall into place.
Kristian Pacpaco is a final year student at Ryerson University pursuing a bachelors in Chemical Engineering with a Minor in Philosophy. He aspires to work in the environmental field after graduation and travel the world. At Ryerson, Kristian enjoys being active and involved with his course union (RyeChemU), the Filipino Canadian Association of Ryerson (FCAR), and the RSU Equity Centre. Outside of school, Kristian has a passion for languages, mental health awareness and is a professional shower singer.