Op Ed: Student tips for success on getting a job

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Coming up on 10 years, I have been working at various sales-related roles in both Ontario and New Brunswick. Here’s some advice for students trying to find and keep work in Canada.

Apply in person

When applying for a position, show up in person. Every job I have ever had I got by applying in person. Even if they tell you to apply online, showing up is the best option. Canadian employers love seeing someone show up in person as it’s a sign of courage, thinking outside the box, and it shows you aren’t afraid to get out of your comfort zone. Looking nice, having a smile, and wearing a nice shirt can go a long way with finding work here.

Write a cover letter

Writing a cover letter can be the difference between getting the job or not. When someone applies to a job and they don’t have a cover letter it makes you appear uninterested and that you just don’t care. I get it, writing one is a pain and no one wants to write it, but it’s one of the most crucial things you can do when trying to find work and moving up in your career.

Make sure your cover letter is unique

Yes, there is nothing wrong with reusing assets from a previous cover letter, but plagiarizing from someone else’s cover letter will be an immediate termination. Canadian employers have no sympathy for plagiarizing of any sort. Even if you’re not the best writer, have someone look over it for you instead of copying someone else.

Don’t lie in your interview

If you want to get fired and have your reputation ruined this will be the best way to do it. If they find out you lied, you will be fired and potentially even blacklisted. This is probably the biggest mistake you can make. Sell yourself truthfully so they can appreciate your unique qualities and experiences.

Interviews can be nerve-racking and anxiety-inducing but being yourself and having honesty with the interviewer is the best way to find work. Employers want to see who you are more than anything else and being yourself is the best way to do that. Lying on your resume or during your interview is not the answer and will just ruin your chances of obtaining a job.

Arrive to work early if you can

If work starts at 9 a.m., don’t show up at 9 a.m., show up at 8:45 a.m. If you show up the minute your shift begins, employers may view this as unprofessional. Showing up fifteen minutes before your shift is a great way to hold on to your job, demonstrate commitment, and gain future contacts.

Be sociable and open

I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but getting to know your co-workers and/or customers is a great way to retain customers, make connections, and get great references.

Understand your job’s working culture

Every job will have its own culture and understanding how the job operates is a great way to stay ahead. For example, I had one job where they wanted you to show up 15 minutes early then wait till your shift started, while I had another job where they expected me to start right away.

If you have a question, ask! If you don’t share, they won’t know if you’re struggling. This is important to have a healthy working experience and enjoy where you work.

UNB Career Talks

For more career tips, tune in to the UNB Alumni Career Talk happening on Tuesday, March 22 which will be discussing how to manage your online presence. Register here.

This article was a LTE submission by Aidan Creaghan, who moved to New Brunswick recently from Ontario.

Emily is in her fourth year of Political Science. She loves studying and academics which follows into her research work. She's a stern black coffee drinker and is a proud Acadienne. When she's not working or doing school work, you can find Emily listening to 70s music on vinyl and watching Parks and Recreation. If you ask her about parliamentary institutions, she won't stop talking.