Job hunt 101

Taking on part-time work can be a daunting task for first-year students. With good organizational skills and a little help from Career Services, the perfect job is yours to find

Students have hundreds of opportunities to work on campus through the Work Study program or another organization plus a myriad of jobs in the Kingston community.
Students have hundreds of opportunities to work on campus through the Work Study program or another organization plus a myriad of jobs in the Kingston community.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

Students are faced with many decisions upon the transition from high school to university. On top of choosing classes and deciding what extra-curricular activities to get involved with, many debate whether or not seek out a part-time job.

Career Services Director Paul Smith said incorporating a job into the school year is a personal decision first-year students make on the basis of many lifestyle factors.

“I would encourage all students, first year or beyond, to reflect on their own situation while they deliberate on seeking a part-time job,” he said. “How busy is their class schedule likely to be? How much out of class work will they be required to do? What else is important to them? What else do I need to make time for? Friends, relationships, volunteering?”

Smith said first years should be especially wary of jumping into a new job because they haven’t yet experienced a school year at Queen’s.

“For some, a part-time job will add to their university experience,” he said. “Others may find it overwhelming to work and study. This is why I encourage everyone to take some time to consider the impact of adding a new job into the mix.”

Some students might be anxious about finding work due to their lack of experience, Smith said, but they don’t have to be. Career Services, located in Gordon Hall, can direct students to various employment options that will draw upon their experiences.

In a city of more than 100,000 people, there are many part-time jobs that students can choose from. The number of jobs available through Queen’s alone is in the thousands, Smith said.

“The Work Study program offers hundreds of qualified students a wide range of opportunities to work on campus and in the Kingston community,” he said. “Academic departments often have positions available and we encourage students to make enquiries of faculty and staff within their department.”

All the libraries on campus are partnered with work study as well as the Campus Bookstore and most administrative buildings on campus. Students can also work at the JDUC approving posters and monitoring tables. Additional opportunities may be found within the student’s department or the Mature Women’s Centre.

Career Services post thousands of jobs on their website—careers.queensu.ca—and many of those jobs are for part-time opportunities in the Kingston area. However, a great majority of the opportunities, part-time and otherwise, are never posted on a job board.

Jane Good, manager of career education and counselling for Career Services, said on average, only one out of five jobs will be advertised, so students need to understand how to search for a job to tap into the other 80 per cent.

Good said students should visit Career Services to learn tips on how to find a part-time job. They can also book an appointment with a career counsellor.

“Our Peer Career Educators—a team of 15 trained student volunteers—run special workshops to equip students for job searching and conduct resume review appointments that can be booked through myCareer on our website.”

One way of finding out what employers are looking for, Good said, is to check out the National Occupational Classification (NOC) which can be found at Career Services or on the Service Canada website.

“There might be a core set of skills shared by two positions but additional skills which significantly differentiate the work,” she said. “For example, both a lab tech job and a restaurant service position would require skills of manual dexterity, attention to detail and compliance with special procedures including health and safety guidelines. However, they might differ in other ways—perhaps the lab worker has to meet target deadlines daily, weekly and monthly, whereas the front line server in a busy diner might face constant demands for hours with occasional bursts of intense deadlines in every shift.”

The process of finding a job involves being resourceful, Good said. Students should be realistic as they won’t always find something that’s a perfect match. In turn, many students may look for a job based on convenience and availability.

“Some students will be very practical,” she said. “They’ll make note of businesses in town that are in walking distance of their home, or on a bus route that’s handy. They’ll check the Yellow Pages of the print phone book to look up sections headings that might need what the student can offer. Many will let friends know that they’re looking for work ... that way they might connect through the grapevine to potential employers.”

Ryan Tolusso, ArtSci ’12, said he used his connection with Indigo Books in Ottawa to organize a transfer. During his first year at Queen’s, he worked for Indigo Books on Princess St.

Tolusso said he’d been with Indigo Books and Music for about a year and a half before he started to work at the Indigo in Kingston.

Tolusso said he didn’t have a lot of experience before he first applied to work for Indigo in Ottawa.

“When I first hired I just had refereeing soccer and some volunteer experience on my resume,” he said. “I really wanted the job, so every week for a month I handed in a resume and they saw how badly I wanted it so they gave me an interview.”

During his first year at Queen’s, Tolusso said he worked between 10 and 15 hours each week on top of 15 hours of class and being a member of the Queen’s Debating Union.

“I worked nights and weekends so it worked very well with my schedule,” he said.

“Downtown is a quick walk from campus, so I could leave right after class and start work at four or five o’clock.”

Tolusso said he even had time to finish all his school work and still have a social life, but said he had to make some sacrifices.

“I did have to give up a few Friday nights,” he said. “I managed to do an extracurricular as well, although sometimes I had to skip out on it.”

Choosing to get a job is entirely up to the student, Tolusso said. It really depends on the kind of university experience the student wants to have.

“If you’re in a program with 30 hours of class a week and you’re aiming for 80’s and 90’s, it might be tough to fit in a job,” he said. “If you want to do a lot of extracurriculars you also might have a hard time balancing school, outside activities and work.”

Tolusso said university can be overwhelming for first-year students and it’s important for them to understand there’s an adjustment period.

“Unless [students] are ready to hit the ground running and add an extra duty onto their plate, it might be tough adjusting.”

To be successful at balancing between school and a part time job, Tolusso said it’s imperative students have organization and time management skills.

“Having the will to start assignments ahead of time and the ability to play out your week so you know when you have to do what in order to get everything done on time are pretty essential.”

Career Services is located on the third floor of Gordon Hall, open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. year-round.

Finding a job on campus

Areas of InterestJob PossibilitiesAll DepartmentsQueen’s Calendars (lists of profs by dept)
Queen’s Telephone DirectoryVisit ones that interest you. Talk with staff, professors and students to indicate your willingness to work and ask about openings. Opportunities vary by department.Alma Mater Society (AMS)JDUC
Advertised in the Journal100’s of positions: commissioners, editors, constables, managers, specific staff (e.g. copying, typesetting, layout, walk home, pubs)
Often advertised in early winter due to training requirements.Athletics and Physical Education
Application forms at front door of Physical Education Centre (PEC)Regularly hires part-time staff: lifeguards, instructional skills teachers, security staff, ticket sellers, Sports Camp counsellors.Department of Development
Office of AdvancementTele-fundraising: Three main hiring periods: early Sept, Jan and May.Executive MBA
Executive Development CentreHosts, administrative and child care positions part time through year; full-time in summer.Food, Hospitality, Conferences
Sodexho
Donald Gordon Centre
Conference ServicesServing, meal prep and cleanup in residences & retail cafeterias around campus; part-time during academic year.
Servers for dining and banquet areas; kitchen and desk staff. Advertised at end of academic year.
Support positions. Apply by Feb for full-time summer work: Casual hires all year.Physical Plant ServicesBooth operators, snow shovelling, grounds maintenance, custodians
Some part-time during academic year; some full-time in summerInformation and Visitors’ CentreHouse Manager positions: part-time. Occasional summer positions through Work-Study.International CentreA variety of part-time work available at different times of the year.Libraries
Stauffer Circulation Desk—“Job” handoutPart-time positions in circulation and shelving. Apply separately to each library of interest.Orientation
Faculty of Arts and ScienceStudent Orientation to Academe & Registration (SOAR) in July and Aug. For Arts and Science students only. Apply through SWEP. Research
Contact appropriate departmentsPositions may be available as professors are awarded grants (March and April)Residences
Residence Life Office, Victoria HallFloor Seniors, Dons; summer desk clerks; cleaning staff.SecuritySecurity patrol
Hire Feb. or March for next academic year; some summer jobs.Summer Camps at Queen’s
Contact individual sponsor groups:
ASUS, Engineering, School of PHE, Concurrent Ed Students’ AssociationExamples: Arts Adventure; Queen’s Sports Camps; Science Discovery

—Source: careers.queensu.ca

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