On the job hunt

Difficulties and anxieties surround students looking for work

In a perfect world, post-exam season should leave students rehabilitating. Instead, we’re swapping essays for resumes, lectures for interviews and school for an office. 

Last summer, I began searching around for entry-level or summer job. I applied to various positions in Toronto; from serving, to writing, to consulting. I was willing to take anything. 

A hundred resumes and eight interviews later, I finally received word about an internship. The day of my interview arrived and to my surprise, I was held prisoner in my car by Toronto traffic for nearly two hours, and missed my interview. 

I was heartbroken. There was no rescheduling or further exchange of emails. I just about had it with the job hunt, and came to terms with living in my parents’ basement for the rest of my life — single and unemployed. 

Shortly after my meltdown, I received an email for another internship opportunity.

Eager as ever, I replied to the email to confirm. The date of my interview arrived, and I jumped on the subway, crossing my fingers that the TTC wouldn’t hold me prisoner again. I guess the first interview went well because I was immediately called back for another.

Now more than ever, people of previous generations are competing for the same entry-level job or internship. 

I know when I write this, I’m not alone.

Joel Foss, Comm ’18, went through a similar experience. As his first year began wrapping up in February he began looking for work, but he didn’t hear back until April. 

“It’s frustrating,” Foss said. “I went on so many businesses’ websites and had to create profiles and upload pictures. They said someone would give me feedback and they never did.”  

After slaving away at the job hunt for several months, Foss landed two part-time jobs — as a customer service rep at TD Canada Trust Bank and as a researcher for The Kitchener Rangers. 

“I am really lucky to have these jobs,” said Foss. “I love interacting with people. TD lets me do that, while the Rangers allow me to apply the stuff I learn in school.” 

Foss emphasized that networking is important in the process of finding a job or internship. He suggested starting at home by talking to friends and family about potential opportunities. It could give you a leg-up in the stiff competition of the job market, he said.

Liz Furl, a writer and web designer, says the job hunt is difficult — better yet, extremely difficult. 

Furl is a co-host for the podcast Getting There, the founder of Real Talk Magazine, a freelance writer at the Elite Daily and a web designer.

While she now has a laundry list of experience under her belt, in the past, Furl also faced the cruelties of the competitive job market. 

“I spent a year sending out resumes and cover letters while I was interning at Open Letter, and it took that year to find someone willing to hire me,” she said. “You have to keep pushing. Even one application a day is progress.”

There’s no harm in trying. After all, you have nothing to lose, but everything to gain.

“There’s so much emphasis placed on internships, especially what you learned from them,” she continued. “You can’t just show up and do what they tell you; you have to take initiative and ask to learn a skill, or take on a project. Those are the things that will really count in an interview.” 

I couldn’t agree more. When searching for a job, it’s important to assert oneself. If success means applying to numerous jobs, printing thousands of resumes or paying a personal visit to the employer, then we should do it. 

After bonding over our shared experiences with the job market, Furl concluded by offering me some comforting words. 

“Everyone’s journey is different, and I can only say that we share the same fundamental struggles.”  

The job hunt is difficult and time consuming — like chasing an old high school crush. The hunt, whether it be at work or play, doesn’t come easy.

From a server to social media consultant and finally a proud owner of a business, my hard work has finally paid off. 

But that’s not to say it’s smooth sailing from here. I still have hard work ahead of me — thankfully, I’m better prepared for it. 

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