Finding a summer or entry level job in the 2009 recession

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I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately on the state of campus/student/new-grad recruitment in Canada (surprise), and have a lot of opinions (bigger surprise).

But the thing that’s mostly been on my mind these days is the situation for students and new-grads looking for summer work or their first job after graduation in the face of the current economy.

On a day to day basis, our team is in touch with 10s of employers across the country, educating them about what we do and getting new employers involved. And to be completely honest, lately we’ve been hearing a lot of “we’re on a hiring freeze” or even “we’ve cut our internship program for the year”.

So how can I sit here and tell my team…tell students…tell journalists…that I don’t think 2009 grads, or students looking for jobs for this summer, should be worried?

Well, because I truly don’t believe they should be.

Don’t get me wrong…Things are different this year. If you’re a student looking for an internship or entry-level job in finance, yes, there are fewer jobs for you to compete for. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t great opportunities out there. So, to you 2009 grads reading this, here’s what I really think:

  1. Good employers are still hiring. Take a look on the TalentEgg site- there are over a hundred great Canadian employers who are hiring interns and at the entry-level. And if they’re not hiring today, they’ll be hiring soon. These employers have invested in creating a presence on this site for you. Take a hint- they want you! Be proactive, build a network with access to these employers. Don’t sit and wait for that perfect opportunity to show up.
  2. Don’t forget about the baby-boomers. Yes, the economy is taking a beating and employers are being cautious…But they can’t be too cautious or else they’ll face a big, gaping hole within 5 years. Use this knowledge to your advantage. Be confident.
  3. Encouragement to search beyond traditional boundaries is a good thing. Let’s look at finance again. Have a finance degree and can’t get a job at a top bank this year? Consider going smaller. It might be a great opportunity to get involved with an emerging fund manager who’s gone out on her/his own in order to take advantage of all the bargains in the stock market..
  4. Volunteering is a great way to figure out what you really want to do. Following from all the previous points- volunteering or interning in a field you think you might be interested in might actually be a better investment of time than taking a job just because it’s available. The current economy might force you into a situation like this, and I think that’s great. Figuring out what you really want to do now will have enormous pay-offs in the future. And PS I’m talking about volunteering/interning in the workforce, in a specific field, not going to grad school (which is a whole other topic) or randomly volunteering your time.

I look forward to seeing how the next few months un-fold, and would very much welcome feedback from any students reading this who are having trouble and especially those who are having no trouble at all! E-mail us anytime!

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About the author

Lauren Friese is the founder of TalentEgg.ca. She graduated from Queen's University in 2005 with a degree in economics and had no idea how to make a successful transition into the workforce. She ended up at the LSE in London, England, and after earning an MSc in economic history, used Milkround.com – a British graduate recruitment website – to find a great entry-level role in consulting in London. She thought Milkround was fantastic, and that it was a service sorely lacking in Canada. And so the idea for TalentEgg was hatched!