Turn this summer’s tough job market into a useful learning experience

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Finding a great summer job takes persistence and hard work. If you’re serious about finding a good job this summer, you’ve probably realized that due to the current economic downturn it’s going to be even more difficult to secure the summer job you’ve been hoping for.

The reality is many companies are unable to fund job positions this summer and students are going to notice the decrease in job opportunities. It will be a challenging summer to secure a position that is related to your area of study.

But don’t consider yourself bankrupt yet. With hard work and creativity you can find a summer job that offers you the chance to build and improve job skills that will be beneficial to you for the rest of your career.

Karen McCargar, associate director of Co-operative Education at Wilfrid Laurier University, said finding a co-op position this summer is very tough and competitive.

“There has been a decrease of offers in all areas. The number of job postings started similarly, but there were more cancellations. There is more competition with not as many job offers.”

Similarly, the University of Waterloo’s Co-operative Education program has “noticed a reduced number of jobs sent in to be posted for the summer work term,” according to Olaf Naese, the communications and public relations administrator for the University of Waterloo’s Co-operative Education and Career Services.

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Although this summer may seem like a bump in the road on the way to your future dream job, don’t dwell on difficult employment prospects. Be creative, stay enthusiastic and you'll find job experiences that will challenge you to build new skills in a variety of work environments.

According to the Monster Employment Index: Canada, which tracks overall online job demand in Canada, online job postings for the fourth quarter of 2008 decreased by 22% from the previous year. The Employment Index found that all Canadian cities tracked showed a decline in the number of job postings.

Online job postings are certainly not the only way to find summer work, but they are a good indication that the number of jobs available to the general public is lower than in previous years.

What if you don’t secure your dream job? You may land yourself one of the most valuable job experiences yet. Employers look for a variety of work experience in a variety of work environments.

I recently met with Sarah Tuite from the international public relations company, NATIONAL, who told me that she looks for applicants with food service industry experience when hiring new grads.

Working in the food service or retail industry means that you will be constantly interacting with customers and other staff members in a fast paced, dynamic environment. Working in the customer service industry shows you can work quickly while under immense pressure. You’ll also gain excellent teamwork and customer service skills.

Although this summer may seem like a bump in the road on the way to your future dream job, don’t dwell on difficult employment prospects. Be creative, stay enthusiastic and you’ll find job experiences that will challenge you to build new skills in a variety of work environments.

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