You probably heard that one of the casualties of the 7 March provincial budget was the Summer Temporary Employment Program (STEP). STEP was a wage subsidy program not-for-profit organizations (e.g. charities, community leagues, government departments, universities and colleges) could apply to for funding to hire a student for the summer. All of the summer jobs I held while I was going to university were STEP-funded save one. As a matter of fact, I credit the last summer job I held as playing a significant role in how I ended up working at CAPS. That job was to organize a resource library for staff in the employee relations branch of the social services department. Near the end of the summer I heard that CAPS was looking for a career resources coordinator so I applied. While I was successful in getting an interview - in large part because of the experience I gained throughout the summer - I didn’t get the job. But a couple of weeks later, the director of CAPS called to offer me a different position. That was almost 25 years ago and, of course, I have never left. I often wonder where I would be today if I hadn’t gotten that interview.
So I was disappointed to hear about the cancellation of the STEP program this summer not only because I personally benefited from it but also because of my role as the director of CAPS. I really value programs like STEP that help to create employment for students, and all the staff at CAPS get concerned when we hear news that negatively impacts students’ job prospects. So I thought the least I can do is provide you with some advice on looking for summer work.
First, did you know CAPS works with many employers who post jobs with us, including summer jobs? And if you haven’t heard, we recently launched a new online job bank. You no longer have to be at a computer to access our job postings. You can now search for and view jobs anytime, anywhere from your mobile device. And that’s just one of the new features. I just checked our online job bank and we currently have 50 summer job postings. Something you should be aware of is that a single job posting does not necessarily equal a single job as many postings include multiple vacancies. For example, the job title of one of our current summer job postings is 'Environmental Educator/Natural Interpreter.' It is with the U of A’s Devonian Botanic Garden. They have nine openings.
Second, be proactive in your work search. Don’t rely on job postings or other job advertisements. If there is an organization you are interested in working with for the summer, contact them directly. Let them know the type of work you are interested in and what you have to offer. Also make sure friends, family – everyone you know – are aware you are looking for a summer job. In other words, network, network, network! The more eyes and ears you have open for you, the more likely you’ll hear about opportunities, whether they are advertised or not.
And my last bit of advice is to make sure you are prepared to apply and interview for opportunities that present themselves. While I don’t want to make this blog post one big advertisement for CAPS, I do want you to be aware that we have a number of services and resources on resume writing and job interviews. For example, you can book an appointment with one of our career advisors to have your resume critiqued and to practice your interview skills. We also offer a free lunchtime seminar on looking for summer work coming up on Monday, 25 March from 12:05 to 12:55 p.m. in the CCIS Career Centre. Dont' miss it!