This Career Expert Reveals Five Steps To Getting Students A Job

Not being able to find a job after graduation is many students’ worst fear. That’s why it’s important to get as much preparation as you can while you’re still in school—and learn from experts who’ve been there and who can share their best advice.

To help you out, we connected with Lauren Shanahan, Director of Career Services at Rotman Commerce. She reveals the five-step process that helped 89% of Rotman Commerce’s graduating students secure employment for two years in a row.

Step #1: Know Yourself

Knowing what makes you unique can kickstart your career preparation because it makes it easier to understand how others see you and how you see yourself.

“Knowing what you love and what motivates you is critical in finding your right path,” said Lauren. “Developing hard skills are important, but self-awareness allows you to build on your strengths and be aware of your shortcomings so you can plan to succeed despite any challenge you face.”

Knowing your strengths, weaknesses, work style, and more helps you work more effectively alone and with others. It also means gaining clarity on your career direction, as connecting personal interests with professional helps create a theme in your personal brand.

That’s what Mouhib Nourallah, a former BCom student at Rotman Commerce, did. He made a conscious decision to explore careers that would tap into his analytical and problem-solving side by spending time in Rotman’s Finance Lab. Now, being part of BMO Capital Markets, he credits his early awareness of his interests for giving him a longer runway to explore his career plans.

“If you start early enough, time is on your side and the chances of landing the job you seek are significantly higher,” he said.

Step #2: Explore

One of the most valuable things that you can do for your career is getting involved with student life on campus. This will help you determine where your interests and skills lie before you dive headfirst into career planning.

“There are endless opportunities for you to cultivate your curiosity,” said Lauren. “From student groups to alumni panels and information sessions, getting involved in extracurricular activities outside of your studies will help you graduate with a well-rounded education and ultimately a fulfilling career.”

It’s also important to spend time doing some research—first into potential jobs, and then into potential industries. You might discover careers that you hadn’t even realized existed! Plus, the more you know about your target industry, the easier it’ll be to tailor your resumé to their requirements and gain the skills you need before applying.

Step #3: Market Yourself

Now that you know your interests and what you’d be suited for, it’s time to ensure your resumé and cover letter are up to par—and specifically tailored to the job you want. (Recruiters can sense unoriginality a mile away.)

Next, you’ll want to create a professional online presence. (No more party pics on Facebook, sorry!) You can use everything you learned about your personal brand in step #1 to create an accurate representation of your interests in a professional setting.

This isn’t just crucial before the interview, though. Once you’re meeting with potential employers, it’s more important than ever to keep your professional image in mind. This includes dressing the part and coming to the interview prepared.

“The most important thing to keep in mind during an interview is that the interviewer is looking to hear your life’s most impactful stories, or you at your highest potential,” said Lauren. “The best way to prepare for a discussion of this nature is to think of the three to five most important things that you have achieved in your life. There are very few behavioural interview questions that won’t touch on these stories in some way.”

Step #4: Network

The more introverted amongst us might shudder at the word, but the fact remains that networking is one of the most effective ways to land the job of your dreams.

“In the modern world, up to eighty percent of available jobs are not publicly posted,” said Lauren. “Networking is not simply another tool for career advancement—it is a necessity, a crucial strategy for obtaining a good job.”

To start warming up your pitch technique, you can attend career fairs around your university or your town to start warming up your pitch technique. You can also discuss it with friends and family. You’d be surprised just how much people are willing to help in your job search, and you never know what kind of connections they’ll have.

“Time and time again, we hear stories about how a quick chat at an event led to a one-on-one meeting, which then led to a great full-time position,” said Lauren.

Step #5: Take Action

Now that you know what you’re interested in and are prepared on every front, it’s time to start reaching out to the employers of your dreams (if you haven’t already found a position through networking, that is!).

To get started, check out the job posting boards with positions tailored to new grads offered by many universities. On-campus recruitment events can also be a great chance to get your foot in the door and get face time with potential employers.

That’s what happened to Anjeli Kruytbosch. During her second year at Rotman Commerce, she began to explore her career options by networking and making meaningful connections outside the classroom. This allowed Anjeli to obtain a significant internship, which has now led to a full-time role at PepsiCo.

“Everything that I had learned was applied and valued in that internship,” says Anjeli. “It was validating and gave me a lot of confidence.”

To succeed in your job search, whether you’re still in school or are entering the workforce, it’s important to be prepared. Following these steps and making use of the career preparation tools that your school offers is key to landing the best job after graduation or over the summer. Happy job hunting!

Tatiana Morand

Tatiana is Head of Content at CampusRankings. You can usually find her drinking coffee and exploring the streets of Toronto.