Guide to employer desires
By Mark Brown
Many students are at a loss when looking for a job because they do not have a good understanding of the job market or know what potential employers are looking for.
This is Kevin Makra's reason for creating the latest edition of The Canada Student Employment Guide. The guide profiles over 800 companies across Canada and is designed to give students better opportunities in the job market by putting them on the same wavelength as employers.
Makra, founder of the Student Employment Network, which has published the annual employment guide for the past four years, said "there is a large communication gap between what companies look for and what students expect from the job market."
Employers look for someone who is generally interested in the company or field and students can use the guide to help convey their interest in a company and prepare themselves for interviews.
"You have to think of yourself as a salesperson, you have to sell yourself," Makra said. Make your strengths known to the employer since they do not want to have to look for this information, he added.
The guide categorizes companies by industry and academic field which is very useful to students, said Western Resource Centre coordinator Marie Murphy. It identifies employers in the region and outlines what specific skills and academic fields a company is seeking.
"Research as many companies as possible to get a good sense of what the company has to offer and what they are looking for so that the match is going to be beneficial to both [the job seeker and the employer]," said Murphy.
The feedback Murphy has received about the guide has been positive so far and therefore the resource has been very popular with students, she said.
Makra added some of the other features of the guide include salary information, preferred method of correspondence, company benefits, what types of jobs are available and what time of the year is best to apply for these positions.
"Look for non-traditional opportunities; it will put you that much ahead in the game," Makra advised, noting every company has an accounting department.
Sharon Lee, employment services coordinator at the Student Development Centre, said there are several similar books already out there. "Everyone has a gimmick."
Lee suggested students should determine if the publisher of the book has had any past publications to determine if they are credible and if the book offers anything new. Students should begin looking for jobs early because there is usually a scramble for employment after graduation, she added.
The guide can be viewed in the Student Development Centre and will soon be available in the Western bookstore for $24.95.