Campus Blog: Standing out gets you in

By Miran Popovic

Business Analyst, Consulting

Many who graduate in today’s economy are shocked by how difficult it is to secure a full-time job. Having a relevant degree is only a small piece of the employment puzzle. In most cases, a degree is simply used as an initial screening device to filter out resumés. It is important to have some experience with transferable skills so the employer makes the logical connection between you and the job that is being offered.

Whether you are on the cusp of completing your undergrad or are looking for some part-time/summer work, these tips may make your job hunt less daunting.

  1. Positive attitude: Looking for a job is all about having the right frame of mind. Assume a positive attitude and have confidence that after it’s all said and done, you will be employed. Negativity will not get you far.
  2. Networking: Knowing the right people and making yourself visible to the labour market will often have an immense impact on your chances of getting hired. Be aware of upcoming networking events and attend as many as you can to establish contacts and relationships.
  3. Don’t wait for a particular position: If you don’t have experience, you may have to accept positions that are not your first choice. This applies equally to both summer and full-time employment. The more positions you apply for, the higher your chances are of landing a job. Only filter out the jobs where you won’t gain meaningful experience. Always ask yourself: “Will this job help further my career? Can I extract transferrable skills from this opportunity?”
  4. University employment resources: It’s important to take advantage of the resources your university offers. Career counsellors can give guidance on how to land your dream job or help with resumé building and interview preparation. Utilizing these resources greatly increases your chances of finding employment within the hidden job market and provides you with the know-how on how to be successful.

If your university has a co-operative education program, which is essentially a work-study program, I highly advise that you participate. If you are not enrolled in a co-op program, use the four months of summer vacation to land a job with the federal government through their Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP), or find a job related to your field on your own.

At the end of the day, relevant experience is just as, if not more important than your diploma. Differentiate yourself: put in the time and effort outside of an academic setting and you will truly stand out from competition.


Miran graduated from the University of Ottawa. He majored in Human Resources Management and is a Business Analyst for our Human Capital Consulting Practice in Ottawa.

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