Searching for a summer job or finding the perfect career after graduation can take the joy out of spring. No one wants to end up unemployed or having to avoid OSAP debt collectors. The current economic crisis is disheartening as students look for entry-level positions while hearing about skilled workers getting laid off. The cumulative effect leads many to think it would be easier to drop out of university and live by Walden Pond rather than find work.  However, thanks to the UTM Career Centres new campaign, entitled Jump-Start Your Job Search, students can still harbour some hope in finding a job.

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We want students to know that even though they hear the news out there about the recession that there are still opportunities, says Monica Scott, career outreach consultant. And thats what our underlying message is. Jobs are still available; people still get hired during recessionary times.   The campaign features informative workshops aimed at developing valuable skills in finding and keeping jobs. One workshop, designed for science students, was held on March 19. Jump-Start workshops for business and arts fields will be held March 25 and 26 respectively.

When asked what techniques the workshops will cover, Scott replied, Well be talking about networking — whos in your network, how to form a network , and a tool we call the thirty-second business introduction, in addition to the obvious stuff like the basics of conducting an active job search.

Science students who missed the previous lesson will still be able to attend and learn from the other workshops. As Scott puts it, Everyone needs the thirty-second introduction. Everyone needs to network. While the workshops are divided by educational streams, the topics they cover are only slightly modified to assist students in each streams.

Students who attend these workshops, or similar ones held during the Grad-Blitz, will be invited to join a Facebook group to continue developing their skills. Members of the group will be able to view links to helpful websites and other resources updated weekly, and share in discussions of the trials and tribulations of job hunting. Students are also able to book follow-up appointments with career counsellors or employment advisors. Adrian Berg, assistant director of employer relations and marketing, says that he wants people to not only come to the workshops but to also be active with the follow-up activities. Job searching is an ongoing activity, points out Berg.

Aside from the Jump-Start campaign, the Career Centres regular services such as resume critiques and cover-letter workshops are still offered and remain a valuable part of job searching. The centre also offers other services, such as the chance for students to meet with UTM graduates from various programs. In January, the Career Centre launched the Alumni Career Connections Program. Meeting with UTM alumni, students can learn what jobs their chosen fields of study may lead to, what qualities a particular job may require, or what non-academic skills are important to develop to succeed in the job market. Berg informs that approximately seventy UTM alumni are currently engaged in the program, with more expected to join.

Even with the large amount of information offered to students, it remains essential to work hard at finding employment. Very few people are lucky and get jobs that land in their lap, Scott says. By and large people have to get out there. A key element of acquiring jobs remains advertising yourself.

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