Innovative job site may help even philosophy grads
Mark Milner, CTV.ca News
Published Monday, April 27, 2009 4:30PM EDT
When Lauren Friese graduated from Queen's with an arts degree in 2005, she didn't know what came next. With no knowledge on how to get a job, she went to the U.K. to attend grad school.
While living in the U.K., Friese discovered local websites designed to help graduating students find employment and realized there was nothing like them in Canada. After she returned to Canada, she founded the career portal website TalentEgg in early 2008.
Of all the advice and tips Friese has, the most important is for graduates to know what they're looking for before they start searching for a job.
"They need to know what they want to do and they need to be a little bit flexible," she told Canada AM on Monday. She explained that being flexible means looking beyond a specific area, looking around for a related position that could lead to what they're interested in and volunteering or taking an unpaid internship in a related field.
"If you know what you want to be in five years, start doing things that will get you there," said Friese.
She also suggested what she calls "job searching outside the lines". It means searching beyond the obvious for the job you want: for instance, somebody interested in finance could consider the financial department of a media company.
Friese also explained how students can make their resume stand out by applying their life experiences to what the job entails.
"Traditional resumes are fantastic if you're midway through your career," said Friese.
However, they won't work for most graduates, since they don't have work experience that's relevant to the career they're looking for. But by applying life experiences, graduates can make the most of their resumes.
"If you were in a band," said Friese, "take those experiences and say 'I organized a tour around Ontario, I ran my own business for a summer' and show how that relates what role you're applying to."
Another piece of advice she offered is that a job interview is more about selling yourself to the employer then it is rehashing what you know. Friese explained a successful interview will show employers how well you'll fit into their work environment and will make them want to hire you.
"It's about saying I have a lot of potential in the work force and my life experiences show I have a lot of potential in the workforce," summarized Friese.
TalentEgg is a career site tailored to giving advice to young workers on how to stand out and find jobs in their career path. Since its launch last year, it has a multitude of companies in its job listings, including Abercrombie and Fitch, CIBC, Molson and Xerox Canada.
Friese explained that to employers, graduates are cheap, moldable and with an aging baby boomer population, able to fill job holes as older employees start to retire.
"The real message, especially in this economy, is that great Canadian employers are still hiring," said Friese. "And great Canadian employers realize that hiring young people... is a really great idea."