It's never too early
Tips for students on the job-hunting trail
Yellowknife (May 01/00) - Any student out there who thinks it's too early to be hunting around for a summer job should think again -- the territorial government has already received more than 85 resumes from students hoping to find work there.
College student Mandy Wilson of Fort Simpson offered another tip: "Don't limit yourself to one or two jobs. Give your resume to everybody. You never know, you might find something really interesting."
Wilson is one of the lucky ones. As a high school student she snagged an office job with the Department of Transportation and was rehired the next three summers.
That job, if it still exists, is open this year because Wilson will be working in Calgary, "for a change of scenery."
Tannis Gordon of Inuvik will be attending the same school as Wilson -- Mount Royal College in Calgary -- starting this fall.
She graduated from Samuel Hearne secondary school in January and has been working for a food company since then. But she's on the hunt for a job that will give her some more money for school.
Gordon said the biggest job-hunting hurdle she has to clear is breaking the ice with prospective employers.
"Introducing myself (is the hardest part)," said Gordon, admitting she is shy. "But I just do it, I say, 'My name is Tannis and I'm looking for a job.'"
Gordon said she's going to be sending her resume around town and following up on a lead on a government job.
In the North, of course, government is the main employer.
The territorial government has identified 221 summer positions that may be filled by students. The GNWT's Student Summer Employment program begins today and runs until Aug. 31. The program helps link students with government jobs for the summer.
"(The program) provides a central place for students to drop off their resumes, and as departments need employees we pull their resumes off the database," said organizer Leslie Gislason.
"Get your resume into the employment office in your region as soon as you can. You can deliver it personally or fax or email it in," she said.
The government's affirmative action policy applies to student summer hiring, so aboriginal, female, disabled and long-term Northern candidates will be given priority.
The federal government has a similar program to match students with federal jobs. It's called the Federal Student Work Experience Program.
Students can fill out a form online at http://jobs.gc.ca, detailing their qualifications, the kind of work they are looking for and where they are willing to work. The forms are entered into a central database.
"It's difficult to find a student sometimes," said Nicole Jobin of the Public Service Commission. "They just don't apply."
In addition to offering jobs, the territorial government also offers incentive to private businesses to offer jobs.
Its Working Together program offers a $5 per hour wage subsidy to public employers (like hamlets) and private employers hiring students and youth. For jobs with non-profit organizations, the government will subsidize 90 per cent of minimum wage and benefits for student and youth hires.
"A total of 500 students and youth were employed under this (last year)," said Education, Culture and Employment Minister Jake Ootes. "That's been about the average each year."
Career centres set up in Yellowknife, Inuvik, Norman Wells, Hay River and Fort Smith help administer the program.
"Students can go there and get help in a number of areas, like resume writing, and they can do a job search," said Ootes.
Ootes said students or youth looking for jobs with a particular organization should inform those doing the hiring for it of the Working Together Program -- not all employers are aware of the subsidies they are eligible for.