I know what you’re thinking – it’s only mid-January and we should be putting all our efforts into focusing on the winter semester. However, being a young adult in such a competitive age means that one can never stop thinking months ahead of the present. For an undergraduate student, that means thinking about applying for internships and summer jobs months ahead of the beginning of summer.
But what happens when you’re competing with a hundred other undergraduate students for the same job? Moreover, what happens when you add another hundred graduate students to the mix? It can certainly be stressful and demoralizing having to apply for so many jobs – especially when you’ve been given that fateful rejection letter more than once.
So how can you keep those spirits up and still land a great summer internship or job? Here’s how I’ve done it in the past (though, disclaimer – this process didn’t necessarily go without a few shed tears and a little bit of moping around):
Use the resources that the University of Toronto provides for us. This means going on the Career Learning Network (CLN,) as well as looking into international research and internship projects posted on the Centre for International Experience (CIE.) On these websites, there are such a wide array of jobs and internships that you are bound to find one that suits you. Furthermore, you can narrow them down to find something that better fits your needs – whether you want something on campus, close to your home, or with flexible hours.
If you’re taking summer classes, look into work-study programs. Also posted on the CLN are various work-study programs where you can become research assistants in your field, or simply gain some experience doing tasks related to your program. These work-study programs are especially reasonable and considerate to your class schedules, and allow for a maximum of 12 hours worked per week – meaning that you’ll still have time to study, go to class, and enjoy your summer.
Don’t be afraid to step outside of your boundaries. The lot of you will be aiming towards a particular goal – whether its higher education or a particular job. However, limiting yourself to the few jobs that are directly related to these goals will make your job search much harder. Rather, look at how each job posted can add to your skill set that will help in the future on a larger scale. (This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still try to aim for the summer job or internship you want!)
Most importantly, find a job or internship that you know you’ll enjoy. Working four months at a job that you grow to despise isn’t going to do anything for you academically or professionally. The ultimate goal of getting a summer position is for you to learn and develop your skills that will help in the future – so find something you enjoy doing, do it well, and apply those skills to your next steps.
Finding these summer jobs are a difficult and meandering road – but absolutely worth it. So work on those résumés and cover letters, open up those job boards, set goals for yourself, and get cracking! Good luck on your job searches, PCJ!