As students search for ways to make ends meet for the new school year, the Ryerson Career Centre is trying to help.
The centre last week organized the annual part-time jobs career fair that was aimed at helping students trying to gain work experience and earn some income at the same time.
“We do (the career fair) because financially, obviously, part-time jobs are going to help university students who have a lot of bills to pay,” said Rachel Barreca, the Career Centre’s lead campus engagement consultant.
“But it’s important that students start to get work experience as early as possible in their university degree so that at the point they graduate, they have a resumé that’s full of transferable skills and sector-based skills.”
About 35 prospective employers representing different industries and sectors — from retail to government services — participated in the event, ready with onsite interviews.
Students at the jobs fair said they were interested in gaining work experience. Quite a few added that they needed to earn extra money to pay for school fees, though they said adding to their resumés was their main priority.
Abegail Uyaan, an accounting and finance student, was one of the attendees hoping to take her first steps into the world of employment.
“I’m looking for opportunities in first-time job experience, trying to use this opportunity for that — just to get something on the resumé,” she said.
Engineering student Zaid Koreishi said he was looking for a part-time job on campus to maximize his hours in school.
“Since my hours are very long, I just want to work on campus and study at the same time,” he said.
From the Career Centre’s perspective, it’s important for students to adapt to managing their time differently when they find part-time jobs during the school year.
“In terms of balancing a part-time job with school, it is important to have good time management skills,” Barecca said. “You need to know what your top priority is and schedule everything around that.”
Students came to the fair prepared with resumés, but many prospective employers also provided online application forms. The Career Centre also worked with Rich Tree for an onsite resumé clinic and LinkedIn for an onsite photo booth.
Sheran Vasudevan, an engineering student looking for opportunities to earn money between classes, said the face-to-face encounters with employers were invaluable.
“It’s nice we have a job fair because when you apply online there’s no direct contact, but when you speak with the people you get to know the hours, the pay,” he said.
Close to 2,000 students attended the jobs fair this year, according to Career Centre estimates. Aside from organizing jobs fairs, some of which are specific to programs available at the university, the Career Centre also offers other jobs-related services like practicing for interviews.