Student jobs : Don’t let opportunities slip through your fingers

Student jobs — It’s common at the start of each school year to see groups of new students timidly asking older ones about available jobs and their work experiences. When speaking to a library clerk, they get passionate and excited about the idea of working within their university. On the other hand, the faces of the young students fall when they hear horrible stories about production work or snow shovelling. Don’t panic! Take the time to organize your research, keep your eyes open and opportunities will soon come your way.


Start your search as soon as possible. Try to be one of the first to present yourself to the campus career centres, since the best jobs are usually on campus. Try to get a scholarship or assistance through your institution – you will then be given priority for getting a job. Universities hire clerks for their computer stores and libraries, invigilators for exams, campus guides. Each sports event needs referees, ticket sellers, security agents. Student associations operate exclusively with student jobs. These jobs on campus are the most popular since they are tailored for students. Wages are often higher than the provincial minimum and all sorts of employee profiles are sought.


If you haven’t found something in the university, you can search elsewhere for a job that pays quite well and, if possible, that you like. The best is, of course, to find something in your field. Literature students, for example, will apply to bookstores as their first choice. Few employers will turn down this skilled manpower and schedules are quite flexible. Student lawyers and accountants learn their trade progessively, both in class and in the office. Any experience in business is valuable, to be taken as much as possible.


Make good use of your advisers and contacts at the university and read the specialized press. Another indispensable tool is the internet. Large companies and chains are relying more and more on their online recruitment services – even the Careers section can be a rewarding place for student jobs. Some banks hire large numbers of students in this way: candidates register their profile and CV and are then directed to positions as customer representatives or in other departments. Don’t overlook the job boards. There are myriads and each has its own specialty.

The demand far exceeds the supply, so it’s important not to give up, perseverance is the watchword. Temporary employment agencies can also offer work, but beware of their requirements. Otherwise, on government sites such as that of Human Resources and Social Development Canada ( or Service Canada (here and here) students can apply for jobs that are exclusively reserved for them. For example, the federal government each summer sets up Federal Student Work Experience Programs (FSWEP) that lets beneficiaries gain experience in the public service. Parks Canada is another source of interesting jobs, but often only in summer.

The weeks before school restarts are worthwhile. Beat the crowd, explore your neighbourhood, watch for offers on the windows of stores and restaurants. Don’t wait to choose your courses but get started, it’s first come first served. network