4 ways to get a job that don’t involve the internet
Guest post by Lauren Frost
When’s the last time you looked at a physical job board (like, the kind with thumbtacks)? If you’re like me, the answer is probably “Do those even exist anymore?”
As a proud member of Gen Z, I have had access to the magic of the internet for my entire life. This has resulted in a lot of classic coming-of-age tasks being ten times easier for me than they were when my parents had to do them.
Questions you don’t want to ask your parents? Time to read through online teen blogs. Not sure where to go to school or what to study? A few Google searches should sort that out. Don’t understand your homework? Khan Academy’s got your back. The things you can do on the internet are pretty much infinite, and among them is something particularly relevant for young people at the start of their careers: searching for work.
But, just because you can, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. While there are a ton of benefits to online job searching, it’s also important to become comfortable with other methods of finding work, especially since studies show that as many as 85% of jobs are filled through prior connections and networking, and almost as many are not even posted before being filled. In other words, it might be time to take your job search offline. Here are 4 things you can do to get started:
1. Connect with employers at a panel or networking event
I said it before, but it’s probably worth repeating here: 85% of jobs are filled through networking. That’s a lot of jobs. And a lot of networking. Sound exhausting? Well, it actually doesn’t have to be.
Networking events are events that you can attend to meet professionals in a particular industry, ask questions, and talk to potential employers and other job-seekers about your skills and experience. You don’t need to be a pro-networker to get something out an event like this—you just have to be willing to chat.
If talking to potential employers feels intimidating, you’re not alone! Luckily, UVic hosts a series of panels that are really great, easy introductions to networking. The What Can You Do With Your Degree? career exploration panels are a great opportunity to hear from industry experts about career options in specific industries—and how they broke into their sectors. They are also great if you’re new to networking in a formal environment—you can listen to the panelists answer moderated questions for the first hour, and then, if you want to connect on a personal level, you can stay afterwards to talk to them one-on-one!
The next panel, focusing on working for the federal government, is coming up on Wednesday, November 27 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. in MacLaurin A144. There will be more panels in the spring covering different topics and career areas, so be sure to check out the event website to stay updated!
As a theatre student, I’ve had several opportunities to network with industry professionals at panels, and they have always been friendly and willing to talk to me. As I apply for opportunities in the theatre industry, it is super helpful to have a previous conversation to mention (“Hi Sally! We chatted at a networking event last spring at UVic and you really inspired me to submit my script to your theatre company”) or a mutual connection to break the ice with (“Nice to meet you, Sally. I actually met Franklin at a networking event last spring and he mentioned that he used to work here. Do you know him?”)
You can also network at other types of events, including career fairs (see below), employer info sessions, and pretty much anywhere where people who work in your field of interest can be found. If you’re nervous, connect with a career educator — they’ll be more than happy to help you prepare.
2. Set up an informational interview with potential employers
If you’re already starting to get a feel for what kinds of companies you might want to work for, setting up an informational interview is a good way to learn more about how to break into your industry of choice while simultaneously networking with a potential employer and/or mentor.
An informational interview, in short, is an interview with an industry professional, conducted by someone who is hoping to work in that industry. For a great breakdown of what an informational interview is and how to set one up, check out this excellent 5 step guide.
While the point of an informational interview isn’t to ask for a job, it can be a great way to get to know what employers in your field are looking for in an employee. Plus, you’ll position yourself as an eager, ambitious, and confident candidate, should you ever apply for a job with the person you interviewed.
3. Meet with a co-op coordinator or career educator
Doing anything as a university student is pretty much impossible without help. We need professors to help us learn, counsellors to help us maintain our mental health, librarians to help us conduct research, and the list goes on. One of the resources on this list that often gets overlooked by students is access to people who can help us build our careers.
All UVic students and alumni have access to UVic Career Services for life. Yep, you heard me. For life. Never heard of Career Services? Well, you should definitely look into what they offer, because it’s free career help from professionals!
Meeting with a career educator could be a huge help to you whether you’re unsure of what you want to do, are actively searching for work, have questions about negotiating a job offer, or anything else career-related. Find out who your career educator is and book an appointment to chat about your goals and how they can help you achieve them.
If you’re a co-op student, you also have access to a co-op coordinator within your program who is there to help you succeed. You can set up appointments with them for anything from specific advice on résumés, cover letters, interviews, etc. to more broad questions (e.g. “how do I search for work when I don’t even know what I want to do?”). My co-op coordinator (the wonderful Allison Benner) has been with me at every step of my crazy career journey (and the odd identity crisis), so don’t be shy to reach out to yours! They are there to help.
4. Stop by a career fair
Did you know you can often apply for jobs at career fair info booths? Employers at career fairs are usually not there to simply hand out informational pamphlets and swag; they are taking time out of their schedules because they want to find people who might fit the positions they’re hiring for.
So, if you’re looking for work, going to a career fair with employers relevant to your interests, education, and experience can be a great use of your time! You can bring copies of your résumé to hand out to multiple employers in one room who are looking for someone with your skill-set. Plus, even if you’re not looking for work right now, you could make a connection to follow up on when you are!
There are a ton of local career fairs that happen in the Victoria area. UVic hosts a few of its own, including the Hi-Tech Co-op & Career Fair (happening February 4 and 5, 2020) and the upcoming federal government fair on February 6.
More career help:
While it will definitely benefit you to start looking for work offline, there are also a ton of resources available online. You can check out the Career Services website for advice on job searching, applying for jobs, building your skills, and succeeding at work. Also, be sure to look at the Co-op & Career events schedule for info on when and where you can attend career fairs, info sessions, networking events, and more.