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Jill Eddy

SFU Career Education Specialist

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Be ready and stay positive. Students are facing tough summer job prospects right now, but try to keep your focus on what you can control!

If you’re like many students, your summer work plans may have been derailed by the COVID crisis. One of the most common questions we’re hearing at the career center is, “Are employers still hiring?”. In short - yes and you should keep applying!

Things are tough right now and we are seeing a huge impact on the job market overall. Many industries that students have typically relied on for summer work, such as restaurants, retail and tourism, are experiencing a significant downturn. The situation is also evolving quickly, as new funding is being announced to keep people employed, and there are some companies still hiring and others even growing to meet COVID-related demand. 

Even with all this uncertainty, there are many things you can do to enhance your chances of finding work. A good place to start is to get professional support from SFU’s Career Educators and learn where to look for summer jobs. 

Know Who’s Hiring

There are some great resources out there including this list of BC companies hiring amidst the COVID crisis. You can also discover which Canadian companies are hiring by checking out this LinkedIn list and this database featuring 200+ employers.

There are a small number of industries doing most of the hiring right now, so you’ll want to be where the opportunities are. Keep on top of trends and think creatively about what industries might need people with your skillset. For example, SPUD is a local grocery delivery service that has been hiring workers laid off by the restaurant industry, and they are currently recruiting for Community Care Reps.

Some industries with opportunities include:

  • Bicycle Sales and Services

  • Farming

  • Gardening

  • Grocery Stores

  • Food Delivery Services

  • Health Care

  • Health Products and Nutritional Supplements

  • IT

  • Manufacturing

  • Non-profit Housing

  • Online Collaboration and Meeting Tools

  • Online Fitness

  • Online Retail

  • Pharmacies

  • Security

  • Shipping and Delivery Services

  • Social Media

  • Tutoring and Online Learning

A quick Google search will bring up local organizations in these sectors. Go straight to their websites to search for recent opportunities, which sometimes don’t make it on the big job boards. Even better, if you have any connections in these fields, don’t be afraid to reach out! Remember to leverage LinkedIn where you can. The best way to find jobs will always be through people you know. So many professionals right now are keen to help students find opportunities, and even a volunteer role can lead to something more.

Stay Open to Possibilities

It’s easy to get hung up on searching job boards such as Indeed or Workopolis using the same one or two job titles that you’re comfortable with - but this artificially limits you! Stay more open-minded and you’ll start seeing many more opportunities.

Here’s a trick – don’t specify a job title, try ONLY using search terms such as “internship, contract, part-time, temporary, student jobs, summer jobs, virtual work, remote work” and see what comes up. Using this strategy brings up some great entry-level jobs posted within the past week, such as Marketing Assistant, HR Assistant, Logistics Intern, Tutor, Indigenous Program Assistant and Virtual Office Analytics Administrator. You may want to filter results by jobs posted within the past 1-2 weeks, as these are “warmer” leads.

Consider Stop-Gap Jobs, but Continue to Upskill

If you really need a paying job of any kind, you may want to take the pressure off by thinking of your next role less as your dream job, and more as a “good enough for now job” that can help you ride out this storm. For example, you may be ultimately pursuing a career in User Experience Design (UX). In the meantime, a role as a Customer Experience Agent at Slack (a company currently hiring) could build a solid foundation for understanding consumer behavior. Use any extra time to upskill by taking UX courses on LinkedIn Learning (free for SFU students), and you’ll be ready for your next opportunity.

Check out MyExperience

MyExperience is a great place to find work because it’s where organizations post opportunities specifically for SFU students and alumni. Over the past week there have still been multiple new opportunities daily, including current roles in government, not-for-profit and the private sector.

Look out for Canada Summer Jobs

This federal government program was recently expanded to provide more employment for young people during the COVID crisis. It provides wage subsidies for small businesses, creating 70,000 jobs for youth between 15-30 years old. Students can search for jobs through the Job Bank website and app and many will also be posted on MyExperience and other job sites. Postings are just ramping up, so check back regularly. Since the start dates for many summer jobs will be delayed, placements can start as early as May 11, 2020 and end as late as February 28, 2021.

Be Prepared

Be ready and stay positive. Students are facing tough summer job prospects right now, but try to keep your focus on what you can control! Get your resume reviewed by a professional. Practice virtual interviews. Build connections. We’re here for you.

Beyond the Blog

  • COVID-19 Emotional Support Group for SFU Students 

  • My SSP (Student Support Program) - free, immediate counselling support 24/7 (chat or phone) for SFU students 

  • Wegotchu.ca - one-stop resource to answer common COVID-related questions of young people, including housing, transportation and health 

  • SFU Career & Volunteer Services is booking online and phone appointments for students from Monday to Friday for anything career-related, from work search and future plans, to how to manage uncertainty and make room for hope. Check out our websiteFacebook, and newsletter for helpful resources, articles and postings.

About the Author

Jill Eddy

SFU Career Education Specialist
Connect with Jill on LinkedIn. Jill Eddy is a Career Education Specialist with SFU Career & Volunteer Services. For the past six years, she has also taught an SFU Continuing Studies course on future work trends and job search. She is currently pursuing a Certificate in Social Innovation and is a proud SFU Communication Alumna.
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