Continuing Education + Job Training // Publishing since 1999

Firstyear FREDA

By ANDREW OLIVER - September 17 2018

Dear Elcee:

I am moving to Toronto to attend college.  I am going to have to work part-time to supplement my OSAP and savings.  I am 19 and my prior work experience has been primarily babysitting and working in fast-food. Do you have any hints or tips for finding work in the big city?

Firstyear FREDA


Welcome to Toronto!  It is one of the best cities in the world.  I remember those days of going to school and having to find part-time work.  Throughout my college days I remember doing this every September and May as I would go back and forth to College. Here are a few tips;

1. Focus your job search close to your home or school.  School and work is a difficult balance.  You don’t want to be adding massive travel time to this mix. 

2. Make sure your resume is current and has your most recent contact information.  You would be surprised how often people don’t check to make sure their phone number is their current one.

3. Obvious choices are Retail, Fast Food and Service.  There are pro’s and con’s to both.  While retail may be more abundant and have flexible hours it may not be close to your home.  Retail is also minimum wage and you may be bound by the limited hours and the temptation to shop there.   You have previous work experience in Fast Food so that may be your best bet but the downside can be later hours and it can take a physical toll.  The service industry, primarily waitering offers flexible hours and extra money (tips) but late hours and is also physically tiring.

4. Check out your on-campus jobs office.  Most campus’ offer a space for job searching and staff to help you find work.  Some of this work can be right on campus and can be administrative.  I worked at my university library and in one of their offices.  I know people who started working part-time for their college campus and are still working there today.

5. Use social media to let people know you are looking.  Have a look through your Facebook and Instagram.  Ensure that these accounts are “appropriate” for any future employer to have a look through.  It sometimes happens that people will lose job offers because the person they represent in their cover letter and resume is not the person they see on Facebook. Also don’t forget to subscribe to the usual job search feeds such as

6. Think outside the box; thanks to having done volunteer work as a teen and having my CPR / First Aid I worked in the non-profit sector in group homes and shelters throughout College.  You don’t always get the pick of shifts initially and I did a lot of overnight awake shifts but I also got to catch up on school reading and BONUS … spent a lot of Saturdays taking my clients to bowling and movies.

Working during college may be difficult but will definitely give you an edge upon graduation.  The people you meet during your school years will also be your future references and mentors.  Treat every job as though this is your dream job .  Apply the same work ethic to a minimum wage job as you would to your future job as a CEO! Good luck.

Dear ELCEE is written by Deborah Noel,
Send her your questions.

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