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Employment FAQs

 These FAQs are intended as general information and do not replace professional advice. For additional guidance, consult with an consult with an Employment Advisor

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For more helpful resources, check out the downloads section for our own materials and the online resources section for our selection of immediately useful web links.
FAQs 


LOCATING EMPLOYMENT

How soon should I start looking for work? Most successful job seekers start their career exploration and employer research many months before they launch into their job search. For summer employment, you should start looking as early as December. Many of the government work programs start taking applications in January. Private employers begin to post jobs in February and by March it is in full swing. It's never too early to speak with an Employment Advisor to work out a job search strategy. 

Where do I find job postings? The Career Centre does not maintain any "paper" job postings, the only exception being that for a limited time we keep literature from employers who have come on-campus to recruit. When employers call us looking for students and grads (whether full-time, part-time, summer, contract or volunteer work) we direct them to our exclusive job posting site jobs.Sheridan. Once you have registered on these sites, you will have access to thousands of job postings not accessible by the general public. You will also be able to post multiple versions of your resumé, receive email notifications, and take advantage of many other features.

I don't like using computers to find work. Can I talk to someone? You sure can... there is an Employment Advisor on drop-ins most days of the week but one of the things they will tell you is that you better get over your computer phobia or you will be missing out on the vast majority of posted job opportunities. Even if you are planning to get a job through networking, you should still be using the computer to find leads, research companies, and prepare for interviews.

Who’s hiring? There is no one answer to this question. Some ways to find out who is hiring include skimming the careers section of the newspaper, and reading the business section to find out what companies, and industrial sectors, are doing well. The more successful a company is, the more likely they will have opportunities. Similarly, many industrial sectors employ a wide range of occupations so you are likely to find more opportunities in growth sectors. 

Do you have a list of employers I can contact? We don't keep a list of employers for you to cold call as part of a networking approach to job search. However, one of the best ways to locate potential employers is to use directories such as Scotts (via Sheridan library) and those in our online resources section. We do keep historical data as to where Sheridan graduates have found work. This information can be accessed during Employment Advisor drop-in times.

I need a job on campus. Where do I look? Most on-campus jobs within Sheridan are posted on jobs.Sheridan. Many Sheridan departments hire students through a government subsidy program known as "work study". You must be OSAP eligible, although not necessarily on OSAP currently. All of these jobs are listed, and the hiring is taken care of, through the Awards Office on campus. You may also want to check with the Student Union and Food Services Manager (located in the Cafeteria). 




RESUMÉS & COVER LETTERS

How do I get a resumé together? An effective resumé will be relevant and make obvious what you have that the employer needs for a particular position:
  • Start by making a list of your education, work and related experience (field practicums, Co-op, volunteer, etc.). For each job you have held try to recall the main things you did and any accomplishments you can back up with examples or numbers. What are the skills that you have developed that any employer would appreciate? 
  • Always keep in mind that your resumé is a marketing brochure about you, and that the purpose of the resumé is to make the employer confident enough in your potential to want to call you for an interview. 

Which is the best type of resumé? There are three basic formats: 
  • chronological - lists your work history, with job titles, responsibilities, and accomplishments (in reverse order of occurrence), 
  • functional or skill based - lists skills and experience, grouped into logical clusters, 
  • combination - a mix of the above. 

The format you choose depends on you and on the type of position you are applying for. If you have work experience that is directly relevant to the position you are applying for, chronological may be best. However, as a student you may not have a lot of work history relevant to the position so you may be best to use a functional or combination resumé to highlight the skills and experience which are transferable. This is something you can discuss with our Employment Advisors. You may also want to download the Job Seeker's Handbook, located in our online resources.

Is it enough to use one, generic version of my resumé? Each employer and each position is different, so it only makes sense that their needs will be different. You should personalize every resumé you send to an employer. For example, the objective statement and skills clusters (if using functional format) must be specific for each opportunity you apply to. 

Can someone look over my resumé or cover letter? Sure...just come anytime during Employment Advisor drop-in times for a one-on-one critique of your resumé or cover letter. If possible, bring a copy of the posting for the job you are applying to.

What is the best way to communicate skills acquired at school on my resumé? This is a very individual question and something best to discuss with our Employment Advisor. In general, it will depend what other relevant skills and experience you have. If what you have done at school is about all you've got that is relevant then put it up front on your resumé. If you have actual work (or volunteer, etc.) experience then list that. Look back over your Course Outlines which will usually identity key learning outcomes like skills, knowledge, attitudes, etc. 

Why do some employers only want resumés sent by FAX and/or email? Sometimes they request this just as a way to manage the flow of responses to their job ad. In other cases it is because they are using some type of resumé scanning software that converts your resumé into a text file, and adds it to a database from which they can search based on combinations of keywords.

I sent out lots of resumés... why don't I hear back? There could be many reasons. A common one has to do with quality versus quantity. You are better off sending out several targeted resumés rather than a many generic ones. If you're sending them to every HR department you can get an address for, and responding to every ad that looks even remotely like something you can do, your chances are slim. Each resumé should be customized to that particular employer, designed so that you demonstrate how you can meet their needs. Expecting an employer to take time extracting what is relevant from a generic resumé is a gamble you are unlikely to win 

An employer wants my resumé in ASCII or RTF format. What is that? These are formats that are readable by all computers and operating system platforms. Asking for a resumé in that format avoids file incompatibility. ASCII is, essentially, the text with all fonts and formatting removed. Rich Text (RTF) retains fonts and some basic layout formatting but not things like tables. To save in these formats use the "Save As..." feature on your word processor. If you don't see ASCII, choose the "text only" option. On a related note, if you are sending your resumé in Word format and you have the latest and greatest version of Word, it may be a good idea to use "Save As..." to save it in an earlier to be sure it will be readable at the other end. 

Should I include my web site on my resumé? Sure, if it would be relevant to a potential employer. But don't put it on just because you think it's cool...it may end up saying more about you than you intend. Also, don't assume the employer will visit the site...be sure to put all the important info on your resumé and think of the web site as a supplement to that. 




INTERVIEWING

How do I get ready for an interview? First of all, examine the job posting carefully and pay particular attention to action words and responsibilities which imply certain types of questions. Be prepared to give examples of how you have demonstrated each and every skill and responsibility in a job posting. You need to know yourself, know your employer, then practice. Knowing yourself seems obvious but it would be awful to walk out of an interview and then remember all kinds of things you could have said in support of yourself. You need to be familiar with what is on your resumé, what your selling points are, and be prepared to back them up with examples. You need to understand your employer's business so that you are better prepared to make the case for how you can meet their needs. Make no mistake... you are selling yourself. Like any sale, you need to know the product and the buyer. 

What do employers ask in an interview? They may ask almost anything but typically their questions will be things that enable them to assess how competent you are to do the work (although they will have made an initial assessment of this from your resumé...that's what got you to the interview) and to assess how well you will fit in with your co-workers and their corporate structure.




OTHER JOB SEARCH TOPICS

Why should I not use my hotmail account when job searching? Many organizations have now implemented security features to block any email or attachment with the word “hotmail” from entering their computer system due to the high volume of Spam that is associated with hotmail. If you are using hotmail then your communications with an employer may never be received. Consider using your Sheridan email account (it will stay with you for life), or create an email account from your home internet provider.
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