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The Way To Work-High School Students || JJ McLellan Mount Forest

This morning I had the pleasure to participate in “The Way to Work” for high school students which was presented by the CEC – Career Education Council for Guelph – Wellington – Dufferin. The purpose of this program was to give students hands on experience with meeting potential employers as well as resume, interview and networking tips. There were students from Mount Forest as well as Palmerston high schools and most who were already in a co-op course at the high school. We have had a wonderful working relationship with both the Mount Forest high school as well as the Palmerston high school with many co-op students coming from both over the years. One reason for the mentors being there was not only to represent area businesses but also to give the students an opportunity to try mock interview questions, have their resume critiqued and also practice their networking. For me it brought back some great learning experiences to how I personally have gotten to where I am now, I look back and not only was there learning experiences there was a lot of growing as a person and through education intellectually. For someone now working within a position which is within the trades, I was able to provide what we would look for… Someone looking for a future position within the trades or who is currently looking in the trades… some of these are generic to any position. Hints & Tips for Resumes, Interviews and Networking:

  • Make sure your name stands out on your resume – make it larger than your address and bold it.
  • Ensure your contact information is where you can be contacted and is professional – if you have voicemail make sure it is your name and not music etc, your email should also be your name in some form – not for example (from Emily at TG Minto used) hotstuff@hotmail.com
  • What job are you applying for… if you find a job posted for a company be specific and say you are applying for that specific job. Use this as your objective. If you are applying and there isn’t a posting specifically put what your objective is and position you are trained for. If a company is looking for a licensed gas technician… and you do not have a licence… does it make sense to apply? No.
  • If you have taken a co-op class which relates to the job – this is experience – use this on your resume. If you can get a reference letter or marks from your co-op placement even better.
  • Any other direct experience which can relate or is transferable to the job – this is key! The trades are all about hands on just as much as it is about learning the book work in school.
  • Training – if you have completed any type of training this is very important! Be sure to list it on your resume – however also be prepared to show proof if asked.
  • Before an interview – even before you apply do your research about the company. Do not get into an interview and then ask what we do.
  • Speak confidently and ask questions.
  • Networking is very important – a lot of time, although ‘what you know’ is very important for any job, its also ‘who you know’ that is almost equally or even more important in the job search. By networking you make connections and people talk, when people talk you can almost receive more credit/reliability/respect by obtaining a job this way.
  • Social Networking – this is becoming huge not just for inviduals but also for businesses. One tip by Bill Nelson this morning was related to Facebook and the content posted on Facebook. Beware what you post – it will be there forever and potential employers can search online and could potentially find this information.

Some other great tips in general…

  • Education is very important and essential to get any kind of job.
  • If you are unsure what you want to do as a career, however you are going forward with post-secondary education – choose a path with transferable skills. As a personal example, I took a year off after high school and worked full time at my part time job (maternity leave position at a local car dealership as the service advisor) this provided me with great on the job experience and also helped me to realize that I should to go school for Business. I then applied for General Business at Conestoga College and was accepted, it was a two year course which I thought was perfect, get in, get out! Half way through my 2nd year I seriously debated transferring over to the Business Administration Management Studies program. One thing I will always remember my parents telling me and making very clear is that if we ever wanted to work within our family business we had to go to school – this I am so very grateful for! I switched the program and spent another year in school after which I joined our family business, as a part of the 4th generation. On the job experience is important, however formal education is just as, if not more important. Receiving a diploma, degree, certificate or trade license is incredibly valuable, something that does not cost to carry around with you and once you receive it no one can ever take it away from you, these exact points I remember being reminded of from my own family… its true!

At the end of the workshop the mentors were asked to provide one piece of advice to the students. My piece of advice to the students was… Think of what you enjoy doing, whether it is your hobbies, a part time job, sports etc. Think of the skills you use to do those. Such as for me I enjoy working with numbers, writing, working with people and being creative/artistic. All of which relate to my career!

It was a pleasure speaking with the students and applaude the Career Education Council as well as the High Schools for doing workshops like this for the students. I am sure the information learned will prove to be quite valuable in the future !


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