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The job hunt: Making the most of your experience

Diploma Programme (DP) graduate Ayesha Rashidi shares advice on how to use your Creativity, activity, service (CAS) experience to build your resume and find job opportunities. This is ­­her second story in our graduate voices series.

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By Ayesha Rashidi 

There’s a lot you can do in your free time, like hang out with friends, catch up on sleep, binge-watch your favourite TV shows or you might choose to be more productive. Perhaps you’ll volunteer or get an internship or part-time job! You may be considering applying for a paid position, which gives you a distinct set of skills that is valuable for your future. With all of the experience you’ve earned from doing all those Creativity, activity, service (CAS) hours, you’d be well prepared for a paid position. Why not put those hours to good use? It’s all about making the most of your experience.

Enhancing your Experience

“You’ll realize that you might already have some skills that are required for a lot of jobs from your own volunteer or job experiences!”

Creating your resume can be a daunting task, luckily there are tons of resources online that can make your life so much easier. Nowadays, most recruiters use a keyword search tool to filter out resumes. So, in order to avoid being filtered before having your resume even being seen by the recruiter, it’s important that you use words that are specifically tailored to the job that you are applying for.

Before I apply for a job, I always take the time to read the job description and revise my resume accordingly. Thanks to the world we live in, revising just means copying and pasting! There are a lot of great websites that offer sample resumes for free so that you can just copy and paste on to yours. What I like to do is look up resumes that are similar for the job description I want to apply to and use them as a guide for my own resume. For example, if I was applying for a retail job, I would search up “customer service resume” or “sales associate resume”. The samples do a great job of giving detailed and concise descriptions. I just take their examples and apply it to my relevant experiences. You’ll realize that you might already have some skills that are required for a lot of jobs from your own volunteer or job experiences! It’s all a matter of enhancing your current experiences and tailoring them to the job description.

Finding Opportunities

“Reach out to those nearest to you and you might find some success”

Scrolling through countless job search sites and waiting for the perfect opportunity can take way too long. By the time something peaks your interest, you might miss out on a lot of great options by spending your time filtering through long lists. Sometimes your LinkedIn connections are just not providing you with enough networks to find a job, but you might’ve overlooked all the connections you already have!

Out of all the jobs and volunteer opportunities I’ve done in my life I’ve only ever worked one job that I found through an independent job search site. Trust me, I’ve been through so many applications and job/volunteer searches, especially after CAS—I’m not saying these sites are totally useless, they just tend to have 10-15 pages of opportunities and it can be harder to filter through. Most of the positions I’ve held have been found through family/friends, community hubs and school!

Recruiters want people they can trust and would rather take referrals than sit through interviews and look through resumes all day. That is why getting jobs through friends/family, your community and school tend to be easier and provide a better chance at securing a job. You might have family/friends who are looking to hire people or may have some connections and can refer you. Within your community there are countless places that probably have openings like the local community centre, libraries, schools or swimming pools. Universities tend to have job search databases that pertain to students and may even give you some skills that are applicable to your field. You can make some helpful connections while working on campus and you might even be able to keep the job during the school year. So, before you give up on the job hunt reach out to those nearest to you and you might find some success!

If you choose to volunteer or work during your spare time always remember to set some time to relax to add some balance to your life!

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Ayesha Rashidi is a student at the University of Toronto in Toronto, ON Canada. She wishes to pursue grad school to study—well she hasn’t figured that out yet but is open to suggestions. She hopes to major in Genetics. On weekends, you are likely to find her playing with her two cats; Milky and Little Bear. You can connect with her on LinkedIn here.

To hear more from Diploma Programme (DP) graduates check out these IB programme stories. If you are an IB grad and want to share your story, write to us at [email protected]We appreciate your support in sharing IB stories and invite you to connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter and now Instagram!

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