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Easing the Post-Secondary School to Career Transition …

by Anne Markey

…that’s the job of career centre staff in Canadian colleges and universities. There’s a myriad of programs and services available to students and new graduates. This overview of the on-campus recruitment process may be of interest to anyone working with Canadian post-secondary students.

Participation in the on-campus recruitment is one prime way for students to obtain their first full time job upon graduation. On-campus recruitment begins in September at universities and in the spring at many colleges. Once the new academic year begins, so does on-campus recruitment for students in their final year of study. Job postings are available on career websites; information sessions are announced; application deadlines arrive; and then employers are on-campus to conduct interviews. In the midst of all this there’s often a career fair.

The process is a fast and furious one. Students who are prepared with an idea of the type of work they are looking for, favourite employers and an up-to-date, well-prepared resume will be able to take advantage of opportunities.

Career Fairs

An important part of the on-campus recruitment process is a school’s career fair. At the career fair, employer representatives will be on hand to discuss employment opportunities, provide information about the corporate culture, and answer student questions. Sometimes, but not often, an employer will accept a resume at a career fair. Students should always introduce themselves and their employment goals because employer representatives do remember individuals.

Information Sessions

A second important element is information sessions. These sessions take place early evening, usually on-campus, with pizza and pop. Again corporate representatives will be on hand to tell the story of their organization and its opportunities; students who use this opportunity to ‘meet and greet’ will stand out for a potential employer. Research conducted by the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE) shows that the average number of schools at which employers recruit is six.

Other Supports

Those working with a post-secondary client group should ask clients if they are registered with a career centre, if they’ve visited the career centre, and if they are aware of the on-campus recruitment process in their school. The website has information about the transition from post-secondary to employment and other support materials for youth.

Internships/Co-op Positions

One final point – CACEE research highlights the point that “…getting initial experience with a potential employee appears to be a very successful strategy to attract and bring on board new full-time campus hires. On average, over 77% of Canadian interns who are offered a full time position with their employer accept this position.” These intern or co-op students are accepting jobs that are never made available to the general population.

Career counsellors, advisors and coaches who are working with a post-secondary client group are invited to register for the 2010 National On-Campus Recruitment Conference which is being held in Halifax, June 6-10, 2010. Visit for information.

Anne Markey is the Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE).

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