The University of Waterloo gives its students many opportunities to get noticed by potential employers. The Tatham Centre provides workshops catered towards building strong resumés and cover letters. A drop-in advising service is also available to aid in any specific questions students might have. These services provide valuable insight into the professional world and the processes that encompass it.</p>
The first step in this process is getting your foot in the door — getting someone to believe in the talent you possess and giving you a chance to thrive. Some students have gained experience through co-op jobs, internships, or summer jobs, while others may have just started on their job-search journey. Do not disregard the skills you have gained through participation in student societies and volunteering—they showcase you in a positive light and also let potential employers know that you weren’t just sitting at home watching Netflix all day after classes ended. As a University of Waterloo student, you should believe in yourself. If you don’t then who will?
We have countless resources available to help us enter the workforce, and our reputation as a well-respected academic institution is a great part of the package. Employers want a piece of our talented students. One way companies are trying to recruit UW talent is through the employer information sessions held on various locations on campus. These sessions are a great way for students to get noticed for potential jobs, and also for companies to advertise their brand.
These sessions begin with a swipe of your WatCard to ensure you are a University of Waterloo student. The smell of food fills the air, accompanied with an invisible sign which says “free stuff.” What would a session be without free food or free pens?
I attended three employer information sessions over the course of the week of Sept. 20-26. One was for Canadian Tire, another was for Clearpath Robotics, based in Waterloo, and the last was for Microsoft. All of the sessions started with similar introductions: “Welcome, please help yourself to the food.” Instantly, the recruiters want you to feel comfortable and happy as you enter their sphere. The goal is to get people positive and excited about what is in front of them.
All the presentations started with a brief overview of what their companies do and the vision they possess. They offer you all the perks and possibilities of the job — this gets you excited and you can visualize yourself working for them. Then they let you know of the work you have to do in order to get employed. This portion of the session was similar across all three companies as well.
They all said that they are looking for students who are passionate, involved in extracurricular activities, and are well-rounded individuals. The focus was less on skills and more on personality. Of course, some jobs required some specific technical skills, but they said they did not want someone who worked great with programs and could not integrate well with company culture.
The recruiters also made it clear to list involvement in any student clubs, volunteer participation, and even those not-so-pleasant retail jobs you might have held. Cover letters should be personal and list something other than the skills you have already mentioned on your resumé. They want to gain some idea of the personality behind the resumé.
I think these employer information sessions are a valuable place to start your job search. I have seen students handing out their business cards, networking with recruiters, and garnering valuable insight into the company culture. Students who come out to these sessions are also noticed and their names are often recorded and placed at a high priority for recruiters. Don’t forget that companies are advertising themselves just as much as you are at these sessions. Good luck with the hunt.