Mackenzie Erskine, a mechanical engineering technology student, was just one of many students hustling around Algonquin’s Thunder Dome on Feb. 11 with resumes sticking out of folders to hand off to future would-be employers.

Erskine handed her resume to one of the few mechanical engineering booths — the CNL booth — that were present at the event.

“This is it. This is the career event and hopefully, I get a job in my field and we’re done,” said Erskine with a huge smile. “This is the big plan.”

Mackenzie Erskine, a mechanical engineering student, handed in her resume to all the mechanical engineering booths that attended the event.
Mackenzie Erskine, a mechanical engineering student, handed in her resume to all the mechanical engineering booths that attended the event. Photo credit: Alfred Carreon

How do you effectively network and get your dream job? According to the companies and students that were present at the event there are four steps.

Step one: Find an opportunity.

Scope out places that have openings or are hiring as you’re walking around or look online for jobs or while you’re volunteering. Ask if the employers have any positions that are open for you to take. “Be proactive,” said Amanda Yorston, a hiring manager for Bruyere continuing care. “Contact the employer you’d like to work for. Explain why you’re fit for the job and show initiative.”

Events like Algonquin’s annual Career Networking Fair are huge opportunities. It is one of the largest two-day recruitment events put on by the Student Support Services to help teach students how to network and help them find part/full-time jobs as well as co-op.

Step Two: Network

There were about 70 different companies that attended the event and had many positions available for students to choose from. There were so many companies that wanted to attend, explained the event’s coordinator Carol Ann Mahoney, that they had to be placed on a waitlist.

“All of the employers that we take in for the event are all looking to fill all different types of positions, not just the ones specific to their field,” Mahoney said. “It’s a great place to not only go to find jobs with different companies, but to learn and practice how to network as well.”

Step Three: Get your foot in the door.

Some recurring advice from the recruiters was to never say no. Take the contract/part-time work to be able to get some experience in order to work your way up the ladder.

“Always have your resume with you,” said Samantha Ramphal, the HR recruiter and administrator for the animation company Atomic Cartoon. “Some recruiters also look at your social media account as well. Make sure to present yourself properly — put your best foot forward.”

She adds that you should keep an open mind and that you’re “not going to get your dream job right away.” It’s about taking what you currently have now and making the most out of it.

Step Four: Own it.

Do something you enjoy doing and be fantastic. “Do something that you enjoy and don’t be mediocre at what you do,” said Mahlia Rabbi, 26, a staffing manager for Robert Half Company. “Be bloody good at what you do.”