Getting work experience while attending UAlberta is a great way to build skills in your field, English language skills, meet new friends and earn some extra income. You have a lot of options while attending UAlberta; including part-time and summer jobs, as well as co-op positions and internships through your specified program. This article will focus mainly on job opportunities that are not part of academic programs. Plus, after you graduate with a degree from UAlberta you are also eligible to work for three years in Canada with a post-graduation work permit. This decision probably won’t be too hard to make, considering the province of Alberta is leading Canada in the number of job opportunities and job creation!
We’ve listed some helpful tips to get you started when looking for work while you’re studying at UAlberta. Explore your options and start on your path towards an amazing career!
1) Create a resume
In Canada, employers will ask you for a “resume”. Other countries may call this document a “CV”, “professional history” or “profile”. This is a document that profiles your skills and professional background. Remember to include your UAlberta studies on your resume!
Some countries use different formatting, paper size or prefer different types of information on a resume. It is important to learn the differences in style and expectations. UAlberta has some great resources to help you do this! CAPs is UAlberta’s career centre and you can make a free appointment* with one of their advisors to work on your resume or you can attend resume and interviewing workshops. All of these services are completely free for UAlberta students.
*Please note that not all CAPs services are free and there can be a "no-show" rate if you miss your scheduled appointment. Be sure to read about CAPs services first and understand their requirements.
2) Figure out where you want to work
There are many opportunities for UAlberta students to do work placements or internships through their academic programs. International students who wish to find a job that is not part of their academic program can seek work on-campus or off-campus during their studies. You have a lot of different options! Start your job search by thinking about what type of work you would like to do or what type of environment you would like to work in. Do you want a job that has flexible hours or perhaps you would prefer something that keeps you active and outside? Deciding what you want will help you narrow down your job search.
3) Networking & volunteering
You can learn a lot just from talking to other people and getting involved on campus! Don’t be afraid to talk to professors or student services like the International Centre and CAPs about jobs and career options. Many will be able to tell you about internship possibilities, volunteering or companies that commonly hire students. Volunteering can also help you make new friends and build valuable skills that are desirable for employers. Learn more about student volunteer options here >
You can also create your own entrepreneurial experience during your degree, if you choose, by getting involved in things like student governance, or eHub (UAlberta entrepreneurial community). Great ideas and strong work ethics don’t go unnoticed at UAlberta, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!
4) Start applying for jobs
Once your resume is ready, and you’ve thought about what kind of job you would like, it is time to start applying for jobs! Most employers prefer to receive resumes or applications electronically, especially larger employers (For example: the City of Edmonton or UAlberta). Remember to target your resume to each specific position that you are applying to, outlining why you would be the best candidate. CAPs has some great tips on how to do this on their website >
Some smaller employers may still request a printed resume. If this is the case, don’t be afraid to hand in your resume in-person. This can be a great opportunity to make a good first impression and show off your personality. There are multiple computer labs and libraries on campus which you can use your ONEcard (student card) to print off copies of your resume.
5) Go on job interviews
After you apply for a job, the employer may contact you for an interview to meet you and decide if they would like to hire you. If you don’t get a call for an interview for a position, don’t be discouraged - keep on trying! Edmonton has a lot of great job opportunities.
Interviews can seem daunting, but they don’t have to be! The best way to feel confident in an interview is to prepare ahead of time. Review your professional experience and practice talking about your skills and background. You can also book a mock-interview with a CAPs consultant on campus, who will simulate an interview experience and give you tips on how to succeed.
6) Working On -campus: Working on-campus can be very convenient, especially if you are living in UAlberta residence! There are a wide variety of on-campus job opportunities available. CAPs regularly posts job opportunities on their website and some of the services on campus will also post “hiring” signs at their locations. Also, there is The International Student Work Study Program (ISWSP), which offers funding and support for University of Alberta departments to hire international undergraduate students during the summer, providing students with opportunities to gain valuable Canadian work experience and develop skills. These jobs require you to apply further in advance, so learn more about your options here >
Off-campus: Obtaining a part-time or summer position off-campus can help you gain valuable experience in your field before graduating. A great way to explore these options is to attend CAPs Career Fairs, which are held multiple times every year on the UAlberta campus. Employers from all over the world attend these fairs just to meet UAlberta students!
7) Impressing future employers
Getting professional experience while obtaining your UAlberta degree is a great way to impress future employers. Not only is UAlberta ranked as one of the world’s top 100 universities, but our degrees are recognized around the globe at the highest standard. Adding any related experience, whether it might be an internship, volunteering or a part-time position, will only increase your chances of achieving an amazing career after graduation.
We suggest researching potential employers before you graduate and exploring your future options. You can do this by creating a LinkedIn profile to follow companies that interest you, attending CAPs Career Crawls or Employer Information Sessions.
See where international students are getting work experience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m63qrbm3gIc
Written by Alyssa Ott