Advice to ease job hunting headaches for students

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Langara students heading into an unstable job market may find personal references and practical work experience more valuable than their degrees, according to one Langara instructor.

“If you have someone to vouch for you from within a company or a personal connection rather than just going with a paper application, you’re much more likely to find employment,” said Sean Padley, who teaches in the co-operative education department.

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Langara student Ali Harris thinks students should work in their chosen field while they study.

Experience over degree

“The bottom line is that work experience counts,” he said. “You can’t just assume that you’re going to get hired into a management-level job just because you have a management degree.”

B.C. youth unemployment above average

Canada’s December 2013 Labour Market Bulletin showed youth unemployment in British Columbia at 13.2 per cent, which is above the provincial unemployment rate of 6.6 per cent.

The BC Liberals claim 100,000 new jobs will be created in the province in the next decade, with roughly half of them in skilled trades and technical fields.

Langara geography student Ali Harris studied communications at Capilano University and works for a company doing marketing and branding for wineries. After working in that field she realized communications wasn’t for her.

Try out careers before committing

“I personally think people should be working within their fields while they’re in school if that’s possible,” Harris said. “That way you can actually see if you like it because I decided pretty quickly that it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

Harris says she will continue to work in communications while she studies at Langara because it pays the bills.

 Reported by Mike Hodder

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