Recruiters offer tips to students trying to tackle university job fairs

    - Insight into the psyche of potential employers could be key to
      landing a job -

    TORONTO, Aug. 24 /CNW/ - For financial service firms 'back to school'
does not mean back to class, it signals the start of recruiting season. And as
co-op and other students ready themselves to impress industry scouts, one firm
is offering some insight into what employers at university job fairs are
looking for.

    Be yourself: Seasoned interviewers see through stock answers. "It's about
fit," said Graham Williams, a partner at Stern Cohen LLP and the partner in
charge of recruitment for his midsize Toronto accounting firm. "We're looking
for traits you can't teach like character, attention to detail and work
ethic." Listen to each question and make sure answers demonstrate who you are
beyond your technical skills.

    Build your resume: Employers are looking for a pattern of jobs that show
a track record of dealing in real world atmospheres. "Although camp
counseling, life guarding and tutoring are good experiences, it doesn't
prepare them for a professional work environment," said Williams. This lack of
experience is often a result of students entering the workforce earlier than
they used to, as well as parents who would rather their children focus on
their school work than a part-time job. Adding non-work experience such as
extensive travel, unique hobbies or passions is a good idea and can strike up
conversations that help show strength of character.

    Be prepared: Know who is going to be at the fair and read up about the
companies you are interested in. Be sure to ask questions to show a level of
engagement. Good questions to ask are: What is the culture of the firm? What
will my typical day look like? What do you (recruiter) like about the firm?
How long do employees typically stay with you?

    Understand why you want the job: Regardless of the profession, understand
why you want to do work in that particular field, better yet, that particular
firm. "I look for people who know how to communicate well and show a genuine
interest in entrepreneurship and owner-managed business. Accounting is just a
means to an end, so being good at math is not what I'm looking to hear in an

    Look and sound the part: It may be in a gym or convention hall but job
fairs are still interviews. Look the part of a young professional who realizes
a co-op position is more than a summer job. And be sure to speak clearly, the
location may be loud or have poor acoustics.

    Stern Cohen LLP was founded in 1963 and is now among the top 50
accounting firms in Canada serving clients in the Greater Toronto Area and
beyond. Clients range from multi-million dollar owner-managed corporations to
sole proprietorships in industry, finance, culture as well as the professions.

    Side Bar Suggestion:

    What NOT to say and do is often just as important as what to do. Here are
some of examples of the worst moves seen by Stern Cohen LLP:

    -   When asked why you want the job don't say "because it's good money."

    -   Do not bring your friends or parents (yes this actually happened) to
        sit in the lobby while you are having your interview because "you
        have plans afterward" or "because my dad won't let me drive downtown

    -   Do not say your past job "was great because you didn't have to work
        too hard."

    -   Do not exaggerate experience on your resume. Cutting your neighbour's
        grass does not mean you were a sole proprietor of a landscaping

    -   Do not hand in samples of past work or documents that show lack of
        professional judgment...such as a resume with your Facebook page
        instead of email address.

For further information:

For further information: For media inquires contact: Brown & Cohen
Communications & Public Affairs Inc., (416) 484-1132; Kendra Dubyk, ext. 5,; or Wendy Kauffman, ext. 3,

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