Getting a Job After University: Where to Begin

Feeling overwhelmed by the thought of graduation? Check out this blog post where Cheap Students covers how to beef up your resume, and better prepare yourself for graduation.

Grocery Shopping Basics

An introduction on how to grocery shop better, save money and cut down on grocery bills in the future. Contains links to Canadian grocery flyers as well as prices to look for.

Textbooks: A How to Guide

A post covering how to purchase and sell textbooks at the beginning of each semester. Textbooks often cost quite a lot purchased brand new, use these tips to save money on your next textbook purchases.

Learning Tab

Check out the learning tab to view free online resources where you can learn new languages, develop your computer skills and find ways to further develop your resume.

Job Hunting

Check out the job hunting section, filled with resume, cover letter and job interview tips and resources all to help throughout the job hunting process.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Best Products to Buy in June

  • Champagne: Since wedding season comes around at this time, champagne makers are in furious competition with one another, and you can grab a good deal.
  • Dishware: Wedding season brings deals on dishes to everyone, including those not getting hitched.
  • Gym Memberships: Everyone's forgotten their New Year's resolutions, so gyms are a bit more desperate for members (not to mention everyone's working out outside). Haggle yourself a good price.
  • Paint: The summer heat means death to painters, but it also means low prices—so if you're considering a new coat of interior or exterior paint, find your shade now and buy it for later.
  • Tools: It's hard to complain about gender stereotypes when power tool prices are this low. Shop before Father's Day for a good sale.
  • Suits: Like power tools, Father's Day brings low prices on the suits every dad must have.
  • Office Furniture & Paint: Both of which are best bought from June-August, these are great to purchase when repainting student houses or buying a new desk. For office furniture also make sure to check out garage sales, they are always a good bet. 
View the original blog post on Lifehacker

Also for all of those visual, video loving readers check out this video from Channel 11

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Quest for the Perfect Job [Infographic]

Another great infographic. This one is from covering how to land your perfect job.

Coffee Consumption [Infographic]

Just found this new infographic about coffee consumption. 
Do any of the our readers drink more than 3 cups of coffee a day?


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Getting a Job After University: Where to Begin

A recent article made me a bit more interested in this topic. It's a constantly revolving door where employers want a bunch of experience for lower level/entry level positions, yet how are students and recent grads supposed to get this experience in the first place?

You can check out my article of inspiration by clicking here

The article is in fact a letter to a writer at the Globe and Mail from a struggling 20 something fairly recent grad, who is struggling with both finding a permanent job, but also the expectations he had before he graduated University. 

This blog post will cover some ideas that I have when it comes to building your resume, and hopefully providing you with a better job search outlook once you finish university. Now this isn't a fool proof plan, and I have yet to graduate from University myself, but hopefully this will give you a little motivation, open your eyes and make graduation seem a little less scary. 

Where to Begin?
It's hard to exactly pin point where to begin, but there are a few steps that you need to consider when it comes to future career choices. First off the type of hiring environment that you will enter is based on a bunch of factors;

1. The ones you can control; 
  • Your resume and the experience's you have gained
  • The way you prepare yourself for the hiring process
  • The way you present yourself 
  • The expectations you have when it comes to future job's that you may take
  • The network you build  (ie. career fairs you attend)
  • (Often a touchy subject but I believe it's true) The degree you choose
2. The ones you can't control;
  • The economy
  • The "lack" of jobs due to baby boomers retiring later
  • More temporary positions versus permanent positions available
These lists aren't exhaustive but they are meant to get you thinking of the different ways that you are able to control your future job search.

The Ones You Can Control

When it comes to building your resume and gaining valuable experience students often believe that by getting a university degree it simply means that you will get a job as soon as you graduate. In my dreams I wish that this were true, and that I would be able to land a $100,000 a year job right off the bat. This is pretty unrealistic, and unfortunately our grand expectations at making it big, immediately upon graduation, are often the reasons why the older generations say that we are spoiled, entitled etc. I'm sure you have heard it before. The truth is, yes university is a lot harder than it used to be (I believe it and I'm sticking to it), we pay thousands more to get our 4 year degree than our parents, and most people who hold management jobs often have degrees in unrelated fields, but unfortunately its something that we have to overcome and not complain about. 

Here's what you can do.

Build a great resume before you hit the job market after graduation
  • Make the Most of Summers Jobs-The most important thing to do when looking for summer jobs, is try and find jobs that are related to what you are studying. Straying away from your summer camp job, when you are studying in sciences may be your best bet, it may be good money, but will it be the best thing for you in the future when it comes to looking for jobs after graduation? Sometimes it is impossible to find a job related to your field, make sure to either volunteer, or make the job you do have work for you and really emphasize the transferable skills you have developed when applying for jobs.
  • Volunteer- I know it sounds super lame, and you don't have any time in between napping and watching the most recent episode of How I Met Your Mother but it's often a really good idea to do so even once a week, or even twice a month during the school year. It will provide you with relevant experience for what you want to do (in certain degree programs, real work experience is often hard to come by when it comes to paid jobs) and also look good on your resume since you now have developed excellent time management skills while taking that semester's course load and volunteering..
  • Virtual Internships/Internships- Internships are often seen as controversial at times, but they are also an excellent way to gain great experience that will help you get that PAID position later. It doesn't have to be with the company you interned for and it can also help you decide if it's really a industry that you want to work in. You can also use websites like SpringTern and complete virtual internships, which is really convenient say..during school, and allows you to work from anywhere without being in the city that the business is located.
  • Join a Club-I have to say that I have failed to do so most of my high school and university career. Clubs offer an opportunity for you to network, build friendships, often make a difference and provide excellent examples of team work, communication, organization and time management on your resume and in interviews.  
  • Take courses at school that provide real world experience. For example at the University of Guelph they offer a course called CBaSE and it gives students the opportunity to work with a local business, network, and use skills learned at school in a real world setting. And it counts as a credit. Investigate at school, ask professors and see if there are any opportunities like these at your university, these would be excellent resume boosters and skill development opportunities.
  • Co-op- If you have the opportunity to opt into a co-op program at your university, do it. I am currently a co-op student, it gives you a better idea of what you want to do, gives you a lot of experience when it comes to the hiring process and ultimately gives you great job experience for when you finish school. Check out the Maclean's university co-op program listing here  
  • Check out the listings for jobs that you want to get. View the experience requirements for that job, do you have what's needed to be hired? If you don't find ways to develop the skills you need. 
  • Build your skills through online courses. Check out our tab on free/paid online courses to develop new skills or sharpen them, or even learn a lean language.
Being Prepared for the Job Hunting Process

Check out the tab on this blog about Job Hunting, and also make use of the resources at your university. There are often cover letter and resume editing resources and online resources for interviews and other job hunting related subjects.

The Network you Build

Have you developed a LinkedIn profile yet? Check out our LinkedIn 101 post
I have also recently found other sites online that provide further online image building opportunities
Some tips on how to build your network
  • Develop a web presence, but one that portrays you in a professional manner 
  • Hiring managers and recruiters will often Google you before an interview, if they like what they see its a good sign, if not you may not get the job 
  • Another great way to develop a network is through attendance at Career Fairs DURING university.
  • Make the connections before you head into the workforce, and you aren't panicked and nervous and also desperately trying to network and find a job after graduation. 
  • Build connections early, and lots of them, and make sure to stay in touch.
The Degree You Choose

Unfortunately the degree you choose can limit you to the career options you have available, its the honest and sometimes harsh truth. 
Graduation Cap And DiplomaCheck out the list from Canadian Business on the Best and Worst Jobs for 2012.
The most important advice I have ever received from anyone was make sure that you are studying and in turn pursuing a career path in whatever makes you happiest. What I have learned myself is to also make sure that what I love to do is practical and not going to leave me dirt poor.
I feel as though it's an even balance.

Now this isn't the end, and I will cover this topic again, and some of these aspects will continue to come up in other blog posts in the future.

But one thing that as soon to be or recent graduates we need to remember is that we aren't going to go out there (for the most part anyways, I wish I loved economics more) and make a ridiculous amount of money. We will have to work hard, and we may have to move back in with our parents after we graduate. And of course always stay POSITIVE, your attitude and negativity towards the job hunting process will be picked up by the people trying to hire you, even though you may not realize it.

I hope that this provides an all around picture as to what YOU can do to help put yourself in the best situation possible when you graduate. 


Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Day in the Life of A College Student [Infographic]

Monday, May 14, 2012

How to Save More of Your Paycheck: Saving & Budgeting

Aside from cutting down on food purchases at work it's important to save a decent percentage of each pay in order to save up enough money for rent, utilities, food and of course entertainment during the school year. Often on payday I take a percentage of my paycheck (usually over 50%) and put it directly in my high interest savings account.

I often don't leave myself a ton of money other than to cover rent and utility expenses as well as a little money for emergency purchases and unexpected costs. By doing so you still live on your "student budget" but are saving a large percentage of your pay instead of spending most of your paycheck since "you know you have the money now".

Another important step is to develop a budget for both the summer and during the school year to determine how much money you will need for tuition, groceries, bus passes, utilities (on average) etc. By doing so you can figure out how much you will actually be able to spend when you go out, if you will have any leftover money to make clothing purchases etc.  The sooner you start saving, planning and budgeting this summer the more money you will have saved and the less you will have to rely on student loans, credit cards and even your parents.

There are a variety of websites that provide excel spreadsheets to allow you to develop a budget.  Check these 

Set up a budget for the school year AND the summer
  • Make sure to breakdown costs for tuition, groceries, utilities (you can base this on your previous years costs, they should be similar)
  • This will give you an idea on what you will need, how much you will need to save and if you need a part-time job etc.
Note this post is just an overview, later posts will go more in depth into these topics. 

Does anyone have any saving tips and tricks that they use?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

How to Save More from Your Paycheck: Meals at Work

Now that you have some income from your brand spankin' new summer job, you might have the sudden urge to start spending all this new found money on breakfast, lunch and coffee everyday. The crazy thing is....your money is going to disappear really fast if you buy all of your meals etc. This is the start of a series on how to save more from your paycheck. Check out the blog throughout the summer for posts like these!

How to Save by Bringing Food to Work

  1. When making dinner the night before make 2 times the amount you would normally eat,   divide up 1 portion for dinner that night and before you start eating dinner pack the other half up in a Tupperware container.
    • Great options include; quinoa, rice, pasta etc. with veggies as well
  2. If you're a fan of bean salads, quinoa, pasta salad etc. make a big batch on Sunday night, refrigerate and you will have meals for a good portion of the week. 
  3. Make sure to either eat breakfast at home before leaving to go to work OR bring breakfast to work. If you don't eat breakfast you will end up buying a lot more food then you should. 
  4. Buy snacks to store at your desk or somewhere at work. These munchies may help you get through the day and save you from buying snacks at work. Obviously if you're into that whole healthy eating thing, the healthier the snacks the better. 
  5. When buying groceries, purchase foods that are easy to bring to work ie. Sandwiches as well as portion size yogurts. Plan out what you want to eat for breakfast and lunch before the morning of.
  6. Despite how stubborn I have been for the last 4 years of work at 9-5 jobs in the summers. My mom always had some great advice. Pack your lunch the night before! It saves you from giving up and leaving the house without a lunch and having to buy one at work if your running late etc. 
  7. Also if you are living at home this summer while working, make sure to snatch the best of the leftovers first. You know it can be a free for all sometimes, especially when the leftovers are pizza. 
Great Recipes & Meal Ideas

Oatmeal (small pouches or quick oats)- Bring a tupperware container to work, put the oatmeal in and the appropriate amount of water, microwave or add boiling water. Add a variety of fresh or frozen fruits. Easy to make and healthy. 
Or you could just go with cereal...
Presto Pasta Salad recipe

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Best Products to Buy in May

Given that around this time of year students have virtually little money, and the little money they have needs to be stretched far, I have decided to give you a little bit of a buyer's guide for May.

Here's a little bit of a breakdown of the best things to buy during the month of May. 

  1. Mattresses- According to lifehacker "new mattresses come out in the summer" so May is the time when old stock will be cleared out at discount prices. Many students will be moving into new rental housing coming September BUT you already have a lease set up for the whole summer. If you are thinking of buying a new mattress May is your month.
  2. Patio Furniture- May once again is the month to buy patio furniture. Keeping this relevant to student's needs, those who are possibly living away from home this summer in their university town may not have anything in the way of patio furniture. Make sure to check out garage sales as home owners are dumping their old furniture in order to upgrade to new furniture for the summer season. You might even get lucky and find someone just giving away their old furniture.
  3. Spring clothing- During the end of April and early May spring clothing is definitely on sale and most often deeply discounted in order to clear shelves for the incoming summer clothing. 
  4. Gym Memberships-These deals won't be advertised but you will have a bit of haggling room when it comes to gym memberships now since the weather is getting warmer outside. There still is a lot of benefit to going to an indoor gym in the summer and students who are moving back home are unable to use their University gym like they have during the school year. 
  5. Laptops-New Intel chip technology (Ivy Bridge) is going to be rolling out soon, so all systems using the old Sandy Bridge technology will be going on sale. Make sure to check around to find the best deals.