Dal's myCareer makes job hunting easy

Simple, new web portal connects students with employers

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Laura Addicott, director of career services, oversaw the new portal's development. (Photo: David Kumagai)

Dalhousie University's new online job portal gives students easier access to positions with companies such as Shell, Telus and Kraft, as well as non-profit groups working abroad.

MyCareer is the school's new hub for students to contact employers about their future.

It replaced the school's old system, PlacePro, on Jan. 5. This portal centralizes access to the university's four career and co-op services for the first time.

Lindsay Wright, a third-year commerce student, said the site is easier to navigate, because "the new layout makes it a lot quicker."

That was the goal, said Laura Addicott, director of career services. "Previously, an employer would have to visit four different sites to reach students."

Wright set up a government co-op through the older system for one semester last year. She plans to use myCareer next year before graduation.

MyCareer has nearly 100 jobs posted from across the country as well as a few international openings. From volunteer positions at orphanages in Asia, to analyst positions with Morgan Stanley, the site has a variety of offerings.

The portal allows students to share their resumes, cover letters and transcripts directly with employers who also subscribe to the site.

Students from Dalhousie and the University of King's College can access it under the "services" tab when logged into their my.dal.ca account or by visiting mycareer.dal.ca.

It had been seven years since Dal's career hub received a serious upgrade. "It was time," said Addicott, "because of the elevated expectations of employers."

From a technical standpoint, career services made a lot of good calls with software, said Jonathan Amyotte, the computer science department's web administrator. The site works on browsers and operating systems old and new.

Web presence

Dalhousie is trying to keep up with the evolving world of job hunting. Websites like Workopolis, LinkedIn and Monster are luring job advertisements online in record numbers.

Internet classifieds racked up $18 billion US in 2010, reported The Kelsey Group, a firm that tracks online ad revenue. It marks a nearly 50 per cent increase since 2005.

Employers and employees need to have a web presence, said Jim Wilson, who launched CareerBeacon.com, one of the first recruitment sites in 1996. While exploring myCareer is a good idea, students should be browsing a wide range of networking sites.

"These are trends people have to pay attention to," said Wilson.

Even still, he said students shouldn't rely solely on what's advertised. "Sometimes you have to pick up a phone and call them," he continued, "go bang on their door."

In light of the recent economic crisis, now is not a great market for entry-level jobs, said Wilson, who also sits on Dalhousie's board of governors as an alumni representative.

"In a bad market, people have to go and learn how to do a proper job search," he said. This means that now, more than ever, students should research job positions online.

Addicott reported that thousands of students have already visited the two-week old site and many more have used the new tool to set up an appointment with a career counsellor. She's proud of its early success.

"It's a 24/7 service here for students," said Addicott.

 

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