May 14, 2015

How to find a job with the CNE

Over the past few years, I've had numerous readers contact me asking me variations of the same question, namely, "How do I get a job with the CNE?".

As you can imagine, finding a job with the CNE can be difficult as the competition is fierce. Each year, the CNE receives over 10,000 applications and it's important to know how to stand out. And so here are my top 5 tips on how to find and land a job with the CNE.

1. Do your research and stay organized

You can find an updated list of current jobs on the 2015 CNE Summer Jobs Board. I would recommend reading each job ad to get a sense of the range of jobs available with the CNE as the job titles can be fairly generic and not very informative. 

Once you find the jobs you are interested in, add them to your 2015 Summer Job Tracking Sheet (to download, click 'File' --> 'Download as ...'). Use the tracking sheet to record the jobs you are interested in, the ones you have applied for, and your application status. 

It's important to stay organized so that you don't accidentally apply to the same job more than once or forget to apply to a job you really wanted.   

2. Update your cover letter and resume - and focus on the key skills/experiences/attributes that hiring managers are looking for in successful candidates

If you don't have a resume or cover letter, first read my article on how to write your first resume and download one of TheHiringHotline.com's free resume and cover letter templates

Once you have a resume, review the job ad requirements and ensure that you include any and all relevant skills or experience. So for example, let's say the job ad lists "customer service experience" as a requirement and that you volunteered with your school during bake sales and fundraisers. Make sure that experience is included in your "Experience" section and that you talk about job duties like "assisting customers with their purchases", "answering customer questions", "operated a cash register", and so on. 

The CNE's job website also has an article with resume tips that's worth a read as it gives you an insight into what the hiring managers are looking for in an ideal candidate.

Based on my review of the current list of CNE summer jobs, here are some skills/experiences/attributes you'll want to highlight on your resume:

- Customer service experience
- Reliable with flexible availability (days, evenings, weekends)
- Experience working with children
- Cash handling experience
- Math/counting skills
- Physical skills (lifting and moving items, setting up and tearing down equipment)
- Quick to learn new policies and procedures
- Experience responding to questions and handling difficult situations with diplomacy and tact
- Valid G1, G2, or G licence with a clean driving record

3. Apply early, but be prepared to wait

You can start applying for CNE jobs now and applications will be screened as they arrive. However, in past years, the hiring managers have conducted most of their interviews in June and July and slots are typically allocated as applications are reviewed.

In other words, those that wait might be disappointed. Apply early and be sure to track your job applications with your tracking sheet. And if by July you haven't heard, you can email the team at staffingoffice@theex.com; however, because of the volume of applications they receive, you may not get an answer. Don't take it personally, but at least try - any feedback can be helpful as you continue your job search.

4. Apply for multiple jobs

Unless you have a very, very, very highly specialized skill-set that you cannot use in another position, I strongly recommend applying for multiple roles. Many of the skills that are appropriate for a certain job (e.g. Admissions Ticket Seller) are transferrable to another job (e.g. Info Line Attendant). And to be quite frank, given the extremely competitive summer job market, a job is a job and the experience, no matter the position, will be incredibly valuable. Don't be picky!

5. Research other CNE-related jobs

This tip won't really apply until late June, July, and early August. Currently, the CNE's jobs website only lists positions with the CNE itself - it does not include jobs with the attractions, games, and midway companies, the retail sales outlets, and the food service kiosks that operate during the CNE. Those positions will typically be advertised later, after these businesses receive confirmation that they are participating in the 2015 CNE.

When the time comes, you'll often find these jobs on a range of websites, like the Government of Canada's Youth Job Bank, Workopolis/Monster, and even Craigslist and Kijiji.

One thing I highly recommend is that even if your dream job is to work as part of the midway or games staff, you should definitely apply for the current crop of CNE jobs. It's all about hedging your bets and increasing your chances of securing a summer job with the CNE. Plus, it's great practice and gets you into the habit of personalizing and targeting your cover letters and resumes.

Good luck - and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions using the Contact form in the right-hand column!