If you haven’t applied to the CNE before, here are five tips to remember when preparing and submitting your application.
1. The application form is glitchy and full of weird quirks
Full disclosure: I’m really not a fan of the application system the CNE Human Resources team uses. It’s glitchy and not very user-friendly. So be prepared to have a frustrating experience.
Here are the quirks/bugs I've found:
- If you're uploading a new resume or CV, the system will attempt to autocomplete some of the application form fields for you, but it often doesn't work. Be sure to review every single field to check for errors before moving on to the next stage of the application form.
- You can't move forward if you've missed a mandatory field or if it's not in the required format (e.g. you must enter your postal code as A1B 2C3 with the space).
- You need to enter your password in section 1, otherwise you can't access your application at a later date.
- If you use your browser's "Back" button or refresh the page, you'll lose all the information you entered.
- Some of the section headings don't describe the questions you will be asked. For example, Step 2 is for Job Preferences and you would think you would be asked to enter preferences for the job(s) you are applying for - but no, instead, you just put down current job type and number of years of experience. And Step 4 is for Profile Attachments, which really just means your cover letter.
- Some of the answer options are restrictive. For example, in Step 2, when asked about your current job type, you can't put down that you're a full-time student. Instead, you have to say "Unknown". Likewise, in Step 3, you're asked about your University/College degrees, but cannot specify that you're currently in high school.
2. Make sure you have a customer-service focused resume and cover letter ready
All of the jobs with the CNE involve customer service duties and if you have prior customer service experience, make sure it's prominently mentioned in your resume.
If you don't have customer service experience, that's fine. Just be sure to talk about skills that are important in customer service roles. For example:
- Communication and interpersonal skills
- Teamwork and collaboration skills
- Multitasking and priority-setting skills
- Conflict resolution skills
- Decision making skills
- Ability to learn quickly
- Cash handling and math/accounting skills
- Willingness to work independently or as part of a team
- Professional, respectful, and courteous demeanour
And if you don't have a cover letter or resume, I've created free templates you can download and customize with your skills and experience.
3. Make sure you mention that you're available to work all the days of the CNE and a variety of shifts
Because the CNE runs for just 18 days, the CNE Human Resources team hires staff that are available to work all 18 days of the fair and who can also attend mandatory orientation and training sessions that are held before the CNE opens. That's not to say you'll be working every day of the CNE - you will get days off that will be scheduled by your supervisor. But to make scheduling easier, they prefer to hire people who can work all 18 days and a variety of shifts - days, evenings, weekends, and holidays.
In Step 5, you will be asked for your availability and make sure you answer YES to the questions, "Are you available to work all dates between August 21st to September 7th (including Labour Day long weekend)?" and "Are you available to work flexible hours, including evenings and weekends?".
And in your cover letter and resume, make sure you mention that you have flexible availability for the duration of the CNE.
4. Apply to multiple roles
Competition for CNE jobs is fierce. It's a great opportunity to gain valuable work experience and earn some money before the school year begins. And CNE employees get some really great staff perks and so the positions are quite popular.
To increase your chances of success, I would recommend that you apply for multiple roles. Many of the roles are quite similar (e.g. the Info Line Attendant and Info Booth Attendant roles) and so you might as well apply to both roles to increase your chance of securing a CNE job.
Unfortunately, the application system doesn't let you apply for multiple roles with a single application. Instead, you need to complete a separate application form for each position - and yes, that means a tailored cover letter and resume for each role.
To make it easier to apply for multiple CNE jobs, make sure you create an account by entering a password in Step 1. For subsequent applications, you can login with your email address and password and your information will already be saved. But make sure you upload your tailored cover letter and resume in the relevant sections.
5. Check the job board periodically
Keep periodically checking my CNE 2018 summer jobs board as I update it every couple of days. And know that in previous years, some jobs were re-advertised after the application deadline. This was done to expand the pool of applicants and in cases where changes in operational needs resulted in the need to hire additional staff. So even if the job has closed, be sure to check the CNE Jobs website regularly - once every few days - for any last-minute job ads. Sometimes they are only posted for a day and so you will have to act quickly!