Take This Advice Now, Get a Job When You Graduate

Speaking of McDonald’s, we’re giving away four prizes of $250.00 worth of McDonald’s gift cards as a bonus prize in Canada’s Luckiest Student.

Recruiters and Hiring Managers say a job at McDonald’s offers lifelong employment advantages. Rashel Hariri would know this. Her first job was at McDonald’s as a crew member 15 years ago.

Now, Rashel Hariri is a Digital Social Engagement Manager at McDonald’s Canada and the skills she learned at the very same organization help her each and every day—from communication to self-motivation to teamwork.

In 2016, Rashel was written up as one of Marketing Mag’s 30 Under 30, having gained notoriety for her willingness to innovate on social media.

So… yeah. Rashel knows a thing or two about launching your career, breaking into a hyper-competitive field and working for big brands as a young person.

That’s why we sat down to ask Rashel what advice she would give to students who were worried about finding a job when they graduate.

Rashel emphasized the importance of students starting to work on their job search well before graduation…

Above all, Rashel emphasized the importance of students starting to work on their job search well before graduation if they want to be competitive in the real world.

Here’s what Rashel has to say.

1) Start your job hunt now.

For students, the best thing you can do is start gaining experience while you’re in school. And the best way to gain experience is to intern, volunteer, do a co-op or start a blog. Create your own opportunities.

It’s the best way to start to build your portfolio and your resume. When you graduate, you’ll have some experience, and some tangible work that you can show to potential employers. It will help you stand out.

2) Connect with the people you want to be.

[A blog] is a good starting point. But it’s not the only thing that you should be doing. You also need to network.

Find people in your industry you admire. If you like where they are, and their career path, reach out to them, ask them to meet for coffee and get some guidance from them.

People are a lot of more open to connecting than you think. If you reach out to them over LinkedIn, I’d say they’ll reply to you about 80% of the time.

…if I know of someone who is hardworking and ambitious, that I think will be a good fit for our team, then I’ll say, “Let’s make sure we also meet with this person.”

At McDonald’s Canada, for example, we’ll post a job opening and receive hundreds of applicants. But if I know of someone who is hardworking and ambitious, that I think will be a good fit for our team, then I’ll say, “Let’s make sure we also meet with this person.”

3) Identify your strengths. Then double down on them.

When I graduated, I worked for a small social enterprise and I did everything.

It gave me the opportunity to learn about a lot of different aspects of the business…

Because I worked for a small company, I did everything from social media to communications to supporting the website team and planning events across North America. It gave me the opportunity to learn about a lot of different aspects of the business, and from there, it was social media (and digital marketing)that I really gravitated towards and moved into.

When I graduated, and I got my first job eight years ago, social media wasn’t what it is now. It was still very small, companies were just starting to use it.

It was  a risk for me as a commerce graduate that specialized in marketing, to go into the social media world. But I saw the opportunity in it, and I’m really glad I stuck with it, because it’s brought me to one of the world’s largest brands.

4) Find a good fit.

Any candidates that make it through our initial screening process will get a call from one of our lovely recruiters. Our recruiters talk to the candidate about the role and their experience to just see if they’re a good fit before they move them to the next stage in the interview process.

The second stage would be meeting with a hiring manager—in this case it would be myself. I’ll meet with the candidate to assess their skills for the role. Afterwards, what I like to do is have the team meet with the candidate— I think that’s a good way of checking if the candidate would be a cultural fit.

Usually, I’ll give the candidate and existing team members 30 minutes just to have a casual conversation with one another. I find it really goes a long way.

It’s a great way to test the candidate’s creativity and see how they work under tight timelines.

Then I like to have the candidate complete a case study or test. I give them 30 minutes to work on it and present their ideas. It’s a great way to test the candidate’s creativity and see how they work under tight timelines. And if the candidate passes that stage, the final step would be to meet with our head of digital.

5) Put your heart in it.

When I’m looking to hire candidates, there are always 4 things I’m looking for; experience, passion, eagerness to innovate and pride in doing a good job.

Although experience is an important factor for me, someone who is eager and takes pride in their work will undoubtedly do whatever it takes to deliver great work.

I want to make sure I’m hiring the right people that are a cultural fit, who are ambitious and innovative.

That’s very important to me. As I’m building a team here at McDonald’s, I want to make sure I’m hiring the right people that are a cultural fit, who are ambitious and innovative.

I think this goes back to something I said earlier, if you network well, reach out to professionals and show them how ambitious you are – and your potential, it will help you land a job.

6) Be patient.

Be patient with the process. I think a lot of graduates expect to have a job that’s exactly what they’re looking for right out of school. It takes time.

Stay focused. Keep looking for opportunities to intern, build your resume and work hard. It will pay off.

 

Four chances at $250 to McDonald’s

How would you spend $250 to McDonald’s?

Would you space it out and have free McDonald’s for the next year or two? Or would you spend it all in one shot and throw literally the most memorable Big Mac-themed party ever?

One lucky student is gonna be faced with the tough call.

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.
Chris D’Alessandro

Chris D’Alessandro

Chris D’Alessandro is the Communications Manager at Student Life Network. He puts words together in fancy ways and has more cover-up tattoos than he'd care to admit.