Fredericton student will pay if job recommendation leads to work

Most new university grads are at least a little anxious about their prospects of finding a job in their field, but one St. Thomas University student has added another job seeking tool to her repertoire — cold hard cash.

Andrea Robertson, who will graduate in May, is offering $100 to anyone whose job recommendation leads to a position.

Robertson said she first thought of the idea while speaking with her uncle about her anxiety about finding a job.

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"He looked at me, and he was like 'Andrea, I'm your uncle and I had no idea you were looking for a job,'" said Robertson.

Shortly after Robertson took to social media to ask for help finding a job.

"The job hunt contest is just really for my social media and family members to put myself out there and let them know that I'm looking for a job," said Robertson.

Robertson has received feedback about her unorthodox job search strategy.

"A lot of people who are in the same situation have come up to me and sent me links," said Robertson.

Marketing skills

Robertson isn't the only soon to be graduate struggling in the job market. Stats Can reported the unemployment rate for people aged 15-25 in February was 12.4 per cent, the national unemployment rate was 6.6 per cent..

Robert Burroughs, the executive director of the New Brunswick Student Alliance, said there is a misconception that there should be a direct link between high school, post-secondary education and employment. But that is not necessarily the role of universities.

"When you look at what universities are preparing them for it's not necessarily for that direct line between 'Oh I studied this, therefore I must get a job in that," said Burroughs.

Another issue that Burroughs has noticed is that while some fields of study have transferable skills, they may not be presented as such. He said a history major's skills don't end at becoming a historian.

"What a history student tells us is that this person knows how to read, how to research, how to write," said Burroughs.

"In this day and age being able to look at primary and secondary sources and determine certainly whether or not they are credible is a huge boost for employers."

Experience needed

Robertson job hunt has taken a brief sabbatical while she writes exams and prepares final projects, but she will begin again after the school year is complete.

"Job hunting is a full time job and I think everyone is aware of that," said Robertson.

Robertson has received at least one job offer, but turned it down because it wasn't in her field of study. She said a barrier to entering her field is a lack of experience.

"It's really upsetting to be constantly seen as someone who is not capable," said Robertson.

"It's a vicious cycle. It's like I can't get a job because I have no experience but then I have no experience because I can't get a job."

Regardless, Robertson is optimistic her job search will be fruitful in the end.

"I have worked really hard, I have put myself out there," said Robertson.