Please please do a real-world job some time before third year

Will I get a permanent job on graduation?

ActSci Club 2007 worrying link on tough job market

Remember that you'll be competing against graduating students who have had a total of 24 months of work experience with a total of six co-op employers.  Also, an interviewer, who has a boss too, will be tempted to play safe by rehiring a graduate already positively assessed over a four month work term, rather than trust a 30 minute assessment of a non co-op graduate.

Work Experience:  You have to get it yourself - start in 1st or 2nd year.
ACT245, 370 Survey April 2012: half of students have never done paid work
Off-campus work permit programme for foreign students  ( please update me  on experience with this )

Temporary/part-time jobs to improve prospects of permanent employment

Very bad situation at graduation- 'I've never worked':
You might think that you can concentrate solely on getting good grades in university courses and passing SoA/CAS professional exams. But if you take courses every term including summer, you might graduate unemployable. Employers sometimes tell us that they wouldn't hire anyone who has never done any paid work outside the university.   They joke that it's easier to explain to a fish what it's like to live on land than to explain to that graduate the atmosphere of working in a for-profit environment.

Rather better on your resume:
McDonald's  as a student job. Or coffee shops or house-painting or grape-picking or call centres of financial institutions or....try anything.
I stacked supermarket shelves and worked on an auto production line (photo below) - when I wasn't washing dishes in a hotel. Menial labour during university vacations is a North American tradition. 

Quite a bit better-Office jobs: Banks, small companies, try to get jobs as relevant as possible to actuarial. If you have a relative running a business in Beijing or Dubai, maybe ask him/her to employ you at low pay running payroll and inventory spreadsheets and answering phones in their office. Employers tell us that getting work experience is much more important than graduating quickly.  Phone a branch of a temp agency; if they say 'just send a resume', which will be probably be ignored,  then say that, instead, you would like an appointment to talk to them - it's urgent. Try being just a little pushy if necessary, and if no luck then phone another office, maybe of the same agency:
If your English is poor on the phone, try walking into agency branches-with a resume. If you don't have a Canadian passport or PR status then make sure you can otherwise prove to the agency that you can legally work in Canada with zero or minimum form-filling needed from the agency. Don't be as silly as I was, decades ago, and get dazzled enough by the agency to agree to wait for them rather than to try other  employers simultaneously. Agencies help you only if it results in quick, easy fees from employers.

Better yet-Insurance/Pensions related:
claims department job for a few months would boost your resume a lot if you have no actuarial or clerical experience. 

Best: jobs like these: 

Manulife Co-op actuarial deadline July 12, 2012 starts Sept 2012   
We have a late addition to our roles for the Kitchener-Waterloo Actuarial Co-op Program for the fall term so we will need to recruit 1 additional student. Please share the attached posting with any friends or acquaintances still looking for a work term for Fall 2012. The posting closes tonight at 11:59pm. Please feel free to pass on my contact information if they have any questions about the roles or program. It will be a role in Individual Wealth Management in the Pricing Area. Thanks!
Sarah Healey, Program Specialist, Campus Programs | Global Talent Management | Manulife Financial

Manulife 2012+ Co-op Opportunities  in Canada and in Asia for actuarial students. Please contact
Canada:  Marisa Chan,
Asia:  Lindsay Watson,

Advice from Keith and others: your choice what to believe!

Keith Sharp's comments on job hunting
1. Use member search and LinkedIn and Google to investigate firms: - here's potential interviewers working (2013) at GGY Axis, mostly in Toronto.

Chan, Simon - BSc, MMath, CFA
graduated from the University of Toronto in 1994 with BSc (Hons) and graduated from University of Waterloo in 1996 with MMath

Mostafavi, Shahab - MA, MBA, FSA, MAAA, FRM
graduated from University of Toronto in 1980 with BA, obtained MA from York University in 1982 and MBA from University of Toronto in 1992

Lee, Theresa - MBA, FSA, MAAA, FLMI
graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1995 with a BSc in Math and obtained MBA from University of Oklahoma in 2007

Wang, Lucy -
Actuarial Science Co-Op at University of Waterloo

2. We all like eg. Toronto, Vancouver,  San Francisco, Hong Kong  so e.g. Regina, Minneapolis might be easier
3. A way to get your resume noticed in the pile could be to have  attended Toastmasters  (public speaking - preparation for client contact) and giving ten  five-minute speeches to get  a "Competent Toastmaster' certificate;  Clubs close to the campuses are likely to be particularly student-friendly: email and go and try it. Fine for all students, including early-year.
4. Use 'advanced search' of membership at : e.g. get emails of all FSAs in Shanghai or Singapore
5. Take sessions on interviewing skills - typical questions  
student advice
6. Ability in Excel is as essential as ability in breathing
7. Insurance companies in Canada and US mostly also use Axis - grab any chance to learn it
8. Be on LinkedIn, free: 200 million users, 6 million in Canada, hirer might think you are hiding something if not there
9. Even a small name change may mean hirers cannot trace you online. Lots of privacy, no job.

A better advisor would be someone who got an entry-level job in the last few years. We all learn from our mistakes and get better at job-hunting. Start soon after high school - good luck!

Folk giving advice:
Advice on job seach, especially CFA-Related, Globe and Mail Sep 3, 2011
Resume-writing: UTSC Investor 2011 has job ads and, on the popular discussion board, a lot of comments and information, much of it correct. See in particular the forum named 'Careers-Employment'. An October 2009 posting from a Canadian ('up here') :  "As for online postings, most of the people who graduated with me and got hired never applied online. It was either through previous internships or through contacts/referrals. It seems many companies are now preferring this approach (at least up here) as it's often a safer approach in terms of candidate quality + you don't have to sort through 100 CVs to find people." In reality, we all send out a lot of resumes anyway, and put ourselves on job sites, but don't be upset if no hirers respond.
29 year old male graduate, degree topic unknown 2012
Top-ranked comments to the 29 year old
Comments on 29 year old: online search? phone?  walk-in?
Professional Experience Year  2013++
This is successful  in Engineering as a way to compete with co-op students, is used by most Engineering students, and has been available to Arts and Science students since 2009. 
Visa students, also, can seek jobs through the PEY program. has some basic info: 2nd and 3rd years  students are eligible.  Consider applying also for jobs which are not specifically actuarial, especially if they have some financial content. The PEY is very strongly recommended in order to give you a reasonable chance of securing a relevant permanent job after graduating.   Contact Mr. Jose Pereira  or   416-978-3132. Please make very sure that you attend all the preparatory meetings provided by the PEY administrators. Please don't miss the meetings and give the engineers a good reason to stop serving Arts and Science students.