Tracy Thomas | October 14, 2022
The Covid-19 pandemic has slowed down, but its effects are still strongly felt across the country, particularly in the labour sector. Recent reports show that 6.8% of Canada’s labour force is unable to find work, and in August, Canada eliminated 40,000 jobs.
Although these statistics are scary, particularly to graduating and recently graduated students, there are practical ways to increase the chances of being hired in today’s job climate. They include:
1. School Job Boards and Alumni Programs
Many institutions, like Edmonton’s University of Alberta and MacEwan University, have alumni programs through their careers departments. These departments generally assist alumni in finding jobs.
“MacEwan has its own job board… and that’s a job board where employers are specifically looking to hire McEwan students. They are posting there because they know they’ve got a student audience,” says Gillian Kemp, director of the MacEwan Career and Experience department.
Some school career departments also offer other services, such as providing advice about various job application stages and career switching and providing alumni access to the school’s job board.
Networking is one of the best ways to get jobs. Statistically, only a fraction of employment opportunities makes it to job boards because employers often fill positions internally or through their networks.
According to Kemp, “80% of jobs get filled gets filled by a network. Somebody recommends somebody to somebody else. Somebody gives somebody an alert that there’s somebody’s hiring. It’s, it’s called the hidden job market.”
Networking could be as simple as connecting with industry professionals or following company profiles on LinkedIn. Other forms of networking include joining professional networks such as the Canadian Journalist Association (CJA) or the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada).
Another great way to network is through job fairs and internships. Alyssa Kawalyshyn, a recent graduate from MacEwan university, got a job offer before she graduated through a summer internship. “My biggest advice would be to find a summer internship or a volunteer position. They go a long way,” she adds.
Similarly, Emily Dawson, a recent graduate from MacEwan university, got a job offer four months before graduation.
“I was a volunteer treasurer while I was in school, and my employers were much more interested in that experience than my schooling… My advice is to see if you can grab a volunteer position because you can use it to bolster your resume… And go to career fairs. Treat them like an interview because that is what potential employers are treating the career fair as,” says Dawson.
3. Switching Careers
Sometimes a career switch is a solution to unemployment. It can be making a switch within a field of study, getting a course upgrade, or completely changing areas.
“I find that other education style jobs pay higher. And have insurance and benefits, compared to the jobs in my career/bachelor,” says Gina Pasaran, a MacEwan University Student.
Similarly, Kassandra Lepage, who graduated with a social works diploma from MacEwan, is back to get an upgrade. “[I] realize[d] I needed my bachelor [degree] to do what I actually want to do. So, I’m back in the bachelor’s program,” she says.
4. Applying to Jobs the Right Way
Job application processes have changed over the years. For instance, job hiring processes are outsourced to specialized hiring companies or automated services to shortlist candidates. It makes extreme care a necessary element to the candidate’s success.
“You can’t just… say, this is who I am as a person, and I have this degree, and I’ve had this work experience… therefore I’d like to have an interview. Maybe you could have gotten away with that 10 years ago and got some interviews…,” says Kemp.
A way to improve the odds of being a shortlisted candidate is through resumes and cover letters. It is crucial to tailor resumes and cover letters to the requirements of the employers, which can be found in the job description.
According to Kemp, “…you only have about 7 seconds to make an impression on the person who’s reviewing your application. So, you want to be sure that what you’re speaking about in your cover letter, and at the top of your resume is the most important things to them.”
Kemp advises that candidates should always submit cover letters, except specifically asked not to do so. The reason is that some recruiters only view resumes if the cover letter engages them. “If you don’t always have a cover letter, 50% of the time, you’re losing,” she adds.
Interviews are another critical aspect of the job application process. Carefully preparing for interviews is essential to leaving a memorable impact on the employer, including choosing the right outfit for the interview.
“Banker is a very safe tire. As much as I hate to buy into the stereotype… I just wouldn’t suggest that your first interview is where you challenge that status quo,” says Kemp.
Although getting hired is a lot harder than it used to be, it is important to stay hopeful, keep applying and use best practices for each application.
*All images downloaded from pexel.com. Featured image courtesy Edmond Dantès.