Dear Working Wise:
I’ve been looking for a job for two month. I have sent out some resumes, but I’m not having much luck. What else can I do? Signed, Want to Work
Dear Want to Work:
Long job-searches can be disheartening, but don’t give up. Alberta’s unemployment rate has started to come down after a rocky couple of years, employers are starting to hire again, and there are thousands of jobs on the Canada-Alberta Job Bank.
Here are some ideas and tips to help you supercharge your job search and get back to work sooner.
Use your network. Let your network of friends and family along with your former colleagues, classmates, supervisors and supplier contacts know that you are looking for a new job. Some employers have stopped advertising job opportunities, but are still hiring.
Networking is a great way to tap into that hidden job market.
Send everyone you know an e-mail letting them know what kind of job you are looking for along with a quick summary of your skills, training and experience. Attach your resumé if you feel comfortable and don’t forget to update and clean up your social networking (e.g., Facebook) sites.
Register with recruitment agencies. Some employers have stopped advertising job opportunities and are relying on word-of-mouth and recruitment agencies. Agencies will not look for a job for you, but they will call you if you are a good match for a position they are recruiting for.
Registering with recruitment agencies is free, takes very little time, and is another great way to tap into the hidden job market. Some agencies specialize in specific occupations and industries and so it would be a good idea to figure out which agencies are the right ones for you.
Expand your job search. Many people make the mistake of limiting their job search to their specific occupation or industry. Take an inventory of your transferable skills—like organizational, computer, and time-management skills—and consider opportunities in related occupations and industries. For help identifying your transferable skills, visit the ALIS web site (http://alis.alberta.ca) and check out the tip sheets on skills.
Polish your resumé. You have a resumé, but is it representing you as well as it should? Recruiters spend as little as 30 seconds glancing at your resumé—does yours scream “I’m perfect for this job”? Check out the resumé tips on the ALIS web site and put their free online Resumé Review service to work for you.
Attend job fairs. Did you know that there are job fairs happening all year long around the province? Check out upcoming job fairs near you at http://employment.alberta.ca/jobfairs and employer connections events at http://employment.alberta.ca/employerconnections.
Employment & Immigration is holding a first-ever province-wide virtual job fair on April 14. Flint Energy Services needs to hire more than 2,000 staff this year and will be holding a virtual job fair in Alberta Works offices located across the province. For more information, visit http://employment.alberta.ca/jobfairs.
And put your local Labour Market Information Centre (LMIC) to work for you—there are 40 throughout the province. These one-stop job-search centres boast professional career and employment counselors, books and workshops on resumés and job interviews, plus helpful job-search tools, like computers with Internet access, fax machines and photocopiers. To find the LMIC nearest you, visit http://employment.alberta.ca/lmic.
Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Charles Strachey is a regional manager with Alberta Employment and Immigration. This column is provided for general information.