Dear Working Wise:
I am about to graduate with a diploma in business administration. I’m really excited to get out there and start working, but I’m a little worried about the competitive job market. Do you have any tips to help me land my first job? Signed, Eager Graduate
Alberta’s job market has improved over the past two years—our unemployment rate has dropped below six per cent, but it is still a competitive job market, especially for new graduates. Here are some ideas and tips to help you break into the job market.
Use your school
Ask your instructors or the chair of your program for advice and suggestions about where to look for jobs. Put your school’s career services office to work for you. These offices usually provide help with resumés and job searches. Employers interested in hiring new graduates also often post jobs with schools.
Polish your resume
Is your resume representing you as well as it should? Recruiters spend as little as 30 seconds glancing at your resume—does your resumé scream “I’m perfect for this job”?
Target your resume and cover letter to each specific job by listing your most relevant skills, qualifications, training, accomplishments and experience right at the top. Fill your resume with key words from the job posting.
Eliminate errors and ensure your resume looks as professional as you are. Always include a cover letter with your resume and use it to explain why you are the perfect candidate for the job.
Want an expert opinion on your resumé? Use the free e-Resume review service at http://alis.alberta.ca.
Attend job fairs
Did you know that there are job fairs happening all year long around the province? Find out about upcoming job fairs near you at http://employment.alberta.ca/jobfairs.
Put the Job Bank to work for you
Most job seekers know about the Canada-Alberta Job Bank www.jobbank.gc.ca, but did you know about its Resumé Builder, Job Match and Job Alert features? Job Match allows you to advertise your job profile to employers and receive a list of matching jobs. Job Alert emails you job openings that match your search criteria.
Let your network of friends, family and teachers along with your former employers know that you are looking for a new job. Some people estimate that fewer than half of all jobs are actually advertised. Networking is a great way to tap into that hidden job market.
Send everyone you know an email 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, clean up, and use your social networking sites, like Facebook and Linked-In.
Expand your job search
Some grads make the mistake of limiting their job search to a specific occupation, industry, or organization type. Take inventory of your transferable skills—like organizational, computer, and time-management skills—and consider opportunities in related occupations and industries. Don’t forget to check out small businesses and not-for-profit organizations.
Register with recruitment agencies
Some employers rely on word-of-mouth and recruitment agencies to fill their positions. Registering with recruitment agencies is free, takes very little time, and is another great way to tap into the hidden job market. You can start by checking out http://alis.alberta.ca/js/ws/jp/jobpostings/ea.html.
Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at email@example.com. Charles Strachey is a regional manager with Alberta Employment and Immigration. This column is provided for general information.