STEP 1 - SELF-ASSESSMENT & TARGET YOUR JOB SEARCH
Assess what you have to offer and the kind of position you want right now, and evaluate which types of jobs you want to work towards for the future. Be realistic about the kinds of jobs you are qualified to do based on your present experience and qualifications. Set a few job targets that fit your skills, experience, education and potential in the now - this allows yoOto focus your job search. It's much easier to find something when you know what you are looking for and what it looks like.
- Know the positions that interest you -What are they called? Do you know what they do? (find more information through occupational profiles on the Alberta Learning Information Service: www.alis.alberta.ca)
- Research employers. Take advantage of opportunities to meet and network with employers.
- Attend information sessions and career fairs; conduct informational interviews; join associations as a student member; check out company websites.
- Know what you have to offer these employers & positions- Identify your qualities, transferable skills and experiences so you will be able to effectively market yourself.
STEP 2 - iDENTIFY SOURCES OF JOB LEADS & RESEARCH THEM
Be proactive in your job search. Don't rely solely on job postings or employers coming to campus. Use all the resources available to you and make direct contact with employers who interest you. Identify the sources of job leads and use them all. Talk to your friends, family, and personal contacts. Your own personal network is one of your best sources of job leads as people know people, who know people, whose jobs cross multiple employers and industries.
Go beyond publicized positions as 80% of the available jobs are never advertised and are found in the 'hidden' job market through pro-active methods like:
regular networking with personal contacts
talking to people in your field at field related conferences
contacting professional associations for resources, leads & field specific job boards
locating government resources & industry specific job boards
looking for employers offering 'internships' or 'new graduate development programs'
making cold calls to HR departements to introduce yourself and your skill set
utilizing government & private employment support offices
and so on...See CES Job Search & Networking Workshops for more support.
Remember, attitude is everything. The ability to approach employers with confidence, to demonstrate your skills, and focus on your accomplishments with a positive willingness to learn and adapt will help you to remain competitive.
STEP 3 - MARKET YOURSELF ON PAPER
Applying for jobs involves preparing documents, online applications & other marketing methods that will need your thought, time and focused consideration for the jobs you are seeking and the employers you are targeting. Be sure to communicate and give examples of how you have already demonstrated the skills most relevant to the employer. You should consider various paper & online strategies:
Prepare a 'targeted resume' - focus on the specified needs of the position (reference the job posting for details) and then one-by-one, write how you meet these skills, qualities and qualifications in the bullets of your resume. Consider a 'combination resume' format that highlights relevant skill statements and/or skill sections in addition to related work experience and volunteer involvement that shows generosity.
Prepare a 'targeted cover letter' - introduce yourself to the employer with a sincere and personalized description of why you are writing (state the job title & the name of the organization), what your most relevant skills and experience are for the position, and how your passion, qualities, background and career interest would make you an excellent addition to their team.
Develop a personal contact card/calling card - which is similar to a business card but features YOUR personal contact information PLUS a quick summary of 4 or 5 strength points of your experience, education, skills and transferable qualities. Personal contact cards should be professional looking, create interest by their design, and be informative to employers in your field of work. Exchanging business and contact cards at workshops, conferences & personal interactions is a good way to market yourself and keep in touch with people via followup.
Create a Career/Employment Portfolio for interviews - a binder or folder of relevant documents that you show to employers to support interview responses or field related conversations where you can highlight your verbal description by showing a physical example of a project or program you lead, a computer document you developed, or a degree/training you completed.
Consider attending a Group Workshop to enhance your job search strategies. Topics covered include Resume and Cover letters (targeting your documents); Job Search and Networking (organizing your search and connecting with employers) and Career Portfolios (demonstrating your abilities).
STEP 4 - MARKET YOURSELF IN PERSON
Talk to people & make a positive in-person impresssion. Get out there and meet people who you know & moreover, people you SHOULD KNOW! Get involved in your community through volunteering - that is where you can show your skills to professional people who are also volunteering and be sought after for your demonstrated skills, initiative, teamwork and positive personality before any jobs are advertised! Attend a CES Job Search & Networking Workhops.
Attend field specific & skill development workshops or training. Usually offered by your professional association and/or continuing education programs at local colleges. Remember - professional development is required within each person's job and so this is a good place to meet and network with professionals & employers in your field of work.
Attend professional conferences in your field - what better way to meet future colleagues and employers who may be hiring, than to meet them as equals at a field-related conference. You are able to have conversations with people (& even employers) about their areas of work, professional interests, knowledge of employers, and organizations hiring talent.
Prepare for interviews. The keys to reducing anxiety and doing well in a job interview are realistic expectations and thorough preparation. Go in with an interview strategy -what does the employer most need to know about how your skills fit the job? How can you best demonstrate your skills? Practice, practice, practice talking about your skills and abilities. Be confident in your preparation and your ability to do the job and it will show in your voice and your choice of words and examples in the interview. Look & act professionally - choose an interview outfit that is comfortable, shows confidence, and is suitable for the position. Put your best foot forward. Attend a CES Interview Workshop (Researching, preparing and delivering in person)