Windsor Job Search
Finding Jobs on Your Own
Some people believe that the difference between those who find jobs and those who do not is simply luck, but this is not normally the case. Those who find jobs are successful because they know how to conduct an effective job search. They devise a thorough plan and have a good strategy.
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Looking for a job is matter of attitude. Assume a positive attitude. Remember, as a student or graduate you are now looking for the job you want. People who have already decided they do not have a chance, are not likely to succeed. Rate the following statements “True” or “False”, taking note of those that rated false, determining what you might do to improve.
- I am pleased with my self-image.
- I have fulfilled some of my personal goals.
- I consciously work toward achieving my goals.
- I know what obstacles may stand between me and my goals and have devised a plan to get around them.
- I have a long-range career objective.
- I am confident the career program I have now is helping me reach that objective.
- I am continually developing my technical skills.
- I am continually developing my social skills.
- My career plan is flexible enough that I am free to alter it if I so desire.
- I have an up-to-date resume prepared.
- I seek advice and guidance of others to get an objective view on my career.
- I thoroughly prepare before job interviews, so I know as much as possible about the company and position I am applying to.
- I prepare questions to ask at an interview.
- I do my best to look neat and act courteous at an interview.
- I treat all my co-workers/students with fairness, honesty and respect.
You must organize your job search. To do this intelligently you must understand and utilize all available sources of information. The people you know are one of the best sources available to you, yet one that initially is not properly utilized. Pride is a big factor here. Not many people like to admit that they are looking for a job. However, if you approach others for their help and advice, they will be responsive. Contacts should not only include people you know professionally, but also those you know socially. Don’t overlook anyone. This process is often referred to as “networking”.
Since a high percentage of job vacancies are filled by referrals, it is important that you begin to develop your network. A good place to start is by listing people who are part of your network. Possible contacts can include:
- fellow students/colleagues
- current and former employers
- business associates
- friends and relatives
- religious and political leaders
- social and community contacts
- former teachers
- coaches and team members
Touch base with each one of your contacts and make them aware of your situation. Even though they may not have anything specific to offer, they can give you valuable leads. Don’t let it stop there! Ask if they can make contacts for you, or get permission to use their names. This will open doors because it constitutes an endorsement which will have some impact. You may be given names of people you do not know. Begin pursuing these leads. This helps to advance the process of networking. Directories of professional and technical societies can also serve as a source for names of people. These are available in libraries and employment centres.
You can make the employer’s job of finding talented, motivated students much easier by taking your own initiative in approaching employers that are involved in a field of work that attracts your interest.
Work Search Steps
1. Identify your interests, skills and knowledge level.
- What careers, work, hobby activity are you interested in?
- What skills do you have from your past education, volunteer, part-time/full-time job?
- What knowledge have you gathered from past education, life experience and from simply “doing”?
Employability Skills 2000+
Designed to help students, youth and adults making work transitions to identify and develop their employability skills. Spotlights transferable skills needed to enter, stay in and progress in the work world. For more on Employability Skills 2000, and the TOOL KIT, click on the above link.
2. Establish your career opportunities.
What are you looking for in the long term?
- Identify short, medium and long term goals with realistic action steps to achieve those goals.
- These goals need to reflect personal, educational, and career expectations.
3. Prepare/update your resume.
- Your resume is a sales tool and one of the first steps in work search.
- You might only have 5-10 seconds to attract the readers interest, so your resume is serious business and requires considerable effort on appearance & content.
4. Assess the job market through research.
- What job careers are out there and how prominent are they where you live?
- What careers are destined for strong futures?
- What are the salary/remuneration expectations from available careers?
5. Develop job search techniques and strategies.
Include networking, self-marketing, telephone handling, effective job fair attendance, classified advertising review.
OUC’s Co-op Education & Student Employment Services Centre has a very user friendly website that should be utilized by all students.
6. Develop appropriate cover letters and other correspondence.
No more than three paragraphs explaining who you are, why you are qualified, ask for the interview/job.
7. Prepare for interviews.
Understand interview phrases, know your personal skills checks, review interview questions & checklists, etc.
Be sure to practice.
8. Follow up and follow through!
Be sure to stay in touch with the networks you create.
Do not refrain from asking questions regarding hiring plans for the future.
Maintain a scheduled regular routine of contact with those firms you are most keen to be employed by and who would have appropriate opportunities for you.
9. Accept the position of your choice!
- Be persistent with your efforts.
- If you have done your homework you will know if the opportunity is right for you when it comes around.
- Employability Skills Profile
- The Critical Skills Required of the Canadian Workforce
- Academic Skills
Those skills which provide the basic foundation to get, keep and progress on a job and to achieve the best results.
Canadian employers need a person who can:
- Understand and speak the languages in which business is conducted
- Listen to understand and learn
- Read, comprehend and use written materials, including graphs, charts and displays
- Write effectively in the languages in which business is conducted
- Think critically and act logically to evaluate situations, solve problems and make decisions
- Understand and solve problems involving mathematics and use the results
- Use technology, instruments, tools and information systems effectively
- Access and apply specialized knowledge from various fields (e.g. skilled trades, technology, physical sciences, arts and social sciences)
- Continue to learn for life
- Personal Management Skills
The combination of skills, attitudes and behaviours required to get, keep and progress on a job and to achieve the best results. Canadian employers need a person who can demonstrate:
1. Positive Attitudes and Behaviours
- Self-esteem and confidence
- Honesty, integrity and personal ethics
- A positive attitude toward learning, growth and personal health
- Initiative, energy and persistence to get the job done
- The ability to set goals and priorities in work and personal life
- The ability to plan and manage time, money and other resources to achieve goals
- Accountability for actions taken
- A positive attitude toward change
- Recognition of and respect for people’s diversity and individual differences
- The ability to identify and suggest new ideas to get the job done – creatively
- Teamwork Skills
Those skills needed to work with others on a job and to achieve the best results.
Canadian employers need a person who can:
1. Work with Others
- Understand and contribute to the organization’s goals
- Understand and work within the culture of the group
- Plan and make decisions
- Respect the thoughts and opinions of others in the group
- Exercise “give and take” to achieve group results
- Seek a team approach as appropriate
- Lead when appropriate, mobilizing the group for high performance
The Employability Skills Profile was developed by the Corporate Council on Education
Here are five ways for job-seeking grads to distinguish themselves in a competitive market:
1. Build a network
Do you have any professional contacts in your area of study or field of expertise? If not, start making connections. Attending industry events, joining a professional umbrella organization or engaging with people working in the field to ask about key needs in their area can help build your network, Ms. Khamisa said. “That’s the really powerful thing in a job search when it’s a tighter market – to get that face time with people who are in the field you’d like to work in.”
2. Explore, then reach out
While many people will be keen to “jump right into job-search mode,” Ms. Khamisa said that’s not the best way to start a relationship with a potential contact.
The job search should be a time of exploration. It’s often easier when individuals are initially seeking information and learning about a particular industry and the needs of an organization before hunting for a specific position, she noted.
“Reaching out and connecting takes courage … and I guarantee you there will be times where people don’t get back to you or are just too busy or aren’t receptive,” she said. “But the magic happens when you persevere and you keep going. And eventually, you will connect with a group of people who will help you and support you as you move forward.”
When you reach the stage where you’re submitting applications, a follow-up call is another way to show initiative, said Danielle Bragge, a partner with The Headhunters, a nation-wide recruitment firm.
It can be as simple as introducing yourself, mentioning your interest in the job you’ve applied for, and highlighting three quick reasons you’d make a great addition to the team, Ms. Bragge said. “When we do get those calls, I tell you, it takes the résumé from the bottom of the pile to the top of the pile,” she said. While most résumés are directed to human resources, it’s worthwhile to make the call, she added. “It may not go anywhere, but it’s the difference between great and ordinary.”
3. Give your CV a hook
Planning to blanket multiple companies with identical versions of your CV and cover letter? Don’t do it.
The most common mistake made by job applicants is failing to tailor the document to each position and employer, Ms. Bragge said from Edmonton. “They really need to look closely at what are some of the key factors that employers are asking for,” she said.
If a company says it is looking for someone to work in a fast-paced environment, use that as a chance to emphasize your experiences in that capacity, be it within a volunteer program or a past project, Ms. Bragge said.
Your résumé also needs to have a hook that distinguishes you from other applicants, she added. Even experiences not directly related to the job in question are worthy to consider including, such as being in a Toastmasters Club or playing sports, she said. “Anything that shows they have the motivation and the initiative needs to be included in their résumé.”
4. Practice digital diligence
Many organizations use social networking sites such as LinkedIn for recruitment purposes, and Ms. Khamisa said establishing an online profile can offer added benefits. Beyond fostering connections, job seekers can be exposed to professional groups who convene online, she noted.
And clean up your online presence, such as your Facebook page, because employers could be watching, Ms. Bragge said.
5. Cultivate skills
Simply having the right diploma isn’t sufficient any more; students have to develop their employability, said Bruno Castilloux, manager of career services at the University of Ottawa. “Transferrable skills are the new currency in the labour market,” he said. An engineer, for example, could highlight his or her writing skills, such as reports, in addition to expertise and training in the field.
While new grads understandably want work in their chosen field, Mr. Castilloux noted that taking a job in an unrelated area is another good way to obtain experience and develop skills.