Job hunting outside the box

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If you’re anything like me, you’re going to spend at least part of Reading Week thinking about and looking for a post-graduation job. And, if you’re anything like me, you’ve also been looking for a while with no luck.

I started to get a bit of tunnel vision recently, only applying for jobs directly related to my degree. Basically, only applying for the fantasy entry-level jobs I think I should be getting after four years of hard work and tens of thousands of dollars in tuition fees and living expenses.

But then I remembered the newspaper industry isn’t exactly in the best shape right now and, if I really want a job, I’m probably going to have to find something else.

And I also read this recent article on the Boston Globe website, “Who will hire the Class of 2009?”

The good news is that there are pockets of growth in this economy and all of them offer opportunities for new … graduates. The trick is identifying those industries and understanding how to parlay your interests and skills within those fields.

The article is about American graduates finding work in these tough economic times, but its advice can be translated directly to recent grads in Canada. In particular, it identifies a handful of industries which are gaining jobs instead of losing them:

Health care, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology Canadians are living longer than ever. The Baby Boomers and their parents will continue to need an increasing amount of health care, medication and innovation in how we use technology to treat age-related illnesses. While doctors, nurses and scientists are central to this industry, there are policy-related, administrative, communications, financial and other roles which need to be filled in order to keep the industry running smoothly.

Government Governments are making cuts on all levels, but they’re also working hard to pull the country through the recession and will never run the risk of going under like some companies and industries. They don’t usually post their jobs on websites like TalentEgg, but each level of government (federal, provincial, municipal) should have its own website where openings are posted.

Education Like health care, educators require a lot of support to keep everything running smoothly. Especially in tough economic times, families need at least two incomes to stay afloat, so both parents will work or single parents may have to work more than one job. Meanwhile, their kids need to be taught and looked after before and after school. Even if you don’t want to be an educator, there are human resources, administrative, counseling and business opportunities to be had in the education industry, to name a few. Like government jobs, education jobs can often only be found within each board or institution.

If we look at the postings on TalentEgg, thanks to a few companies who are doing really well, the following industries can also be added to the “recession-proof” list here in Canada:

These, in addition to certain types of jobs which span many industries, such as Management and Sales, leave plenty of room for new grads to be flexible and think outside the “box” of their degree.

While you’re looking for jobs over Reading Week and in the months leading up to graduation in April, do yourself a favour: Don’t only search for roles deep within the one industry you’re interested in, but also search widely over many industries for the best chance of landing a meaningful, entry-level role.

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About the author

Cassandra Jowett is TalentEgg's Content Manager. She joined the team as a student intern in the summer of 2008, and since then her heart has never really left the Egg Carton. Cassandra is a recent graduate of the Ryerson University School of Journalism, where she earned a Bachelor of Journalism with a focus in writing and editing for newspapers. She has also written and edited for The Globe and Mail, The National Post, t.o.night newspaper and other publications.