Canada was not as severely affected by the economic downturn as the U.S., but that is little consolation to those Canadians who have been jobless.
The latest job market report shows that 22,000 jobs were added to the economy in December, meaning most of the jobs lost during recession were added back in 2010.
“Changing it up slightly, doing just one thing a little differently can help immensely.” —Mike Gooley, regional vice-president, Robert Half International
Despite this, the unemployment rate still stands at 7.6%. With so many people still looking for work, you can get ahead by trying something new and improved in the New Year.
Mike Gooley, regional vice-president at Robert Half International, the world’s largest specialized staffing firm, says, “It is still a very competitive job market and this is more for individuals that have been on the job hunt for a long time.”
Instead of getting frustrated or giving up, it might help to try new tactics.
1. Reconsider the chronological order
More than 60 per cent of hiring managers prefer receiving chronologically ordered resumés because they show the most recent experience and if there are any long gaps between jobs. Most people use this format exclusively, but a popular alternative is the combination resumé, which has a small chronological section as well as a functional section that focuses on skills and accomplishments.
2. Focus on transferable skills
Focus on skills and technical abilities, and how to leverage them in a new environment. Hiring managers lean toward people with industry experience, but when they can’t find the best fit, they consider applicants who possess the required skill set. For example, if you’ve worked in customer service in the retail industry, that experience can be transferred to healthcare, sales or marketing jobs.
3. Switch up your networking
Use the popular networking sites – LinkedIn (most accepted for professional networking), Facebook and Twitter – to make connections with others working in your field of interest. As more and more human resources personnel use social media to post and promote jobs, you may come across some interesting positions. A word of caution, though: don’t rely heavily on online media. Face-to-face meetings are still the most effective.
- Try job fairs, the local board of trade, networking events and groups (like Meetup.com)
- Prepare a 20-second elevator pitch
- Call companies you would like to work for
- Arrange informational interviews
4. Get a second opinion on your resumé and interview skills
Best places to do this:
- University career centres, job help centres such as YES (Youth Employment Services), COSTI, YMCA and the local Toronto Public Library
- A mentor or peer – get together with a few friends to compare resumés and ideas
- Staffing agencies
- Online – use the resumé templates and examples available on the net
- Practice, practice, practice – keep formatting your resumé and preparing answers to typical interview questions
5. Expand your reach – apply outside of your region
There are numerous opportunities within the GTA, but you should consider applying to other cities based on the industry you want to get into. For example, Kitchener and Waterloo are hotbeds for jobs in the technology sector.
- When using a national job search site, don’t put any location limitations
- Search for roles on the company’s own website
- If you know someone who already works in the industry, talk to them to find out how they got in and if they can link you with any new contacts
Gooley advises to keep it simple, “changing it up slightly, doing just one thing a little differently can help immensely.” With the market picking up again, your next job may be one change away!