Job Search Tips & Resources
Finding a great job is not
just a matter of having the right credentials. The search itself
involves a variety of challenges and rewards. With a positive attitude,
it can be a terrific learning experience. Along the way you can
gain invaluable skills, knowledge and experience.
(1) Set some goals, make a
Take some time to think and write
about where you are today ...and where you'd like to be. What are
your hopes, values and dreams? What would you like to be doing if
anything was possible? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Roles
you've enjoyed, not enjoyed, would like to develop further? Set some
specific, achievable goals that will set you off in the right
direction. Then write down steps (a plan) on how will work towards
(2) Get connected
Subscribe to lists, websites and
publications that carry job postings. Just as important, sign up for
those that *aren't* outwardly about employment, but cover issues and
topics that interest you. You'll learn a lot; hear about related
events, networking and volunteer opportunities; and be among the
first to see any postings that come up. Create a folder of bookmarks
to your favourite job search sites and organizations.
(3) Get involved
If all you do is look for advertised
jobs, you're missing a lot. To learn about "hidden" opportunities,
become an active member of the community. Find issues and
organizations that interest you íV then participate at events,
volunteer, get involved!
(4) Demonstrate your
Demonstrate your abilities through
your words and actions. This applies to your communications; your
job search process; volunteering; plus all other interactions with
potential employers or coworkers. Saying that you have what it takes
is no match for demonstrating it in action.
(5) Research before you apply
If you're interested in a posting,
read it thoroughly. Take notes. Make a printout and use a
highlighter. Look around the organization's website, including the
"About" or "Organization" sections. Do a quick internet search on
the organization, sector, issue or role. If you have time, go to the
library or a bookstore. What you learn could prove invaluable even
if you don't get hired for the particular position.
(6) Be professional
Be professional íV neither too formal
nor too informal íV in all your communications with the employer. Pay
particular attention to the application requirements. Do they want a
resume? (If in doubt, a resume and cover letter is usually the best
bet). How and when do they want it submitted? If you don't do what
is asked íV or in any way make things inconvenient for the employer íV
you're putting yourself at a disadvantage.
(7) Show some attitude
Show some attitude ...and respect.
Try to put yourself in the employer's shoes and think about their
needs, obstacles and limitations. Think about how you could be of
value to them. If you've ever been an owner or manager, you know how
much it takes to run an organization or project (and how much of
this is taken for granted). Your search is likely to be much more
successful if you approach it with initiative, creativity and a
positive attitude. Nobody "owes" you a job íV the future will be what
you contribute to and create.
(8) Improve, improve, improve
Remember that the employer knows
nothing about you except what s/he can deduce from your application.
There is an art and science behind writing a resume. It's all about
effective communication íV and is not as obvious as it might seem.
Your cover letter and resume should *demonstrate* your purpose,
clarity of mind and more. By improving your written materials,
you're also improving your self- awareness and communication skills.
(9) Write great cover letters
Try to anticipate the employer's
questions. Why are you interested in this job? Why do you think
you'd do well in this position? How would you overcome any missing
skills or roadblocks? What have you done in the past íV paid,
volunteer or at school íV that demonstrated your interest, ability
and commitment? Spend time on your cover letter and make a great
(10) Act quickly
Even if the deadline is weeks or
months away, it's good to apply as soon as possible. Sometimes the
later applications aren't considered as thoroughly (or at all). On
the other hand, if you've just missed a deadline but are really
interested in an opportunity, there's no harm in trying.
(11) Respect the employer's
The person who is doing the hiring
also has many other responsibilities and may not have time to talk
or correspond with applicants. Do your own research, if at all
possible. Don't ask for more information unless you really need it
and it's not available in the posting or on their website. If the
posting says "no phone calls", don't! Write down your questions and
ask them after the employer has shown interest, such as at the
(12) Create your own job
When most people look for work, they
compete for existing jobs. Why not create your own? There's no lack
of things that need doing. Do some research, participate in events,
volunteer, etc. Then write a proposal to an organization that
interests you, demonstrating how you and your project or idea could
help them achieve their goals. If they like your idea, they might be
able to fundraise for it. Or you could write a grant proposal or
other fundraising ideas, for their consideration. If you can't find
an existing organization, start your own.
(13) Don't be discouraged
Don't let yourself be discouraged.
It's been said that every job search is a series of No's followed by
a Yes. Each "No" takes you one step closer to the moment when both
you and the employer say Yes. Keep a positive attitude and make the
best of what you learn along the way!