To whom it may concern
When 129,000 jobs turned obsolete in January the focus was the economy. Auto sectors, stock markets and inflation rates became topics of popular interest. But amidst
attention being shed on these issues there are Alberta students about to graduate pondering the struggles they will have to face when stepping into the current job market.
The jobs in question — many are full-time positions — raised the unemployment rate to 7.2 per cent in Canada. In Alberta the rate was pushed to 4.4 per cent from 4.2. And while it was said just last year that Alberta was a students’ market with many job offers available, Mount Royal College has seen a change in venue.
The college has experienced a drop in job opportunities for students and graduates. At this time last year, roughly 40-50 jobs were posted each day, now that number has decreased to 20-30. Graduating students are competing against students from the college and around the province. With fewer positions available for students the emphasis might be put more on requirements. It seems it will take more than sending out numerous resumes and cover letters to land that opportune job.
“Definitely everyone will see some type of impact . . . we’ve heard for so many years there’s not enough people to do the jobs, there’s hundreds of vacancies, now I would say it’s a little bit different because budgets are a little bit tighter,” said Patsy Valenzuela, Mount Royal’s supervisor for Career Education and Employment Development.
“There were a few years where people got very confident in ‘I don’t have to do any work,’ employers were coming to them, employers were coming to the college — they were offering all kinds of signing bonuses and all kinds of extra pieces to make sure that students went to work for them.
“Now I think it’s going to be a little bit more balanced where the students are still going to put quite a bit of effort in to seek out opportunities.”
Cyndi Krastel was within reach of her dream job at a prestigious Calgary investment banking company, when she was informed that an assistant job might become available for her — the only interview she had received in two months. Before excitement had the chance to kick in, however, she was informed that the company was no longer looking for employees.
Having just finished her business degree at the University of Calgary in December, Krastel has spent the past two months applying for any job that is compatible with her qualifications.
“You apply for five, six, 10, 12 jobs a day . . . I used to be picky about it, I’d just pick and choose jobs. Now I’m just like, if it’s going to give me any experience in what I want to be in, then I’m in,” said Krastel, who spent the last four-and-a-half years finishing her degree. “It’s really discouraging when no one calls you back and you don’t get any interviews and then when you do get the interview you don’t get the job.”
To be considered for the job, Krastel used her networks — which she says are crucial when entering the market today — to call the chairmen and request interviews. She encourages students to get as much work experience and volunteer work as they can while going to school.
It is no longer enough to apply simple strategies such as having the resume and cover letter critiqued, practising right interview techniques and researching companies. While those are still extremely important, more drastic measures may be required.
As it turns out, 70 per cent of employment is obtained through networking and cold calls according to Career Services. Students are encouraged to join clubs and associations, attend events and follow trends in their chosen industry.
“This is nothing new as far as job searching, it’s just that a lot of people haven’t had to do it for quite a few years,” said Valenzuela.
The recession affects industries differently — the social assistance and health care sector recently added 31,000 jobs.
“Actually I don’t feel that scared,” admits Mount Royal nursing student Christine Niesman. “I think the people who are almost graduating are worried. I still have three and-a-half years so I still have a ways to go, but students who are just graduating are freaking out because they’re going out there and this is how it is.”
Niesman’s professors have addressed the issue and echoed her positive attitude. There is a hidden job market, as only five to 10 per cent of jobs in most industries get posted, which turns networking into an essential part of the job search. According to Valenzuela employers are unsure as to what jobs — including their own — will be effected and due to these unknowns tend to hesitate when it comes to taking on new students.