Getting a real job
How do you find your place after graduation?
he fear of not finding a job seems to be increasing all the time for a lot of graduates. The idea that one degree is not enough, or that there is no room for new grads in the workforce is always perpetuated and instills a fear in students set to graduate.
The country has been recovering for a long time from the economic downturn but it’s still not at the same level it was a decade ago. That means less jobs…right? Calgary is a thriving and expanding city with lots to offer, so is getting a job as tough as it actually seems?
“The economy is not as strong as it was quite a few years ago, there’s still less positions, more part-time positions but definitely there are lots of opportunities for graduates,” says Patsy Valenzuela, Mount Royal University Career Services supervisor.
“You have to figure out how your own industry hires,” says Valenzuela.
There may be fewer jobs but are still available. There are still sectors that are harder to find jobs in, but that has always been the case according to Valenzuela.
Competition is still fierce in the big city; fewer jobs often have more people applying to them. Career Services has a job board which has lots of opportunities, but some people only look there when getting out of school. It’s important to look elsewhere as well, expand your search, ask around and network to see if any companies are hiring.
“Networking within Calgary is paramount, it’s a large city but it’s still small enough to have those distinct communities and industries,” says Avera Davidoff, registered psychologist at Calgary Career Counseling.
“What a lot of new grads do is they rely on their resume and their degree to get them the job as opposed to using some of their assets that don’t get show-cased on a resume such as personality, or networking,” says Davidoff.
If you want to work right after you graduate, start looking months in advance if possible with a minimum of six weeks. If you are looking to work in the oil and gas industry, most of their job postings for new grads go up in the fall, which is almost a full year before you will walk down to grab your diploma.
Here are some tips to help you find a job and have a successful career after you graduate:
This is huge. Most people still prefer to meet face-to-face, so start going to industry events and getting more involved with the people you hope to work with in the future. Don’t carry around your resume or ask for a job from everyone you meet, but do tell people about who you are and what your goals are.
Keeping good connections is really helpful in being recommended for other jobs in the future and perhaps even bypassing some of the gates that prevent you from getting there now.
Make sure to cater your resume to your industry. Highlight jobs you have done that have helped you acquire skills you will need for your future and make them prominent on the page. There are services at MRU and all over the city that specialize in helping people with their resumes. These are professionals that know what things you should have on your resume.
3. Do more
A degree is often not enough anymore. Employers want a well-rounded student, someone who has volunteer experience and shows interests in other fields. Having a part-time job, being involved in leadership opportunities and perhaps even doing a co-op will help you develop your skills and help you meet even more people who can help you when you graduate.
The job market is not as bleak as it’s made out to be. Jobs are available but often employers want more than just a degree. Develop your skills and meet new people, it will enhance your resume and make you more desirable to employers. Most importantly don’t wait till last minute to start applying for jobs. Give yourself plenty of time so you don’t start to get desperate around convocation and look at more than just the school job board to stay ahead.
Make sure you also use a resume format that can be read by online job systems. These applicant tracking systems may have problems with tables, text boxes, columns, funky fonts, and headers and footers. If that is the case, the information may be garbled or not read.
Author, Get the Job: Optimize Your Resume for the Online Job Search