New Year, New Job Search Strategies

This morning, the Globe and Mail released an overview of the latest unemployment figures from Statistics Canada – data which should not come as a surprise to anyone who was watching the job boards in December 2013:

“The Canadian economy unexpectedly shed 45,900 jobs in December, the steepest decline in nine months, led by a drop in full-time positions. […] Canada’s job growth slowed by year’s end as a string of companies, from Sears Canada Inc. to Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. and BlackBerry Ltd., announced job cuts while a wave of manufacturers, particularly in Central Canada, said they plan to close plants. Through 2013, job gains in Canada averaged 8,500 a month, a sharp drop from the average of 25,900 new positions per month in 2012” (Grant, January 2014).

Consequently, one has to wonder what the job forecast will look like into 2014. Workopolis suggests that it can predict job and career growth into 2020 in this article, and though I’m skeptical of their accuracy right up to this date I agree with their general assessments. Any jobs which can be automated are in danger of being ‘phased out’ while careers in healthcare will continue to boom in tandem with an aging population (Harris, January 9th, 2014). Technology and business careers are expected to remain in demand but professionals in these fields must work particularly hard to stay at the cutting edge of their field (Harris, January 9th, 2014).

Given the shifting and fluid state of the technology industry, Michal Tsur suggests that non-tech savvy individuals consider applying to jobs in this field, because:

  • “Like any other skill, tech skills can be learned on the job. These days, a lot of job training is done informally, through observation, interactions with co-workers and hands-on projects. […]
  • The number one benefit of working in technology is the ability to create products and solutions that impact many people’s lives – all in a short period of time. […]
  • If you’re smart, extremely curious, interested to learn and have been a hard worker in your non-tech background, you’ll be well on your way to a job in tech” (Tsur, 2014).

If you’re starting 2014 in a job search slump, perhaps a tech company could use your skill sets in new and exciting ways (consider also social media platforms like Hootsuite). If you’d rather not deviate from your current career path, however, here are some additional tips to revamp your job search in 2014 (see the full description of these tips by Mary Gay Townsend here):

  • Be a unique candidate by presenting personal experiences, preferences, and career goals
  • Remain open-minded towards all job titles, including those in compliance, human resources, and administration – all can be satisfying and worthy careers
  • Consider the content of your social media profile, and what it says about you as a potential employee
  • Go to every interview prepared to land the job, not gather information
  • Focus your own social media efforts into the forums where your desired employers gather to converse and share
  • Network with both same-age peers and more senior staff members; both can be equally influential in landing a job
  • Be honest about what you can offer to an employer

Although not listed by Ms. Townsend, it’s also important to focus on applying to jobs for which you are fully qualified and fairly devoted to obtaining (Harris, January 7th, 2014). Though sending out more applications may not increase your chances of getting an interview, sending out better applications does (Harris, January 7th, 2014).

Take for example Karen Cheng, who learned from an early college rejection letter that investing a lot of time, effort, and creativity into getting where she wanted to be allowed her to turn failure to her advantage (Cheng, December 2013). She then put 100 hours into her job application with Evernote, which was ultimately a failed attempt but lead her to a satisfying job nonetheless (Cheng, December 2013).

There are a lot of tips out there about how to find a job, but every person’s situation is going to be unique. Video resumes are emerging as a way to showcase your individual talents and land the job of your dreams (see for example the story of Dawn Siff here and read  up on how to create a video resume here).

Good luck, job seekers!

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