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If you’re searching for a job, you already know there are a lot of elements you can make use of to improve your chances of landing your dream job. There are the essentials like having a resume and cover letter along with using online job search engines, but then there are also the tools you may not have thought of like job search forums, online networking and targeted job searches.
The Canadian job market is definitely seeking more talent right now. There are worker shortages in various fields and regions that you can take advantage of. Whether you are new to Canada, need a change or are graduating from an education program, you’re likely to be looking at the available jobs in Canada and want to get your career moving. It’s always best to start early (meaning start now) because even though there are many job postings, finding a great job will take time. Those people who are hiring are selective and you need to put time in to present yourself in the best light possible.
Here are five ways how:
A top-notch resume doesn’t get you a job. It gets you an interview. In order to get the job, you need to make it to that essential stage and your custom-crafted resume is the only way to do it. Scan job posts that interest you and find the key elements hiring managers and recruiters are looking for. If a point on your resume doesn’t tell the story of how you can do what the job post asks for, take it out – you can mention these parts of your career in an interview if they come up, but for the most part, think of your resume as the way you are selling a product (you) to fit a need (the job description). If the product does things outside of filling that need, that’s great, but you don’t need it in the tool that has a minuscule amount of time to get attention – and the interview.
Make sure you customize your resume for each job you apply for. It may be a line or two that changes or complete sections but if you remember the tip above (you’re selling to a specific need), it will help guide you in the revision process. Look at a job bank like Indeed.com and compare jobs in your field. You’ll quickly see there are some common elements that will stay in the resume and there are areas that need to be modified for each job you’re applying for.
When you think your resume is ready to go, use a tool like rezscore.com or resume worded.com to see how it ranks. There’s also jobscan.co to see how your resume matches up with a job bank description in today’s world of resume bots that scan and narrow the applicant pile down. Most companies are using robotic/analytical systems to review resumes, so seeing how yours stacks up before sending it off is simply a smart play.
Your resume tells the story of your past. Your cover letter tells the story of your present and future. No matter what you do, if there are instructions in the job posting about what to include/not include, do/not do with your cover letter, be sure to follow those instructions EXACTLY. That includes adding one if it’s requested and even if it’s not requested. The only time to not include a cover letter is when the career posting specifically says to not add one to your application.
Don’t fall into the trap of listing your jobs, education and accomplishments in your cover letter (these things are your past). Instead, focus on why you want to work for this company and include a captivating introduction (often called a hook) better than the boring “I saw your job posting and decided to apply”.
For example, if you’re applying for office jobs, consider an opening line that ties into the job description. “The first time I sat down at a computer, I knew I would love creating letters, spreadsheets and reports for the rest of my life.” Search online for other ideas to make your cover letter go from “ho-hum” to “wow, let’s check out the resume that goes with this.”
LinkedIn is your friend when it comes to a job search. Those in a position to hire are going to look at your social media presence, so make sure your LinkedIn profile is as professional as your resume – albeit a little more generic to the field you are applying for. Interact in related LinkedIn job forums and other groups in your field by posting and answering questions. This allows you to show your expertise and knowledge. Don’t forget to clean up your Twitter feed if you have anything offensive or even borderline, the same goes for Instagram, Pinterest or any other social media tool you use or have used in the past. Follow the rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t proudly tell it to your grandmother, delete it.
Use LinkedIn to connect with the manager or supervisor in the department of the company you are targeting. Spend time getting to know what these people are interested in within your field and connect with them on a professional level. Generic greetings are unlikely to get you where you want to be, so be sure to include something specific about common interests and something you know about the company to gain their attention in a positive way.
Make a list of the 25 to 50 companies you’d love to work for. Seek out people in those companies on LinkedIn and use the connection method noted above. While your target companies may not be hiring, someone they know in the same industry might be.
There are so many free job-seeking resources online that it’s impossible to list more than a few. Check out job-hunt.org for job search tips, jibberjobber.com to help you keep your job search organized and hunter.io for contact information.
Don’t forget one of your best free resources – practicing your interviewing skills with someone you know and trust.
It’s a great economy for job seekers in Canada so follow the tips that show how valuable you. With the right approach, you will avoid being skipped over and rise to the top in terms of a hiring manager’s choices.