You’ve finished post-secondary and have graduated with your academic qualifications in hand. Try these 4 practical steps and be ready for the job market.
To find the job you want, you need a clear understanding of your skills. You also need to know where to look for jobs and how to know which jobs are in demand.
1. Identify your skills
When you understand yourself and your skills, you know what sorts of jobs you are qualified to do. Think about the transferable skills you gained during your classes, while working and volunteering, or during an internship. These skills can help offset your lack of experience when you apply for a job.
You don’t always need direct job experience to show employers you have many of the skills they are looking for. If you need help identifying your transferable skills, try the “Skills Sampler” in Assessing You: The First Step in Career Planning.
2. Update your work search tools
Before you start looking for work, take some time to review your work search tools:
- Refresh your knowledge of job search tools.
- Update your resumé, cover letter and references.
- If you have a work-oriented social media profile, make sure it is up to date.
- Prepare for success at your job interviews.
3. Find information about the labour market
Next, find out what jobs might be available and where to focus your attention. Use some of the following resources to learn about short-term labour market trends and current job openings in your chosen field:
- Find Alberta labour market information on more than 550 occupations at OCCinfo. You can learn about short-term employment and job advancement trends, wages and much more.
- You can also find up-to-date information about short-term trends when you check out annual and monthly labour force statistics for Alberta. Also see Skill Shortages in Alberta for reports on monthly vacancy rates by occupational group and industry.
- See Job Market Trends and News for news items about labour market trends in the past 4 weeks for each Canadian province.
- Check Alberta job postings or the Government of Canada Job Bank for job openings and current opportunities.
- See Alberta Industries for Alberta labour market data by industry. Look for analysis of business opportunities as well as facts, news and events for each major Alberta industry.
4. Get the experience you need
You’re ready to show potential employers that you have the training and skills they need. But what if you lack practical experience? What if you can’t find the job you want right away? You may want to increase your knowledge and transferable skills and gain experience while you are looking for a job. Check out these ideas to get started:
- Internships. Apply for an internship to gain valuable experience. You can learn job skills in a workplace setting. Search job banks for internship opportunities.
- Networking. Use your networking skills to contact people who know you. Tell them you are looking for work. Grow your network and get to know people in your chosen field.
- Campus career services. Contact your campus career services office. It may offer help to recent graduates. Explain that you are looking for work or volunteer opportunities. Tell them you want to build your transferable skills, knowledge and work experience so that you are better qualified for the job you want.
- Career fairs. Attend career fairs to make industry contacts and conduct informal interviews with these businesses. Learn about the skills, experience and qualities employers need. Find out about upcoming job openings. Make sure you get the most out of attending a career fair and check one out near you.
- Information interviews. Set up information interviews to show your interest in various companies and learn more about them.
- Career-related jobs. Look for work in a job related to your field of study. For job ideas, visit OCCinfo. Use the search filter to select your general field of study and find related occupations. Then use one of the job banks to look for work. Even a part-time job in a related field may be a great way to gain experience.
- Volunteer opportunities. Consider volunteering. You can gain workplace experience and grow your transferable skills. You can find volunteer opportunities at Go Volunteer. To find a volunteer centre near you, visit Volunteer Alberta.
- Self-employment. If you have skills that are in demand, you may want to consider starting your own business. You might be able to work from home as a freelancer or start up a business in a good location. To get started, see the resources on self-employment and starting a small business.
- Informal learning. If you are looking for hands-on experience, try asking people in your network to teach you a skill or help you explore a new occupation. You can also look for a mentor, someone who can guide you and give you advice about your career.
Find the job you want
It may take time to find the job you want. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t succeed right away. Staying positive, motivated and focused. Eventually, the right job will come along.