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Working Wise - Advanced Job Search Tips

Dear Working Wise,

I’m familiar with all the usual job-search advice, but it hasn’t helped me much. Do you have any tips that go beyond the basics?
Signed, Eager to Work

August 2, 2017

Dear Eager:

You may find the Advanced Techniques for Work Search booklet helpful.

The work book covers how to:

  1. Prepare for your work search
  2. Market yourself
  3. Prepare for job interviews
  4. Handle job offers

Many job seekers make the mistake of skipping the first step. In a strong labour market, it might not matter as much. You can just look for another job doing the same thing you were doing before.

But in a more competitive job market, identifying your skills may open up new opportunities.

Step One can help you take an inventory of your skills and accomplishments and walk you through the process of turning your attributes into powerful stories that illustrate your value to employers.

Step Two focuses on marketing yourself and stresses the value of networking. More than 70 per cent of jobs are filled by people who heard about the opportunity from someone they knew.

One surprising tip from the booklet is that acquaintances may be more helpful in your job search than people you know well, because they know about opportunities that you don’t.

The booklet offers tips on how to network with people you know as well as using social media to expand your reach. It also covers how to cold call employers and use employment placement agencies.

If you’re already familiar with networking, you may find the section on understanding the selection process helpful. It tells you how employers screen applications and what employers are looking for in job applicants.

Marketing yourself has a comprehensive section on writing winning resumés, including:

  • Cover letters
  • Resumé types
  • Using keywords
  • Resumé tips and best practices
  • What to include in your resumé
  • Tailoring your resumé to specific jobs
  • Formatting and submitting your resumé

Marketing yourself also explains how to use other marketing tools, including:

  • Proposals
  • Portfolios
  • References
  • Business cards
  • Thank you notes
  • Letters of inquiry

Step Three: Focuses on preparing for the interview and will help you understand the process, anticipate the employer’s questions, provide compelling responses, build your confidence, and project a professional image.

If you are nervous, or just want do your best, attend a job interview workshop. Free workshops and other job-hunting resources are available through your local Alberta Supports or Alberta Works Centres

For more tips and advice, you can speak to a Career Advisor by calling the Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1 (800) 661-3753 or (780) 422-4266 in Edmonton.

Good luck!

Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise at charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca. Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Community and Social Services. This column is provided for general information.

Photo Credit: © iStockphoto/nyul

Working Wise is a syndicated newspaper column prepared by the Government of Alberta to answer work-related questions from Albertans. Do you have a work-related question? You can send it to Charles Strachey (charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca), a manager with Alberta Community and Social Services.

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