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   Career Education Sourcebook

The Job Market

While there are always opportunities in every sector, where are the jobs today. According to Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC), employment growth is becoming concentrated in the technical and service industries. On the technical side growth is occurring in the information sector, in financial services, insurance, real estate, and business. On the service side opportunities are available to individuals with training in areas such as retail, hospitality, and some manufacturing positions. And in all cases, today's job seeker should be computer literate - it is becoming almost as critical a skill as reading, writing, and numeracy.

So that's where the jobs are nationally, but what about in your community, how do you find where the jobs are locally. HRDC again has advice:

  • Check local want ads, business papers, & HRDC offices to see what positions are advertised most frequently.
  • Review local yellow pages, business directories, and membership rosters at Chambers of Commerce to get a sense of the types of businesses in your area, or the area in which you are seeking employment.

Perhaps more importantly, you should thoroughly consider the types of positions you WANT, not just what's available. Take into consideration your skills, qualifications, contacts, interests, any unique aspects of your personality, and what you want to earn. Then discuss this with those around you - family and friends of course, but also with your school's guidance counsellor(s). These people are professionals in identifying your aptitude (natural abilities or talents), and matching this with training facilities that meet your unique needs (often by using this book).

As an employer I can testify personally that we are all looking for more than just educational background when making a decision to hire someone. Experience is a vital factor too. Let's look at an example from my personal life. I wanted to work in the International Development field. So before going to University I first spent one month as a volunteer working alongside some medical experts overseas, then I spent a summer travelling so I could experience different cultures, then I volunteered once a week for three years at an International Relief and Development agency. In the end, that agency gave me a job. Oddly enough they placed me in their publishing department, so here I am today writing books.

Once you've got the education and experience, what's next. Not all of us can volunteer to work for their desired future employer. However, many training centres will arrange co-op or placement programs while you are doing your studies. Many of these positions lead to future employment. The training centres offering these programs are identified in this book by the phrases 'Co-op available' or 'Placement Assistance available.'

If you don't land a job this way, then you'll need to follow the more traditional route.

  • Put together an effective resumé. All resumés should include:
    1. Your name, address, contact numbers and e-mail.
    2. Your work & other relevant experience, your abilities, and your personal attributes.
    3. Names of past/ current employers, years worked, and position(s) held.
    4. Your highest level of education, any courses that would contribute to the job.
    5. Any extra-curricular achievements/ volunteer work/awards.
    6. Your date of availability. Make sure its neat.
  • Apply to companies posting want ads in your desired field, and apply to those who aren’t posting want ads. Not all businesses advertise available positions.
  • Send letters of introduction along with a resumé to your best prospects.
  • Follow up with a phone call. Persistence pays.
  • Ask companies for an 'information interview.' When I was in University I decided to do an essay on my desired future employer. The V.P. was flattered by the request. While I was interviewing her, she discovered how much I already knew about her line of work. At the end of the interview she offered to recommend me for an opening. As I mentioned in my foreword I volunteered for the job instead. Get to know the right people. Who you know counts a lot.
  • Tell everyone you know of your job pursuit. Who you know counts a lot.
  • And remember, employers aren't just looking for skills, they are looking for an attitude that fits the company. All companies are looking for employees who show commitment, an ability to communicate effectively, a positive attitude and behaviour, a sense of responsibility, adaptability, and an ability to work with others.
  • Finally, stay encouraged. This is not an easy job. Following your career path can be a struggle, but with persistence that path could lead somewhere wonderful.

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