by Ethan Paquet
Over the summer of 2020, I had the opportunity to teach career development skills at the Adventure Group’s Prosper Program, which is designed to help people get back to work. The students were at various stages of their career paths, and it was my privilege to guide them through the different stages of developing a successful career plan.
The first thing we discussed was how to achieve your goals, which you can read about here. For many, finding a job was the goal, and that made for a smooth transition into the next step, which is to clean up your social media.
Social media like Facebook and Twitter started as a way to have casual conversations, but employers may search your name to see what they can find out about you. Think of your Facebook page as your brand, and be diligent in avoiding offensive comments, inappropriate photos, or engaging in public conflicts. As I told my students, do not post anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see.
When it comes to email, it is best to create a new one just for your career journey. That way you won’t miss important messages. It is best to keep it simple. Usually your first and last name is enough.
The next step is to stay in the loop. Searching for work is a full-time job, and the way we receive information is constantly changing. While many rely on the JobBank to find job listings, there is a great list of all job boards advertising jobs on PEI at www.employmentjourney.com/pei-job-opportunities.
In the Employment Journey’s Calendar of Events, you will also find a list of upcoming events, which are mainly virtual at the present time. These events offer a chance to network, meet with possible employers, and learn about industries you are interested in.
Don’t be afraid to call and ask if a company is hiring. Even if they aren’t, you can ask to schedule an informational interview, which is a conversation to learn about the company and how your education or experience might be useful in that industry. The person you speak with may be able to suggest other leads for you to follow. For a great article on informational interviews, click here.
When you find an opening and are ready to apply, make sure your resumé is up-to-date, and write a cover letter to reflect the qualifications and skills listed in the job ad. Most high schools, colleges and UPEI have a career counsellor or student services department that can help with this step. You may also be eligible for help through Career Development Services.
When you submit your application, don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back right away. Give it about three days, then call back and ask if they had the chance to look at your resumé, and if they have any questions.
Eventually, after putting in all this work, you will get a call for a job interview. It’s exciting, but don’t celebrate yet – there’s still work to be done. Plan what you will wear, set goals for yourself going into the interview, and think of questions you might have for the interviewer. The interview is a chance to show the interviewer why you are the best option for the job. Get comfortable talking about yourself and how you have added value to other jobs you have held.
After the interview, follow up to thank them for their time and for their consideration of you for the position. It’s OK to ask if they have made a decision on who they are hiring and to ask if they have any suggestions for you moving forward.
Rejection doesn’t mean it’s time to give up. It means going back to the drawing board and seeing what you can do better.
For a list of services and programs that can help with career planning and the job search, visit www.employmentjourney.com/resources-services-for-job-seekers/.
Tips on overcoming barriers and presenting yourself well can be found at www.employmentjourney.com/job-search-tips-videos-job-fair-info/.