Job Search Tips #1

Published on
December 5, 2020
Time to read: 
Scrabble tiles spell the word Dream.
Dare to dream and find your ideal employer. Thank you to Pixabay for this image.

In my last blog I asked if you had any questions you would like me to answer in this format. That same day, I received a Job Search question from one of my mentees. This blog expands on my answer.

Question: If you were conducting a job search today, how would you go about it? 

Answer: Looking for the right job, to get you set up on the career path or life you’re interested in living is a big undertaking. Most experts suggest that this search is the equivalent of a full-time job.

Students who are busy studying and perhaps working part time, and people who are already working full-time may find the prospect of doing a “full-time” job search daunting. In this blog, I’m going to share practical job search tips that you can use to help you find the right job for you. The uncomfortable truth is that the more strategic thinking you put into your job search, and the more research you do, the more effective you’re likely to be. The key is to figure out who your ideal employer is. Imagine that you’re in your dream job…

Create your "Ideal Employer" profile. Include your criteria for organizational culture, type of work, opportunities for advancement and/or additional training and education.

What is the workplace culture? Is your employer inclusive? Do they value the efforts of everyone on their team? Are they willing to give someone without much experience, yet lots of potential the opportunity to shine? Does your ideal employer offer you opportunities for training and education? Once you’ve figured out who your ideal employer is, start searching for the real life equivalent.

To find my ideal employer, I would start by reviewing Canada's Best Diversity employers list (for the latest list click here). I want to work in an organization that is actively striving to be more inclusive.

If you want to work in a particular geographic region, narrow down the list to employers that are present in that location. The Chamber of Commerce business directory is a great place to find employers who believe in the power of networking in the region where you’d like to work.

You can also share your Ideal Employer profile with your trusted network to ask if they know of an organization that seems like a match.

Pro Tip: Use Boolean search strings to help find potential employers.

Once you’ve got a list of potential employers, research them. Seriously, spend the time researching your short list of potential employers. There are a whole bunch of resources out there to help you, including Glassdoor, an organization that helps people find jobs, research employers, compare salaries and apply for jobs.

You can also research potential employers by taking an in depth look at their publicly available information on their website, in local magazines and newspapers, and their social media feeds.

If employers on your short list have online application platforms, you can sign up to be notified of job openings that might interest you.

You can also ask your network if they know anyone who works/worked there. Someone in your network may be able to introduce you to someone working with your ideal employer. You could then invite that person to participate in an informational interview. For now, as the pandemic rages across the world, that likely means by phone or video chat.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list to the top 3 employers, try to figure out what problems they may be facing, and how you could help.

Write custom cover letters and resumes showcasing how you can help each employer with their potential problems. The employer doesn’t necessarily have to be posting jobs for you to send them a custom cover letter and resume.

Once we’ve moved beyond the pandemic, or when face to face meetings are once again practical and safe, ask for an opportunity to meet with a decision maker to further discuss how you can help that employer. Offer to bring them a complimentary beverage (tea, coffee, hot chocolate, or iced drinks during warmer weather). In the interim, ask for a phone or video meeting.

Anywhere between 70 to 80 per cent of jobs are never advertised. Small and Medium Enterprises often create jobs to fill the needs of their company. Why not try to help your preferred employer create your dream job?