As a recent Saint Mary’s University graduate, I know first hand that the task of finding employment can be daunting, and doing so amid a global pandemic can feel almost impossible. In May 2021 I graduated with an undergraduate degree in International Development with a minor focused on both Developmental & Sustainable Economics. As a development studies major, I take particular interest in Canada’s role in global affairs outreach and the further cultivation of bilateral/multilateral relations. Over the course of my last few months at Saint Mary’s, I began overviewing the classes I enrolled in and what I had studied, specifically how what I had learned complemented roles within the local organizations around me. I sought out advice from professors, employers, and family members, but sticking closely to three tips allowed me to land a position with a company that has a great company culture, and whose values align with my own.
- Invest in Your Resume:
“You never get a second chance at a first impression” is something I always heard growing up. Your resume is your potential employer’s ‘first impression’ of you, even if it’s only on a piece of paper. Investing in your resume allows you to fully showcase all your wonderful attributes, valuable experience, and relevant skillset. On average, recruiters will spend 5-10 seconds briefly looking at your resume, which is why you must have all the keywords that they are looking for, this includes the words that are in their job description (Twin Training and Employing). Having a resume that can be easily altered to fit the job you are applying for is also huge, it shows you did your research and reflects the requirements of specific job duties. By being concise and highlighting important information on the very first page, you can keep your resume short and sweet, without leaving out any details. As someone who sees a lot of resumes throughout a day, the ones that stick out are usually the ones that get right to the point, but also are visually appealing.
Hone in on the skills you feel most confident in and those attributes that make you unique—these can be valuable selling points for potential employers. It’s really common for newer graduates to have very limited working or relevant experience. If this is true for you, consider any roles you’ve had in your community or school, volunteer work you’ve done, and other experiences where you applied your skills and interests that may, in turn, be transferable to your new position – just like my degree.
- Don’t Wait Until Receiving Your Cap & Gown to Begin Your Job Search:
In my last year of university, I began frequently visiting the “Jobs” page on LinkedIn. This then continued into Indeed, Facebook, and pretty much every other job outlet on the internet I could get my hands on. The idea of looking for jobs was overwhelming to me, and it seemed like there were a lot of local opportunities, however, nothing was jumping out at me as a new grad. Staying organized in your job search progress is a must. I kept files of applications I had sent off, ones that were in progress, and had a specific email folder for job alerts that might interest me. This helped me out a lot when trying to complete applications before deadlines.
Keep expectations of your job search reasonable. Never expect that a contact at a company can guarantee you a job. Put the responsibility on yourself to learn as much as you can from them and, in turn, put the information they give you into action. Stick with it and keep applying, sending your resume around, and making waves. I kept looking and applying throughout the academic year until eventually, I found a position at Venor shortly after the time I graduated! As a new graduate, my biggest piece of advice would be to stay true to what you are interested in and remain flexible, as there are a variety of ways in which you can apply both your skills and experience in the workplace.
- Network… a lot:
Networking is extremely valuable. In fact, 80% of professionals find networking essential to their career success, nearly 100% believe that face-to-face meetings build stronger long-term relationships, and 41% want to network more often. (Apollo Technical). I feel as though throughout the pandemic a new appreciation has been born for face-to-face interaction and just grabbing a quick coffee with someone to chat, whether it be a colleague, potential new employer or a friend has its perks. When you sit down in front of someone, you give them the chance to know you. You can utilize this time to make conversation about topics you’re passionate about, what you want your future to look like, and any short or long-term goals you have for yourself. Research the companies you are interested in joining and identify a clear networking path that can lead you to that job. Be inquisitive and ask questions such as, “what opportunities exist within this company for new graduates?” or “is there much room for growth within the organization?”. Don’t say no to networking. Even if there is no apparent job opportunity in front of you, you’d be surprised as to what can come from a brief afternoon chat with an influential mind.
Looking for more tips? If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level, Venor is here to help. Reach out to Genevieve Belben via firstname.lastname@example.org for resume critiques and assistance, interview coaching, discussing job search strategies, and job offer negotiation.