1. Manage Your Job Search

The job search is a leading cause of stress and can evoke strong emotions. Otherwise known as the "emotional roller coaster", feelings can range from loss, shock, denial, fear, anger, depression, acceptance, challenge, excitement, thrill and joy. Positive habits such as eating well, getting enough exercise and rest; maintaining a circle of supportive friends, family and peers; having a clear job search strategy and remembering to take time out "to smell the roses" are crucial to managing stress during a job search. A useful strategy for managing the job search is to treat it like a full-time job. Take time out at the end of each "work-day" to attend to the other aspects of your life.

2. Know Yourself

A successful job search starts with preparation and planning. An important step in this process is to assess your personal characteristics such as values, interests, skills and experience. This will require time and effort but will pay dividends in the long run. A thorough self-assessment can help you choose a realistic job objective and will be helpful when writing your resume, completing job applications and preparing for job interviews. There are many excellent self-assessment tools available which include books available at your local library, the Internet, and employment agencies.

3. Know the Labour Market

When deciding where to concentrate your job search efforts, it is useful to research the labour market in the area that you want to work. There are many resources to help you with your labour market research including information interviews, the library, employment agencies, Chambers of commerce, technology councils such as MISTIC, universities, colleges, career fairs, trade shows, seminars, yellow pages, business directories and the Internet.

Labor Market Information: (including average salaries for many Canadian industries)
Click here for full details.

4. The Information Interview

An information interview is a meeting between a job seeker and a perspective employer or organization to get information and possible job leads. Information interviews are done by approaching professionals within these organizations that have the need, the ability or access to the people who hire employees with skills similar to yours. This type of interview is less formal, therefore less intimidating than formal job interviews. If the organization that you contact is not in a position to hire you, ask them for referrals to other organizations that might have openings that match your qualifications.

5. Accessing the Hidden Job Market

Approximately 80% of jobs and contracts in small businesses, are not posted and are advertised by word of mouth. In other words, the "hidden job market". Newspaper and Internet ads account for less than 20% of available jobs. The key is to develop and work your network.

  1. The Informal Network

    A network is established by talking to friends, family, acquaintances, peers, colleagues and job finding clubs about fields of work in which you are interested. Take advantage of your network and let it work for you. A true network works under the principle of win/win. Be sure to share information that you discover, with others in your network.
  2. The Formal Network

    The formal network includes the organizations that you are interested in working for and associations such as the Chamber of Commerce and the Mid Island Science, Technology and Innovation Council (MISTIC) that offer seminars and networking forums. There are great networking opportunities. Use the Internet to learn what organizations are in your area and to learn more about what they offer.

6. Job Search Methods

While 80% of job openings are not advertised, you can increase your odds of success by combining your strategy to access the hidden job market.

  • Maintain a routine by searching local, regional, and national newspapers, Internet, and employment agency job boards daily.
  • Maintain records of all networking contacts, cover letters and resumes sent, interviews, thank you notes, referrals, and follow-ups.
  • Be persistent - if you are not getting the results that you desire, try laying out your resume in a different style.

7. Links to Job Postings

Check out the following sites:

Career Builder
Job Forum Canada
One Step

Check out Job Bank for additional links.

8. Write an Effective Cover Letter and Resume

Cover Letter
Include a one-page cover letter with every resume you submit. Your cover letter is your marketing tool and should not duplicate your resume. Attract the attention of the prospective employer, indicate your interest in the job and organization, communicate your marketable qualifications, provide contact information and ask for an interview.

  • Address your letter to the individual responsible for hiring and include their title if known  - do not use sir or madam.
  • Ensure your letter is free of typos and grammatical errors.
  • Use action verbs to convey warmth and enthusiasm.
  • Describe how your skills, abilities and personal suitability will benefit the organization.


Always target your resume to a specific position within an organization. Ask for a copy of the job description and clearly identify how you meet those qualifications and skills required by the job.

  • State your contact information at the top of your resume.
  • Employers often use the resume as a screening device. Thus, most resumes will be given a thirty-second glance. Keep it to three pages or less and list your qualification statements in bullet form near the top.
  • Match your qualifications to those advertised or to the statement of qualifications.
  • Back up your qualifications by using specific examples in the body of your resume.
  • Technical companies, especially those advertised on the Internet often use a software program to screen resumes. Pay close attention to key words used to identify the required qualifications, skills, experience and education and use these key words in your resume and cover letter.
  • Keep your resume upbeat and enthusiastic by using succinct, positive action verbs to identify your qualifications.
  • Be sure to have the names, contact information and consent of at least three references on hand.
  • Always include a cover letter.

Is your resume computer-friendly?

Does your resume use the right words, if not it could be passed over for a new job. Today, many employers use electronic searches to comb through the resumes they receive and search for specific words that best suit the job available. If your resume does not have some of these words then it is simply tossed.

It shouldn’t be surprising that in our increasingly electronically-connected universe, paper resumes are becoming obsolete.

Companies post open positions on their websites, online job boards let you apply for work with the click of a couple of computer keys, and newspaper classified ads direct people to e-mail their resumes.


9. Using a Portfolio as a Marketing Tool

Today, more technology employers are asking candidates to provide samples of their work. It is a good idea to portray examples of your work, education, accomplishments and recognition in a portfolio.

  • Organize samples of your work, education, accomplishments, photos, awards, news articles, and other recognition in a binder, photo album or use an electronic version.
  • At the bottom of your resume add a tag line "Portfolio Available Upon Request", the URL address of your electronic portfolio or enclose a CD, where it is appropriate to the position advertised.

10. How to Ace the Job Interview

The person who is responsible for hiring, a human resource manager, a panel or combination thereof usually conducts a job interview. It can be formal, informal, screening, multiple, situational or group. The better prepared you are for the job interview, the less anxious you will be and the more chance you will have for success.

  • If possible, find out what type of interview the organization will be holding.
  • Practice by asking a supportive friend or a career counselor to role-play the interview with you or practice in front of a mirror or video camera until you are comfortable.
  • Research commonly asked interview questions. Practice answering them.
  • Assess your strengths and weaknesses. Work on improving speaking too rapidly, too loudly, too softly, and appearing nervous.
  • Dress for success by being well groomed and wearing clothes that are clean, pressed and appropriate for the industry in which you are seeking work.
  • Research the organization prior to the interview.
  • Take extra copies of your resume with you and your list of references.
  • Arrive TEN minutes early. Greet the receptionist in a professional and friendly manner.
  • Make sure the interview works for you as much as it works for the prospective employer. Get the information you need to make an appropriate decision should the job be offered to you, such as why the organization is hiring, what they expect of the incumbent, and future plans that will affect the position and your growth within the organization.
  • Follow-up with a note of appreciation for the interviewer's time.
  • If you aren't successful in getting the job, ask for feedback.
  • Don't give up! Keep improving your resume and practicing your interview skills.
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