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Out of Work ... Now What? Jacquie Ottema, Employment Facilitator, Newmarket Employment Resource Centre, Oct 1,2008

About Author

Jacquie Ottema is an Employment Facilitator at the Newmarket Employment Resource Centre.
Click here for info about the Newmarket Employment Resource Centre

Ahhhhhhh ... unemployment. Take time off, sit back, relax, go on a trip and just wait for all the job offers to come along. No way! Get started as early as possible with the process of looking for work. Our labour market, depending on your industry, is tumultuous and it may take longer to find work than you think. Industry experts claim it will take an average of 6 months – yes – 6 months! of full time job searching to find suitable and sustainable employment.

Financial – Have you filed for employment insurance? If you haven’t, go to your nearest Service Canada location and complete an application, even if you have not yet received your Record of Employment (ROE) from your employer.

Self Assessment – An important step in your job search involves self assessment. You must know yourself first before you can introduce yourself to employers. Before you start looking for a specific job you need answers to such questions as: What are my work-related skills, interests and values? What have I learned from my academic, paid and volunteer experiences? What kind of position am I seeking? Where do I want to live? What are my career goals? What kind of lifestyle do I envision for myself?

Know Your Objective – Do you know what type of work you want? Knowing what type of work you enjoy and are looking for is critical to a successful job search. A clear idea of who you are, what you can do, what you want to do, and in what environment you want to do it, will enable you to better develop a concrete career objective - one that accurately reflects what you are seeking.

Take Action – Successful job search requires a definite plan of action. How will you develop a list of potential employers? How will you contact them? By when? Who will you speak to? What are your communication strengths and options and how can you best use them? Conducting a job search without a plan will cost you precious time and money if not done effectively.

Marketing Yourself – 2 most basic marketing tools for your job search – your résumé and your cover letter. Developing an effective résume and good targeted cover letter is essential. Business cards are turning out to be a great job connecting tool, so don’t overlook the importance of being able to market yourself in the most unlikely places such as the grocery store, elevator, BBQ etc. You never know who knows who.

Getting the interview is the goal of your marketing tools; the result of hard work on your résumé and cover letter, and the outcome of a successful plan of action. However, to be so intent on getting interviews that you neglect to prepare for them can set you up for disappointment and frustration. Have you researched the organization? Are you prepared to communicate what you can contribute? Have you studied the kinds of questions often asked?

Learn Current Job Search Skills – Change is everywhere and job searching is no exception. Make sure you are not using the same old 80’s techniques to get work. Get up to speed by taking workshops to learn, practice and apply the new job search skills to reduce the time it takes to get a job. Ensure you are tapping into the Hidden Job Market where 80% of jobs are never posted…anywhere. Have you practiced and received constructive feedback on your interview skills in a confidential one-on-one setting?

Gather Information – Do you understand the current labour market? Do you know how to tap into 80% of jobs never posted, design marketing materials that have content that will “sell” your skills on your résumé, cover letter, and business cards?

''You've got the job!'' are the four words job hunters most want to hear. But what then? Are you prepared to evaluate the offer to see if it matches your interests and more importantly your prioritized work values? Could you turn down a job offer you felt was wrong for you? How will you make your decision? Have you determined what your basic monthly expenses are so you can see if the offered salary will cover them and allow you to begin at least a modest savings plan?

Come and see us at the Newmarket Employment Resource Centre! We can help you sort through this job search stuff, assist you in determining your next steps, teach you current job search techniques, boost your confidence and help you land the job of your dreams!

And ... keep focused! ... keep positive! ... and keep learning!