You’ve searched through job portals and subscribed to every e-mail alert, and no matter how many times you spruce up a cover letter or resume, nailing down a new job seems out of reach.
For young adults entering the market, it can be exhausting to find a job, says Career coach Sabrina McTaggart based in Ottawa.
And even with so many resources out there like Workopolis, Indeed and LinkedIn, McTaggart says there are other ways to find something that fits.
“Job hunting is very discouraging and demoralizing,” she tells Global News. “Some people will say, ‘I’ll take anything,’ and that is the wrong approach.”
And if you do have the financial stability to find something that lines up with your degree or passion, it may be worth it to look a little further, she says.
Before you start any search, McTaggart says you have to be very specific with what you want. “[Figure out] the role and the sector before applying,” she says.
Sometimes finding a new job or appealing to an interviewer is about doing your research and being confident with yourself.
Having a solid elevator pitch can help, experts say, and being able to be authentic in what you have to offer.
McTaggart adds it’s also about getting in front of the potential employer vs. sitting behind a screen.
“So often, people want to stay behind their screen and apply online… you have to get out there.”
If you’ve exhausted your options online, here’s what some experts suggest you should do instead.
Tap into your network
If finding a career is about the people you know, you should start taking advantage of your network, she says. “You need to be assertive speaking to people and often, people like doing favours,” adding for young people in particular, it’s easy to relate to that phase in a person’s life.
And if your network isn’t broad enough, start with who you know: your parents, friends, family members, teachers, co-workers or anyone else you’ve been in touch with.
“Start speaking with your professor and ask them where their graduates are. Ask if they can make an introduction.”
McTaggart says nobody should have to work for free, but in certain industries, it may be valuable to take an unpaid internship or project to prove your skill set.
While she doesn’t recommend something long-term (and of course, many people can’t afford this route either), asking an employer to allow you to do a project for a week or two could benefit you down the road.
“A company would be impressed with your hustle, initiative and work ethic,” she says. Alternatively, this could also mean asking to job shadow someone or even having a coffee with someone in a position you admire. You can even draft up a proposal on a project the company is tackling to show off your knowledge.
And for young people especially, don’t allow yourself to continue working for free if you’ve already received the experience.
Network outside the industry
According to personal brand strategist and columnist Erica Breuer of The Muse, networking can also be worth it if you step outside your industry.
“Enjoy a yoga retreat. Drop by a fundraising event. Instinct tells you to frequent industry conferences when you’re on the hunt, but shaking hands outside your usual circle can produce opportunities, too. Keep your network fresh by taking advantage of non-industry-specific opportunities,” she wrote.
Know where the market is going
McTaggart says sometimes it’s hard to find a job when you’re unsure what you want to do. With demographics changing and more people heading into retirement, look for jobs that are going to be needed.
“Canada is an aging population and young people are [positioned] to move into a whole range of jobs,” she says, including jobs in health care and senior citizen care that will continue to be in demand.
— With files from Patricia Kozicka