Power up your job search

Write a compelling resume and employ these strategies to power up your job search.

Write your resume

A well-written resume will help to sell your skills and abilities, giving you the best chance of getting the job you want.

Your resume should be clear and well organized. It should include:

  • Personal information, including your name, address, phone number and email address.

Tip: include only one phone number and email address to make it simple for an employer to reach you. Don’t include overly personal information such as your birthdate or marital status

  • Work and volunteer experience, including your previous titles, tasks and key accomplishments.

Tip: use action words to describe your experience.

  •  Related skills, including job-specific skills and certifications, computer skills and trades credentials

Tip: Include all your skills that might be useful to the position, such as first aid certification or an ability to speak another language.

  •  Relevant education, including post-secondary credit and non-credit programs and courses.

Tip: if you’re a recent high school graduate, give your graduation date and the courses you completed that are relevant to the job.

  •  Awards and achievements, including work-related, academic and community awards.

Tip: include those relevant to the job you’re seeking 

  • Memberships in professional, business-related, school or community groups.

Tipdon’t include religious or political associations 

  • References who will vouch for your skills and abilities and speak positively about the quality of your work.

Tip: Contact your references for their permission before including them.

The Resume and Cover Letter Builder tool will guide you step-by-step through the process of writing an effective resume and cover letter.

Writing a Winning Resume provides a wealth of valuable, detailed information and a sample resume.

If you are a Reservist, you will need to explain your military skills and abilities in civilian terms. The National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces website has a resume writing guide that will help. 

Prepare for interviews

Once your resume has caught the attention of an employer, you may be asked to meet for a formal interview.

By presenting yourself well, highlighting your experience effectively and communicating clearly, you’ll ensure that your interview is a success.

Before the Interview:

  • Research the organization to show your interest in working there. Learn what they do, who they serve, how many offices and employees they have and how long they’ve been in business.
  • Know the job requirements, including skills, tasks and education. By relating them to your own skills and experience, you can show how you can be of value.

At the Interview:

In many cases, you’ll compete with several candidates for the job. How you present yourself will affect your chances of success.

Project the image you want through your clothes, your speech and your manners. Be neat and professional, polite and friendly. Shake hands firmly and make eye contact. Answer questions clearly and show your interest by asking questions about the organization and the position.

After the Interview:

Send a thank you note. In addition to expressing your appreciation, you can use the note to mention something you didn’t say in the interview, or to remind the employer of ways in which you are a particularly good fit for the job.

Learn More

UBC's Student Services offers more detailed information on what to do before, during and after an interview.

Okanagan College has questions to consider and a checklist of things to do as you get ready for an interview.

The Government of Canada Job Bank provides insight into how to plan, what to bring and what to do during and after an interview.

Develop your networking skills

Statistics show that 80% of job vacancies are not advertised. In some regions, that percentage is higher. Networking is a vital way to identify work opportunities and connect with potential employers in the “hidden” job market.

Your current social circle, both online and offline, is a good place to start to expand your network of acquaintances, but you’ll find other excellent networking opportunities listed below. Whatever networking strategies you employ, expanding your network will expand your prospects.

Networking for career development

Volunteer – This is a fine method for broadening your network and allowing prospective employers to discover your abilities.  You can gain experience, make connections, demonstrate your skills and get noticed. Volunteering provides an opportunity for word to spread about your talents and availability. And sometimes paid employment grows directly out of volunteer activities.

Join a job club – For those who are eligible, job clubs have many advantages: you quickly find out you are not alone, discover which job-search methods that are working for people, and gain a built-in network of people who know people. Someone in the job club may have a friend or relative looking for a landscaper, which may be your job target.  You never know when an opportunity could present itself.

Find groups in your area(s) of interest – Join a new group to build your network. If you like computers and are passionate about programming, find a programming user group. Such groups allow you to build lasting, mutually helpful professional relationships. As you become connected, you’ll likely discover career opportunities.

If you don’t know how to find a group, you can use a search engine like Google or Meetup to find groups in your field and community. For example, search "Programming user group Penticton."

Tell community groups you are a part of – Organizations you are already part of may have many members, some of whom already know you well. Talk to them about your career or job-search goals.  If people don’t know that you’re looking for work, then they can’t share any opportunities with you.

Social media networking – These days, social media is an excellent method for connecting with employers and job opportunities. Find out more about using social media in your job search below.

Attend Job Fairs – Job fairs are another great opportunity to connect with people: employers who are seeking workers, employment service providers and other job seekers. Even if a company isn’t looking for someone with your background, they may know of someone else who is. They may be happy to pass on your resume or keep it for their own future needs. Be proactive and do some homework on the companies you plan to approach at the job fair (participating companies are usually listed in advance event notices). Your obvious interest and preparation will increase your chances of winning an interview.

When networking, always thank the people who have given you advice or contacts by emailing or mailing them a thank-you note. Networking is all about building relationships. Showing that you appreciate the time of a person who helps you is your investment in a relationship that may ultimately benefit both of you.

Using social media in your job search

With more and more companies and recruiters using social media to find and screen potential employees, it’s fast becoming a vital part of the job search process. 

Top 3 Social Media Sites for Job Seekers

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

How to effectively use a social media network

The key reason more people are using social media to help with their job search is because it’s a great way to connect with people. Whether you use Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, it’s important to spread the word that you’re looking for work. 

If you don’t let anyone know that you’re searching for jobs, then the potential to network and advertise your skills is wasted.  The next time you’re on your favourite social media site, make sure you let your friends and followers know that you’re looking for a job.  Your friends may not know of any immediate job openings, but if any come up, they’ll definitely think of you if they know you’re looking. 

Social media is all about spreading the word, so be sure to spread your message as far as possible.

Create a Professional Profile

Many employers are now using social media to help screen potential hires, so if you applied for a job recently, there’s a good chance that your profile has been looked at by someone in the company you applied to. 

For this reason, it’s very important that you tidy your online profiles by removing any questionable photos or messages before you start looking for work. It’s also a good idea to replace your profile picture with one that shows your professionalism and good taste. 

If you’d prefer to keep your profile private, make sure that you update the privacy settings on any of the sites you use to ensure that only your friends can view your content.

“Follow” or “Like” career experts

One of the great things about social media is how quickly you can access the latest job-search advice and trends.  Sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn are teeming with recruiters, bloggers, career counsellors and HR personnel who are eager to share their expertise with job seekers. 

Whether it’s an infographic, blog post, article or study, you’ll find plenty of useful information and tips on social media that can help you land your dream job.  The next time you go online, make sure you devote some time to follow the experts or companies in your field of interest.

Make connections

Due in part to the marketing potential of social media and its growing user base, many employers are now using social media as a way to spread company news, job postings, and promotions. 

And because it’s so fast and easy to spread the word through social media, many employers are now announcing job opportunities on their social media feeds long before they post them on job boards or newspapers.  For this reason, it’s important to connect with employers online to make sure you don’t miss out on any opportunities.  Following employers of interest will also keep you up-to-date on their current events, which may assist you in future interviews.