After spending years at school working on your diploma or degree, it can feel a little deflating not to have an awesome job in your industry to start working at as soon as you graduate. While many colleges and universities offer job placement supports, those opportunities are often limited or unsuitable to people’s various geographic or other needs. Whether you’re just about to finish your studies, you’re a new grad or maybe you graduated years ago and are still searching for that perfect job, we’ve outlined a few helpful tips to help boost your job search:

1. Network

Networking means putting yourself out there to get job leads, and it’s a tried and true method despite it being a little uncomfortable for some. Think of yourself as an experienced, confident sales person, and the product you are selling is yourself. When you network, be friendly and positive, but don’t forget to be specific about what it is you’re looking for or you’ll have folks barking up all the wrong trees for you. This is not the time to be shy; it’s your future and people typically like to be helpful if they can. Here are people you can start your networking with while you study.

– Classmates or fellow alumni
– Professors or teachers
– Former bosses, coworkers or mentors from other positions
– Friends – and their friends and family
– Family – and friends of family

Simply asking for a connection at a company is a great start, but if there’s more information they can offer in terms of what it’s like to work there or their hiring preferences for example, be sure to take it all down, and then follow up immediately.

2. Get set up on LinkedIn

Serious job searchers should have a LinkedIn account that is kept updated and looks and feels professional; it’s the ‘go to’ space for industry-related topics and networking. You can make connections, learn more about your field, and apply to jobs directly through LinkedIn.
While you can put it out on other social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat that you’re looking for work, don’t expect much in terms of solid leads. One popular tip is “Keep your socials social, and your job search on LinkedIn”. Employers often scope out potential hires on various social media platforms, so be careful that the content you post to any of your feeds is appropriate, or at least make them ‘private’ accounts.

3. Sign up with job search or career portal websites

The FOCUS job board, Indeed, Monster, Eluta and Career Builder are some of the most popular Canadian job search websites. From here you can scope out jobs in your field of interest, as well as upload your resume for prospective employers to download. Set notifications to alert you when a new job is posted so you don’t miss out on applying.

4. Apply directly to companies of interest

Once you’ve researched various companies (preferably in their growth stage) that you think you’d be a good match for, reach out to them even if they don’t have a job vacancy posted. A call or email introducing yourself and inquiring about an opportunity to talk to them just might reach the right person! Even if they say they aren’t hiring at present, you can politely request an information interview or ask if you can send your resume for them to keep on hand. The worst thing that can happen is that they say no…in which case you’re no further behind but at least you have a contact name to follow up with down the road.

5. Check in with your career or job placement office at your school

If you’re a fairly recent graduate, you may find some supports, leads or resources at your campus alumni or job placement office. Reach out to them and see what they have to offer.

It can be hard to keep those spirits high when job searching, especially after all the hard work you put into your education. Even if you are working at a filler job to pay the bills presently, you can still keep current with your industry by reading up on the latest trends, continuing to network, and always keep trying to get that foot in the door…one will open for you soon. Don’t forget that at FOCUS Employment Services, we’re here to help. Connect with our experienced employment counsellors at our Alliston or Angus locations and we can work with you to set up a plan of action to jumpstart your career.