The Mindthis Magazine understands that one of the biggest issues Generation Y faces is finding meaningful employment. With the trend of graduates moving home after university, Maclean’s Magazine writing articles about grads with no future, newspapers announcing surging unemployment, and an increase in graduates meaning more competition for jobs, many generation y-ers are feeling more than a little hopeless.
However, is there really a lack of jobs for graduates? As a recent university graduate with one of those ‘useless’ degrees (Political Science and Environmental Studies) myself, I have in fact found that there are THOUSANDS of jobs out there available to generation Y. You just have to know where to look, to highlight that getting your degree gave you the skills the positions require, to spend time developing skills that are being sought, and to some extent, manage your expectations.
Beyond Workoplis and Monster
Where to look depends on the job you are seeking. Not everyone is going to post on Monster and Workopolis. While it is a good idea to scan those sites, actively search for companies in your goal industry and look at their career sites. Follow companies on Linkedin, look at government sites – not just federal, but also regional and municipal – and less mainstream job boards.
Make sure that you also look outside of your city. Much of the job demand in Canada is out West. To have more opportunities, generation Y needs to consider the possibility of relocating. Once you’ve started to find the jobs, the next step is to make yourself a viable candidate.
First, make a list of all your volunteer experiences, course projects, and past responsibilities; everything that you’ve ever had to deal with from highschool to the present. These are all examples of successes and learning experiences that you can draw from in an application or interview. Those times where you had a terrible group in SOC201 and had to hand out step-by-step instructions to everyone is a great example of running into difficulty while managing a team, and how you handled it.
That time you organized a trip with friends to Tremblant is an example of logistical organization. Working retail is an example of customer relations and client oriented, solution based service. Don’t exaggerate your role, but don’t sell yourself short either. It took a set of skills to get through those situations successfully therefore be sure to identify them.
Once you’ve established the skills you do have, look for ways to develop the skills or qualifications that you may lack. Job postings ask for a ‘self-starter’? Call up your other unemployed friends and start a bi-weekly garbage pick-up. You now have an example of not only community engagement, but something that YOU started. Even if it is only in the beginning stages (you have called but haven’t done it yet), you can say you are working on starting a small community clean-up initiative. If you say it, be sure to follow through; if you get through to the second interview and they asked how your initiative is going, you want to have some progress or they may see you as flaky.
Another way for generation Y to build skill-sets is to volunteer somewhere which requires them. Work at a booth if speaking to strangers is a challenge or with a treasurer to track event spending if you’ve never seen a budget. There are hundreds of organizations who are in need of volunteers, so fire up the Google and get skill building.
Knowledge is Still Everything for Generation Y
In order to develop your qualifications, courses or workshops are a great way to develop your knowledge without committing to a whole other degree or diploma. It also shows potential employers that you are eager to learn and excel, not just to get in and get by.
When you apply for a job, never underestimate the value of interest and enthusiasm. Tailor your resume to highlight the things which are relevant to the role you are applying for and, most importantly, make sure your cover letter conveys your passion for not only the position, but also for the company and the industry. It should also mention one or two of the most relevant experiences or skills you have for the position.
I want $100,000 a year right now please…No.
One last thing generation y needs to do is manage their expectations. I thought that I’d have my dream job within weeks of moving back from my year abroad. I soon learned, however, that the application a
nd interview process for full-time jobs is MUCH longer and more involved than for part-time jobs. I also learned that my applications will be rejected (or unanswered) FAR more often than not. It’s important to not take such rejection personally and to move right along to the next application; this is a great way in handling disappointments. You may also have to admit that you are just not qualified for your dream job yet, which may require you to be willing to look into other directions that will help expand on the experience you need in order to get to the position you want.
If you feel under qualified or are not hearing back from applications for your ‘dream jobs’, look for internships, volunteer opportunities, contract work, or entry-level positions in your field to build your resume. Send proposals to intern for the applicant who does manage to score your dream job. You may have to do it unpaid, but it could supply the connections and experience you need to get a paid position. You may also receive many ‘this position is currently unavailable’, but at best you could be taken up on your offer, and at worst your name, resume, and proven initiative are now on file with the company.
Be patient, be persistent, and be realistic about your search. Perhaps it’s not a particularly lush job landscape, but it is definitely not as bleak as they say. If you leverage your skills, constantly develop new ones, apply with enthusiasm, and have realistic ambition, there is no reason you won’t be well on your way in achieving your career goals before the end of 2013.
Our magazine emerged out of the aftermath of the Financial Crisis as a tool for young professionals. A tool used to further fine tune your skill sets and broaden your depth of knowledge with advice and analysis from a distinct Gen Y perspective.
Job Sites in Canada: