Job Search Strategies for the Newly Unemployed


2015 was a tough year for Alberta. Drastically lower oil prices have led to layoffs in the thousands and with no guaranteed uptick in the near future, economic conditions look to remain tougher for longer. If you are one of the thousands of people who have recently found yourself unemployed, it is easy to get discouraged if you are keeping up with the news. However, this is not the time to be fretting. Recruitment activity, while slower, is not at a standstill. Organizations continue to experience turnover and some have even found a way to leverage the economic downturn and grow their organization. Below are 5 activities you can do to get you one step closer to securing your next challenging opportunity:

  1. Leverage LinkedIn: If you do not currently have an account with LinkedIn, now is the time to register. It is the easiest and most efficient way to connect with ex-colleagues, friends and industry professionals in the sectors you would like to work within. Prepare a robust profile that highlights all of your strengths and regularly monitor employment opportunities posted on the site.
  2. Strengthen Your Resume: Your resume is a snapshot of your skills and experience, and in the age of Applicant Tracking Systems and online applications, is a primary platform through which you can “sell” yourself to potential employers. Due to sheer numbers, recruiters can’t spend a lot of time digging through your resume, looking for relevant experience. Presenting your education and experience in a clear format that is easy to read and straightforward allows potential employers to easily identify you as a strong candidate.
  3. Join Networking Groups/Professional Associations: Networking with people within your profession and sector is a great way to stay connected and on top of potential new jobs. Some companies prefer to seek new hires informally, through employee referrals or people within their networks. Regularly attending networking events allows you to connect with individuals who may be able to provide you with leads on newly posted roles or upcoming opportunities.
  4. Practice your interviewing skills: If you have made it to the interview stage, it means you have networked successfully and are in possession of a strong resume. However, it is far from a guaranteed new job! In an interview, potential employers are looking for you to clearly articulate relatable experience and positively present personal characteristics that they cannot screen for in your resume. In order to prepare properly, practice speaking about your experience and think about how it may relate to the role you have applied for. Think of difficult situations in your past that you have overcome that could be good examples for behavioural interview questions. Lastly, bring in a list of questions to ask at the end of the interview. Employers are looking for engaged candidates who have done some research and are actively evaluating their fit within their organization.
  5. Don’t settle, but be willing to be flexible: This is probably the most important thing to remember while unemployed and seeking a position. Remember that while the economy is in a recession, you are not required to accept the first position that you are offered. Conversely, flexibility is key. Be willing to consider positions in sectors that you have not previously worked in and open yourself up to opportunities slightly outside of your scope.

It is often said that looking for a full-time job is a full-time job in itself. Unemployment in this economy is uncertain and can be a difficult time, but do your best to stay positive and apply the above 5 tips to help you with your job search. Remaining active and present in your search, updating your professional profile and practicing your interviewing skills will not only help to get you one step closer to your next job, it will also help you remain productive and focused as you transition in your career.

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