May 2016

Job Search Advice for New Graduates

Graduate Alyssa Bachorski, pictured with Lana Rizzuto (right) is working at Lakehead Athletics. She works with Dr. McKee as the Concussion Clinic Coordinator.

Armed with an Honours Bachelor of Kinesiology, Alyssa Bachorski was eager to land her first professional position.  She was confident in her field of study, but she wasn’t sure what to include on her CV, how to craft an effective cover letter or how to connect with key employers.   “Once it was time to look for work, it felt a little like I was being thrown to the wolves,” Alyssa explained.   With so many post-secondary graduates ready to take their first step into their chosen professions, we have put together a list of tips and resources that Alyssa found helpful in her road to success.

First, compile an exhaustive list of potential employers in your field.  For some professions, nursing for example, there are some obvious employers like Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, but don’t limit your search to the obvious.  Nursing grads could also consider local research institutions, small clinics, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit, Senior Care Homes and Home Care companies.    No matter what your field, really dig down to find all your possible options. 

Job leads can also reveal opportunities that you may not have considered initially.  YES has compiled a web-page that provides links to the best local job search sites so you can maximize the number of job leads you are exposed to.  The Service Canada Job Bank is also a great source of information for uncovering opportunities and revealing the forecast for your occupation locally and across the county. 

Second, build a network. So now you know which companies offer jobs in your field, now you need a personal connection to people who work for these companies.  Every profession is different, but there are always ways to make connections with employers in your industry.  Gain membership in professional associations.  Volunteer your time in areas connected to your field.  Join “LinkedIn” or create a professional online profile utilized by employers in your industry.   Visit employment agencies like YES and take advantage of the relationships we build with local employers.  Utilize your existing network of friends, colleagues and family members.  Don’t be afraid to use every avenue to gain connections.  Alyssa’s landlord, turned out to be a great networking source.  A friendly conversation led to a job lead for Alyssa and became the first step toward landing a professional position.  

Finally, emphasize your soft skills.  Most students have had summer jobs throughout their high school and post-secondary careers.   You may not have direct experience in your field, but you do have skills that are highly valued by all employers.   If you have successfully demonstrated that you are a good problem solver, that you can build teams and motivate people, emphasize this on your resume or CV and in your cover letter.  During the interview talk about how you worked well with others, demonstrated a positive attitude and are reliable and resourceful.   These skills were all-important when you were looking for summer job.  They are just as important to employers offering professional positions.  

For Alyssa, a strong work ethic was evident in all her previously held positions, so that was her focus.  She showed diplomacy in her job as a referee for Flag Football, love of sport by serving popcorn at Varsity basketball games, precision in her work at the Toyota factory in Woodstock, Ontario and strong communication skills gained by working as a server at Applebee’s.   Alyssa had been looking for a job in her field for quite some time before she met with her YES Job Developer, Jodi Wright.  Jodi had worked with Lana Rizzuto at Lakehead Athletics before so they discussed the opening that Alyssa’s landlord had mentioned.  After an interview where Alyssa highlighted her soft skills, she was offered a job as the Concussion Clinic Coordinator.  She has been working there since October 2015, and with her love of lifelong learning, is now concurrently pursuing her graduate diploma of Professional Kinesiology.  Congratulations Alyssa, and good luck to all the graduates out there.  If you’re struggling with your job search, YES can help.                                                                           


This Employment Ontario program is funded by the Ontario government

The Nishnawbi Aski Development Fund’s Forestry Expo was held at the Valhalla Inn on April 20th and 21st, 2016.  The Expo focused on attracting a new workforce into Forestry.  It was a great opportunity for YES to meet with Forestry Employers and talk to job seekers who are interested in the industry.

YES presented information about our Youth Job Link and Youth Job Connection programs to Thunder Bay Team Unbreakable on April 28th at the Canada Games Complex.  The group had just finished a run and was full of energy and eager to learn about local youth programs.



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