New graduates in Alberta face a changing economy, but despite the current job market, students remain optimistic about employment opportunities upon graduation.
It’s no surprise to most post-secondary graduates that jobs in Alberta have been less than abundant in the past few years. However, many young people are choosing to be proactive as graduation approaches.
David Wagner is a Calgarian who will be graduating this April with his undergraduate degree in political science. Wagner said that he remains hopeful that he’s taken the right steps to secure a job.
Wagner said he began browsing job postings within the field he hoped to work in and noticed that many were looking for a combination of schooling and work experience.
“Rather than stressing about something I couldn’t control, I started doing any volunteer work I could get my hands on to help build my resume,” said Wagner.
“Anything helps, and employers will be more likely to notice you if you’ve had the opportunity to dip your toes into the industry while you’re still in school,” he said.
Other soon to be graduates are choosing to continue their education as a means to open the door to more job opportunities.
Chelise Reoch is graduating from Mount Royal University with her social work diploma in the spring.
Reoch said that the job market in Alberta is suffering in regards to the lack of opportunity.
“So many individuals are in need of a job currently, and there is just no room,” said Reoch.
She has decided to pursue her social work degree after she graduates, as a means to better secure the type of job she wants to pursue.
Reoch has also done practicum placements within her program, and believes they have provided her with the job skills she will need within her field.
“There are always volunteer opportunities to learn new skills, but I believe the right practicum placements are extremely beneficial to finding employment post graduation,” said Reoch.
There are several things students should consider before going out and applying for jobs.
Michelle Cochet, a human resource manager for an oil and gas company in Edmonton, said that how you present yourself when applying for a job will say a lot about you to an employer.
Cochet said one of the most important things for new grads to consider when applying for a job is investing the time to creating a well-written resume.
“You can tell how genuine someone is with their resume,” said Cochet.
“Education and work experience is great, but nothing is going to put me off more than receiving a terribly written resume.”
Cochet said that when she’s hiring, she looks for a resume that matches the objectives she’ has for the position, and she can tell if the applicant has made an effort to meet those objectives.
Cochet also stressed the importance of writing a cover letter for each job that is being applied for.
“A cover letter tells me that that person is interested enough that they’re going to put the extra 10 minutes into presenting themselves, rather than just presenting the facts,” said Cochet.
“A resume is just the facts.”
Another thing that Cochet said students should consider is to not pass on jobs for which they don’t meet every requirement.
Cochet said that it’s very unlikely that an employer will come across a resume that meets every job requirement they are looking for.
“You don’t need to have 100 per cent of the skills required to apply for the job,” said Cochet.
“I’ll take the ones that meet 70 to 80 per cent of the criteria and those are the ones that make my short list.”
Cochet said that another factor that hiring managers focus on is personality. Employers hiring for jobs within a tight knit office want a personality that will mesh with their current staff.
“A cover letter is a great way to let your personality shine through,” Cochet said.
You guys have worked hard to get to this point with your education, and you’re an asset to them as much as they are to you. – Michelle Cochet
Cochet said that ultimately one of the most important things for new graduates to remember is to never sell themselves short.
“You’re selling something to them and you’ve got something to offer and don’t forget that,” said Cochet.
“You guys have worked hard to get to this point with your education, and you’re an asset to them as much as they are to you.”