First of all, it’s not easy to find a job in Peterborough.  Anyone who tells you that there are a plethora of jobs is either an engineer (as there are a lot of engineering jobs) or slightly delusional.  But, there are jobs to be found and made.  Here are a few pointers, from my experience, as to how to find a job in this town.

  1. Talk to friends and family and ask for their advice and assistance.  Most jobs are unadvertised and come from a connection with someone you know.  If people you know are not aware that you are looking for work, how can they make that connection for you? Keep in mind not to be obnoxious about this.  Don’t post every day on Facebook and Twitter that you are sick of being unemployed.  That would drive the closest friend away from helping you.
  2. Expand your networks.  This means meeting new people and talking to them.  Find out what they do and ask them questions about their work.  Find out what they care about and encourage them in those areas.  This has a lot to do with learning how to treat other people well with respect and sincerity and not as much to do with finding a job, but the results will be in your favour when they hear of a job opportunity open up.  The Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commmerce, the Greater Peterborough Area Economic Development Corporation, and many other groups host events that allow you to meet other people and talk to them.
  3. How you present your application makes a big difference.  I see a lot of resumes in my job.  Most are cookie-cutter resumes from templates that came from Microsoft 2003.  They are bad and they make you look bad.  Personalize your resume to the job ad by using the language from the job ad that matches to your skills. Google image search ‘executive resumes’ and gain an eye for formatting, design, and what layouts work well to bring out your skills and experience.  When you have the opportunity to hand a resume in, give it to the manager or owner.  Don’t give it to the staff working there.  Think about it if you were an owner of a business.  How likely are you to take a risk on interviewing someone you have never met before compared to someone that you have met? Within this heading is also an encouragement to research the employer before you meet them.  Study who they are and what they do before contacting them.
  4. Use the Internet to your advantage.  Your job search should have a small Internet component to determine the following:
  5. Who is currently hiring in my field of work?
  6. Who has employees in my field of work?
  7. How can I get in touch with these employers via phone, face-to-face, email, Twitter, Facebook, etc.?
  8. What events can I attend where I can meet people in this industry face-to-face?

I say the Internet should be a small component of your job search because if you stay at home looking for a job on the Internet, it is very likely that you will not find a job.  Some people do.  But most people find a job because they have met someone face to face.  This is generally how it works in Peterborough.

  1. Be prepared to cold call. Whether by phone, email, Twitter, or walking into someone’s office, be prepared to make sure that they know who you are, that you are looking for work, and that you are capable.  Cold calling is an art in itself so maybe I’ll reserve this for another post.
  2. Ask for an ‘information interview’. The purpose of information interviews is to ask employers if you can meet them face-to-face and ask industry-specific questions.  How does a particular industry operate?  What research or development are they involved in?  How does one obtain employment in their sector?  What skills and attributes are they looking for when they hire someone?  Here are some basic objectives:
  3. To have an opportunity to learn about their organization/business
  4. To ask about the different services available at their organization and in their sector
  5. To ask about how someone comes to apply for work at their organization
  6. To ask, that given your experience, how you can better prepare yourself for a position with them

To be clear, this is not a job interview.  This needs to very clear when you ask the employer so their expectation is geared towards the advice offered.  If they feel like you are asking for a job interview, they are much less likely to allow you this opportunity.  The key question, that I encourage you to ask, is the last one; how you can better prepare yourself going forward.  This information gathered, from someone connected to the industry, is very valuable and will assist you in your career path.  And… treat it like it is a job interview.

This post has been contributed by Michael VanDerHerberg, the Employment Services Coordinator at the New Canadians Centre.