How to get a job in a competitive labour market

Networking, resumé writing, handshaking and more

To get a job done, you need tools. Maybe it’s a computer, or a hammer, a paring knife, whatever. But to actually get that job where you’ll have a chance to get a job done, you need a different set of tools.

We’re talking about resumés, networking skills, cover letters and more (you’ll need that computer again, though; no hammer or knife just yet).

These days, Alberta is home to a highly competitive labour market. That can be a challenge – but less so when you’ve come prepared for the task of beginning or rebooting a career. Here’s a techlifetoday toolbox full of everything you need to do just that.

1. Networking tips for novices

business networking eventNothing beats making connections face to face. Should you find yourself given the opportunity, make the most of it – as well as an excellent first impression – with these nine tips (along with three absolute dealbreakers).

2. An illuminating LinkedIn page

how to use linkedin

After you’ve made those vital personal connections, LinkedIn is the place to follow up on them. It’s also the place get noticed by those you’ve not yet met. Here’s how to get found and make sure that visitors like what they see.

3. A respectable resumé

resume tips

LinkedIn may have revolutionized job searches, but the resumé remains foundational to the process. It should be simple, comprehensive and suggest you’re the kind of person who cares about details. In fact, that’s step one in crafting this document: Check your spelling. Here are the other six steps.

4. A killer cover letter

how to write a cover letter

Build on your resumé by making a clear case that you’re the one for the job. That, in essence, is the job of the cover letter. It’s about you, but it’s also about how you and your values align with those of your employer. Here’s how to strike the balance.

5. Noteworthy tactics for new grads


It’s a frustrating truth: Young people tend to lose out to more experienced workers in mid-career. But another, happier truth is that youth have experience that shouldn’t go overlooked. Check out this story on job searching for new grads for ways to highlight that and impress potential employers.

6. A hearty handshake

handshake technique

Bone-crushing is bad. So is a dainty grip. Both say something to whomever you’re shaking hands with. Is it the right thing? Here’s how to master this time-honoured – and telling – gesture.

7. Persistence and a positive attitude

positive attitude

This may take time – enough that sometimes you may feel like giving up. Do not. Follow these steps to stay positive and keep at it. You’ve got all the tools you need. Just use them well.

4 often-overlooked tips for the interview

  1. Know your resumé. “Nothing comes off worse than if a candidate doesn’t even know what was on the document they submitted,” says one employer who’s regularly involved with NAIT’s Career Fair. Read it carefully before your interview.
  2. Bring references, even if the interviewer hasn’t requested them. This will show your  confidence in those you've listed in your resumé.
  3. Be unusually prepared. Know everything you can about the company you’re interviewing for, but know a little about your interviewer as well. Try to learn something about them (keep it professional, of course) in advance to help establish rapport.
  4. Ask questions too. At the end of the interview when, when asked if you have any questions, always say yes. Need ideas?
    1. What do you like about working here?
    2. Can you describe the company culture?
    3. What are the opportunities for advancement?

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