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Calgary in Transition: Advice for Graduates

A report published by CBC earlier in June has indicated that the job market in Calgary is in the midst of an economic downturn.

But in reaction to this slump – and the thousands of graduates that will soon add to the market – CBC has published a collection of advice from Heather Heasman, a lecturer in Mount Royal University.

“We need to adapt and find work in this new reality as there are no guarantees anymore,” said Heasman. Check out these top five tips for improving your employability…

Apply for everything

“You no longer have the luxury of waiting for your dream job to come to you on a silver platter,” explains Heasman. “Apply for everything, as any opportunity you have to build skill should be explored.” Aim to always have at least 10-15 applications on the go. You do not need to limit yourself to roles in your area of education, look for work that will complement or enhance your skills or for jobs that you find interesting. Even if it only pays minimum wage.

Enhance your skills

Too often graduates will shy away from roles because they fear they do not have the relevant skills. Apply anyway. Remember: you are not a finished product. You have years of regression and revision to come and you still have so much to learn. Graduate roles are designed around teaching. Employers want to see potential as much as they do hard skills. “Be passionate and confident,” adds Heasman.

Use your connections

It is not uncommon to hear of people getting jobs through the ‘grapevine’ and often it can be a case of who you know, not what you know. But it does not matter how you get in. It is about how you prove yourself once you get there. Heasman recommends that you work on your LinkedIn profile and utilise your university network from professors to peers. Career websites like GradLink are also great tools finding dream roles.

Perfect your pitch

Heasman writes that in her entrepreneurship classes one of the questions she asks is: when does the pitch start? For applicants, this pitch begins with your covering letter. Heasman advises that you should “be mindful of professional style, tone, grammar and spelling” and to “have someone you respect review and edit everything.”

If you are meeting someone in your network to discuss employment options, dress for it. “Be on time. Be prepared. Send a handwritten thank you note. Remember that you are not the only one that your contact is speaking with. Be unforgettable.”

Never give up

Heasman concludes with a rally for positivity. The transition from student to graduate is always a hard one, especially in time of bleak economic outlook, but it is important that you keep trying. She writes “Innovate. Be persistent. Keep calm and persevere on.”

Every single person you admire has once been stood where you are now standing, so be patient and have faith in yourself, soon-to-be graduates, in Calgary and beyond. For the first step in your journey, check out GradLink for all of our fantastic opportunities just waiting to be clicked.

By David Gee Published: July 07, 2016

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