1. Decide a Target Job or Field of Work
Selecting a career from the many fields of career can be a difficult decision. Keep in mind that the average person changes careers five times in their lifetime so you are not limited to the choice you make now.
It is important to narrow your options to a particular field of work or family of jobs. This will help you decide what relevant information to include in your resume and cover letter. While some people find it helpful to have two or three career choices, rather than limiting themselves to one, it is a good idea to prioritize and have a direction in your job search.
Employers prefer cover letters and resumes that are tailored to their requirements versus general documents, so customizing your material greatly improves your chances of catching their attention!
If you are having trouble choosing a career field during this time of COVID, please call 905-828-5451 and make an appointment to speak with an Employment Strategist about relevant career resources, or with a Career Counsellor.
2. Research Employer Requirements
Employers consistently tell us that what impresses them the most are cover letters and resumes that demonstrate your knowledge of their organization.
This means having a good understanding of the required duties and qualifications outlined on the job posting, as well as having some knowledge of the organization's products, customers, goals, and challenges. In addition, understanding the organization's culture and values will help you determine if you would be the right fit.
Doing your research is a critical step in effective cover letter and resume preparation because it allows you to tailor your experience and skills to the employer’s needs. This increases the chances that you will be noticed among the hundreds of other applicants.
To find out more how to research organizations: During this time of COVID, you can browse our website or call 905-828-5451 and make an appointment to speak with an Employment Strategist about relevant career resources, or with a Career Counsellor.
3. Assess Your Qualifications
Qualifications is a word used to summarize your skills, knowledge and personal characteristics as demonstrated through your experience.
Skills describe things you can do such as writing, analyzing, problem solving. Go beyond your paid experiences: think about your university studies; your extracurricular activities; cultural, religious, charity group and sports teams that you are/were involved in.
To assess your skills use the Skills Articulation worksheet to make sure you understand all the skills you possess from your experiences.
Knowledge describes what you know, such as accounting terminology, science theories or human learning behaviours. Your university course content can be a major source of this kind of knowledge.
Employers also seek certain personal qualities or behaviours that have been proven to lead to success in the workplace. These are who you are, and include traits like team player, integrity and self-motivation.
Your experiences provide proof of your skills, knowledge and qualities; employers generally believe that if you have demonstrated these abilities in the past, then you will continue to do so for them.
Once you have identified your skills, knowledge and personal qualities- with examples to demonstrate your experience- then you can determine which of them match the job posting requirements and/or fit the culture of the company (based on your research).
Check out a sample of a documented qualifications match.
Keep in mind that having a good knowledge of your qualifications will help make your interviews great, too!
4. Link Your Qualifications with Employer Requirements
This step is very important because it shapes your marketing strategy. By linking examples that demonstrate your experience and/or skills, knowledge and character traits with the employer's requirements, you are using a tailored approach to present yourself in cover letters, resumes, networking and interviews.
Once you understand why you are a good fit, it is much easier to communicate that to potential employers.
Compare it with the employer’s requirements on your match analysis table.