New employment figures by Statistics Canada show many of Canada’s youth are giving up on the job search. The latest numbers show that the unemployment rate dropped to 6.9 per cent last month. While that’s the lowest number since December 2008, it’s not a sign that employment is improving in Canada – rather, it means 21,400 workers between the ages of 15 to 24 stopped looking for work.
With business activity still slow and a bleak economic outlook, employers aren’t hiring young people at the same rate as they were five years ago. This is translating to disenchantment among youth looking for traditional full time jobs.
Frustrating Times For Finding Work
In my profession, as it is in many, there is an expectation that you are going to be an expert at everything. Writing, chasing, recording audio and visual and editing along with those expectations is unrealistic. If you’re young and looking for work this demand can be frustrating.
Can’t find a job? Here are some of the most common mistakes new job seekers make. Are you guilty of one?
Mistake 1: Giving Up Because You Can’t Find Work
It sounds like a cliché, but getting the job means never giving up. You have to be relentless in your search. By throwing your hands in the air and declaring defeat you will get nothing. No one will ever call to offer you a job you have not pursued in some way.
Mistake 2: Only Applying For Posted Positions
When I first started looking for work after I graduated I would set a daily quota to make, for example, 10 quality connections every day per week. That did not mean going to Workopololis or Monster Jobs and applying for every job by posting the same generic cover letter and resume; it meant emailing or calling editors at radio and TV stations or newspapers I wanted to work at. It also meant contacting my peers working in the kind of jobs I wanted, and asking for advice. It could also mean following up with a lead that said they might have work later in the year, and that time is now here. This type of networking is an invaluable skill that I still use today.
Mistake 3: Mass Applying To Jobs
I alluded to this in the last section, but this is by far the worst way to find a job. By power applying to every job that has a key word in it that relates to your skills, you will never find the right job for you and you’ll waste a lot of time in the process. Every post you apply for should be one you understand, have done your research on and is work you could do. Your cover letter and resume should be tailored to fit the job you applying for.
Mistake 4: Listing Everything You’ve Ever Done On Your Resume
It’s important to show you have been employed in the past, but including the fact that you worked at a fast food joint for three months or babysat when you were 13 doesn’t help your adult job search. If you have no relevant work experience, start with your education highlighting the skills you learned in class that would translate to the job you’re applying for. To show you have been working you can mention in your cover letter that you started working at certain age and have held part time jobs since then.
Mistake 5: Letting It All Hang Out On Social Media
What you put online lives forever – I don’t need to tell you that. Make sure your Facebook photos are private and you control what you post on Twitter and especially LinkedIN. Make sure your LinkedIN page is up to date and on a public setting so employers can find you when then Google you, because they will.
Never Stop Searching
Of all the things youth can do to sabotage their careers, putting their job search on hold, in my opinion, ranks the highest. It’s a tough job market out there for young people. I know this because at least once or twice a month I’ll have a message arrive in my inbox from a keen and eager journalism graduate wanting advice on what they can do to find a job. Sadly, as job prospects continue to dwindle I’m finding fewer ways to guide them.