Your 2009 Outlook – How to approach the job market

It’s a competitive market place. Get your game on! While unemployment in the Vancouver area still remains relatively low comparative to other cities, there is now more of a shortage of good jobs. Your first impression and your strategy in your approach to your job search or employment outlook will make all the difference.

The McNak crystal ball on how to approach this job market:

If you are looking for a job:

1. The most successful job seekers will be the ones who can take the key skills they have and translate them into assets for others. Consider your volunteer work and school co-op as areas to draw upon.

2. Look to temporary staffing as the broadest reach of the general market place. Opportunities may not be as obvious as they have been before. Contract employment might lead to permanent work.

3. Be flexible and open minded. You may need to revise your ‘wish list’ and be totally prepared to work hours and in areas out of your ‘ideal’. Remember that the skills learnt at these new places of employment can set the pace for fantastic future opportunities in the future that are more perfect for you.

4. Share your search. Make sure that you leave no stone unturned. Tell your friends, teachers and references. Remember that your hair stylist and dental hygienist also hear a lot of what’s going on and may know of a great job!

5. Take a close look at your resume. Make sure that you have a clear focus and highlight your strengths. Companies are looking for value and results. Be specific whenever you can. Make sure you get someone else that you can trust to proofread your resume.

6. If you are targeting a specific job then make sure that you take the time to change the summary statement of your resume each time you submit a resume. It is best to mention the job opportunity when you are applying to a specific job. Nothing drops you down the ranks faster than when you hand in a resume with the wrong information on it!

If you are still employed and want to remain there:

1. What you do everyday makes a big difference. Your positive outlook and pitch in attitude will give you great mileage! And your positive vibes should be contagious to others.

2. Look at problems as opportunities. Look at market slowdown as a chance to regroup and re-strategize. There is more time now to make improvements.

3. Show up early and stay late when you can. Not to bank overtime, but to show your employer how much your company means to you. Your exemplary initiatives will be noticed.

4. If you have metrics or targets – go above and beyond.

5. Now is not the time to ask for a raise. It will come in good time. Wait for it.

6. Be fiscally responsible. By this consider what you and other team mates can go without. Lead some office initiatives on recycling and other ways to save on resources. This will not only help improve the office bottom line but will be good for the environment.

Remember. Vancouver is still one of the most desirable places in the world to live and work. Chin up. Things will turn around.

~ Sarah McNeill


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