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Opening Doors for Children & Families

How To Land Your Dream Job

I graduated from my degree at Mount Royal University in 2004. The job market was pretty great. I can’t say I was particularly concerned about getting a job; in fact I had job offers before I had officially graduated. Not to say it wasn’t intimidating, with years spent in an academic bubble I had no idea how to navigate the corporate world. I remember being told, “With your degree you will just step right into management roles.” Not the case. Let’s face it, that doesn’t happen to very many people although for some reason I think new graduates are led to believe that.

This week I had the opportunity to be a representative for ABC Head Start at the University of Alberta’s 2013 Career Fair. I spoke to countless students. I was on my feet, spreading my passion until my throat was sore and my voice crackled. Just when I thought I couldn't possibly do my pitch one more time another energetic, passionate, enthusiastic student approached and I fed off their energy. I noticed something particularly amazing about this group of students; not only were the students looking for the perfect career, they wanted to feel like they were making a difference and consequently felt pulled to the non-profit sector.

As the students walked away I felt a mix of emotion. I spoke to so many wonderful people, eager and excited to start their career but today’s job market is a tough one. It is much more competitive than when I graduated. I see it every time we run a competition for a position here at ABC Head Start. We often get 80 to 100 resumes for one job posting. So how do you get your resume to stand out, particularly in the non-profit sector?

In my humble opinion, resumes stand out when the passion and energy ooze from the page. No more submitting standard resumes, show me how creative you can be, tell me why this is the job you were made for, demonstrate how YOU are the perfect person for the job.

So here it is, my list of the five steps you can take to land the perfect job:

1) GET YOUR FOOT IN THE DOOR; Take entry level jobs if there is an opportunity to move up and inform your supervisor of your career goals so they can support you to get there,

2) VOLUNTEER; It is a great way to see if this really is the job for you AND it lends nicely to #1,

3) GET CREATIVE; Tailor your resume and cover letter to the position and the agency,

4) DO YOUR RESEARCH; Learn about the agency, understand what they do and the clients they serve, visit their website, engage with them on social media,

5) NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK; Meet people and get involved with their causes, non-profit agencies are like family and tend to hire based on referrals.

You can find career opportunities for ABC Head Start and some other awesome non-profit organizations at careersforcommunity.ca.

With the support of volunteers, ABC Head Start Society is able to support vulnerable children and families throughout the year. Volunteers contribute by sharing their ideas, talents and energy to events, on our Board of Directors and fundraisers, and in providing direct support to children, parents/caregivers and families.