From Jobs to Careers: Tips and Strategies for Graduating Students Entering the Workforce

Tips and Strategies for Graduating Students

From Jobs to Careers: Tips and Strategies for Graduating Students Entering the Workforce

Tips and Strategies for Graduating Students

With the summer in full swing, many young Canadians graduating from post-secondary programs are eager to embark on their chosen career path and enter the workforce. Securing a job in your desired field can be daunting, especially in a competitive job market. However, with the right strategies and a proactive approach, young graduates can increase their chances of finding employment that aligns with their career aspirations.

1. Leverage (and Expand) Your Network:
Now that you’re a graduate in your field, don’t be afraid to make the most of your connections! Take the time to connect with your professors, old classmates, and industry professionals through LinkedIn. Leveraging the relationships you made in school, be it, faculty or students, could help you get one step closer to your first job.

    • Request Letters of Recommendation: When applying for internships, graduate programs, or scholarships, a strong letter of recommendation can greatly enhance your chances of success. Take the time to build strong relationships with your professors who can speak to your skills, work ethic, and academic achievements. With an already established rapport, it’ll make it easier to request a letter of recommendation that could help you secure that desirable job opportunity you’ve got your eye on.

Other networking avenues to explore are career fairs and industry events! By attending career fairs, you’ll gain the opportunity to connect directly with career counselors who can help you plan your job search, build your resume, and serve as a great sounding board for all your job-search questions. Establishing career fair connections can also help you obtain a direct point of contact with employers who may be able to connect you with upcoming internship or employment opportunities! Remember to keep up-to-date resumes and business cards with you whenever you attend a career fair or networking event, as you never know when an opportunity will come up and the potential job that could come out of it.

2. Tailor Your Resume and Cover Letter:
Craft a targeted resume and cover letter for each job application, highlighting the relevant skills, experiences, and achievements that you hold that align with the job requirements. Tailoring your application to match the specific job posting demonstrates your genuine interest in the role and is bound to make a positive impression on potential employers. Here are some helpful resources that can help you build your resume:

    • Canva Resumes: Canva is an online design tool that offers a range of resume templates for you to choose from that are visually appealing and easy to customize. It provides a user-friendly interface with drag-and-drop functionality, allowing you to create a professional-looking resume even without design experience.
    • Google Docs: Google Docs provides a free and widely accessible platform for creating resumes. It offers several resume templates that you can customize to suit your needs. Additionally, Google Docs allows for easy collaboration and cloud storage of your resume.
    • offers a simple and intuitive resume builder that guides you through each section of your resume. It provides a range of templates and customization options, allowing you to create a professional resume quickly.

3.Develop a Strong Online Presence:
In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial to your job search. Creating a professional LinkedIn profile that showcases your skills, experience, and career goals is an effective way to help you stand out to a prospective employer.

Make the most of your LinkedIn user profile by engaging in industry-related discussions, joining relevant online groups, and following influential companies. By effectively engaging with like-minded professionals online, you could establish connections that could be leveraged to help you find your first role in your chosen field. Along with LinkedIn, don’t be afraid to make an online portfolio that further promotes you or your work. It will allow you to showcase your talents in your area of expertise, increase your visibility, and potentially open the door to job opportunities. From Adobe Portfolio and Squarespace, to Wix, there are an array of online portfolio creator tools available for you to use for free or for a small fee.

4. Utilize Job Search Platforms:
Explore various job search platforms that cater specifically to job seekers, such as Indeed, LinkedIn Jobs, and Glassdoor. These platforms often offer features to filter job listings based on industry, location, and experience level. We recommend regularly monitoring these platforms and setting up email alerts to stay updated on new opportunities that fit your criteria.Pro Tip: Be specific in your searches. If there is something that you want to specialize in, this is your opportunity to intern and start in the sector of the industry you want to be in.

5. Tap into Internship and Co-op Programs:
Consider participating in internship or co-op programs relevant to your field of study. Programs such as these provide valuable hands-on experience and can often lead to full-time employment opportunities. Take the time to research companies and organizations that offer such programs, and actively apply for internships or co-op positions to gain practical industry experience. TalentEgg is a website that partners with companies across Canada to help students or recent graduates find entry-level positions, co-op programs, and internship positions in their career path. This tailored approach ensures that the opportunities listed on TalentEgg are relevant and accessible to help new graduates kickstart their careers.Taking on an internship or co-op opportunity is a great way to dip your toes into the working world. By doing so, you’ll get to tackle real-world challenges, take on responsibilities, contribute to meaningful projects, and gain valuable on-the-job experience, that will help you gain confidence in your professional capabilities.

6. Volunteer and Gain Transferable Skills:
Volunteering presents an excellent opportunity for graduates to gain relevant experience, develop transferable skills, and expand their professional network. Seek organizations or events related to your chosen career path and offer your time and skills. Volunteering demonstrates your commitment and passion to that organization, enhances your resume and helps provide you with valuable references you can leverage later. Through volunteering, you will have ample opportunities to connect with professionals, community leaders, and like-minded individuals that can help you expand your professional networks, forge valuable connections, and gain mentors who can guide and support you in your career journey.For individuals who may have gaps in their employment history, not to worry! Volunteering can be an effective way to help you stay active, develop skills, and demonstrate your commitment to continuous learning and growth. By volunteering your time, you showcase a proactive approach to personal and professional development, making you more appealing as a candidate to potential employers.

7. Stay Informed and Seek Mentorship:
Keep up to date with industry trends, news, and advancements. Subscribe to industry newsletters, join professional associations, and follow influential thought leaders in your field. Seeking professional mentorship in your desired career path can also provide valuable guidance and insights into the job market.A mentor can offer invaluable guidance and support throughout a mentee’s career journey. Drawing from their own experiences, insights, and knowledge, they can provide advice, direction, and encouragement to help stay motivated in your job search. Simply put, having a mentor can help graduates navigate challenges, make informed decisions, and avoid potential pitfalls.

As a new graduate, it’s important to approach this phase of your life with determination, resilience, and a proactive mindset. While the journey may seem daunting, the opportunities and resources available can help pave the way for your success.  So, graduates, confidently step into the future, seize opportunities, and let your enthusiasm and dedication propel you towards a successful and rewarding career.

Canada’s Credit Unions Care About Helping Young Canadians Unlock the Career of Their Dreams

For new graduates or those looking for a transition in their career path, securing that first job in your chosen career field can feel daunting or stressful. Whether you want a job in communications, engineering, or anything in-between, these tips could bring you one step closer to achieving your career goals. If you want to explore a career in financial services, Canada’s credit unions are proud employers to almost 30,000 Canadians nationwide, and you could be one too! Not yet a credit union member? Find your nearest credit union here