You have a SIN Card, and your resume in hand (or maybe twenty). You are ready to enter into the Canadian job market, confident about the skills you have acquired, and willing to learn more. The question is, how exactly do you enter into the job market? Where do you go to find a job?

If you are in school and looking for a job, your guidance counselor will have resources for you. If you are about to graduate, or are not currently in school, you have several options. You can visit a Youth Employment Centre, access Job Connect, or contact your local YMCA.

What Government Resources Can Help Me Get a Job?

Youth.gc.ca is a central source of information (hosted by the Government of Canada) about programs and services available to you as you search for jobs. For more information, visit their website or phone their information line at: 1-800-926-9105.

If you are between 15 and 30 years of age, legally able to work in Canada, and either a citizen, permanent resident, or have gained refugee status, you can participate in the Youth Employment Strategy. In addition to Youth.gc.ca, the Government of Canada created the Youth Employment Strategy (YES) to help Canadian youth get information on jobs, developing valuable work skills, making the transition from school to work, and staying employed.

YES offers the following programs that you may be interested in:

  • Skills Link – if you are not currently in school, Skills Link can connect you to community organizations that will help develop your skills and the experience you need to enter into the Canadian job market
  • Summer Work Experience – if you are currently enrolled in high school, college, or university, the Summer Work Experience program can connect you to employers looking to hire youth for summer jobs. The Summer Work Experience program includes two initiatives: a) Canada Summer Jobs, an initiative that gets you summer job opportunities if you are between 15 and 30; and b) Service Canada Centres for Youth (SCCY), centers located across Canada that are open to the public and free of charge (from the months of May to August), and will help you find a summer job. SCCY can also provide you with information on looking for work, writing resumes, and preparing for interviews
  • Career Focus – if you have graduated from university, this program will help you transition into the work force
  • You can also check out Service Canada's various job search tools, or visit your local Service Canada Centre. Find the centre closest to you by clicking here.

Take a look at the links below for websites where you can search for jobs and get more information on developing your skills and experience.

I’ve been looking for jobs on the internet. Where else can I look?

Printed Sources – Take a trip to your local library! Libraries are a great place to study, but they are also a place with lots of information (books and resources) about finding work. Also, take advantage of your daily newspaper and search for jobs in their “Classifieds” section. A directory of newspapers across Ontario can be found here.

Tap Into the “Hidden Job Market” – The “Hidden Job Market” is a term used for the jobs that are out there, but more difficult to find. Your skills, abilities and knowledge are the most important things you need to get a job, but sometimes, employers may choose not to advertise the jobs they need to fill. So how do you find out about these jobs? You need to get active about your job search, and start reaching out to the people you know. Another word for this is “networking.”

What is Networking?

Networking is about two things: developing new contacts as well as contacting old contacts (such as family, friends, and people you have worked with in the past) who might help you in your job search. These contacts are the people who make up your “network” and who may help you land a job. Networking also means being proactive. For example, instead of waiting for employers to advertise jobs online, networking means contacting them in a professional and courteous way to let them know that you are interested in working with them.

Who is Part of My Network? How do I Start Networking?

Not sure who is in your network? Start by listing the people you know and who you could talk to about job opportunities. Your network can include almost anyone: friends, family members, relatives, neighbours, teachers, counselors, people you have worked with in the past. Even your dentist is a contact in your network!

There are no rules about networking, but here are some basic steps that might help:

  • Compile a list that includes the phone numbers or email addresses of everyone in your network. Start contacting them and let them know that you are looking for a job. Ask if they know if any organizations are hiring. Let them know which kinds of work you would most like to do.
  • Look up companies and organizations you want to work for. If the company has a website with a “jobs” or “employment” section, take a look if there are openings you might want to apply to. In most cases, applying to a job online means emailing or mailing your resume and, in some cases, a cover letter.
  • If you cannot locate job openings, you can try contacting the company directly. This means either their Human Resources department or the manager responsible for hiring. You can find the contact information for most businesses and organizations using a search engine like Google or through a directory website like Canada 411.
  • Email or phone them directly, and indicate your interest in applying for a job. In either case, briefly introduce yourself, express interest in their company, and outline the basic experience you have.

For example: “Hello, my name is ____________. I am calling/emailing to inquire about potential job openings with your company. I am very interested in this kind of work and would love to find out more. If you are currently hiring, I would be happy to send you my resume. If there are no openings at this time, I am still very interested in knowing when you anticipate there might be. ”

No matter what they say, thank your contact. Keep their information on file. You never know when you might need it again!

As you continue in your job search, it is very important to keep a good attitude, and look for jobs that complement what you are interested in or passionate about. Getting a job is important for making money so that you can survive; but getting a job you are truly interested will make you thrive! Remember what inspires you, and keep that inspiration with you as you search for jobs. The world is your oyster!