Job seekers today who are looking for work in their fields no longer need to engage in their job search on their own. Provincial and federal governments are funding a number of non-profit community agencies across the Greater Toronto Area to provide a wide range of employment support and training services to diverse individuals from various sectors who are unemployed or underemployed. Community agencies offer the job seeker programs to help with resume writing, interview skills preparation, networking in the hidden job market and with employers, career decision-making workshops, Canadian workplace communication courses, employment counseling, and job development. Other services include Enhanced Language Training (ELT) which are occupational specific helping internationally trained professionals with sector-specific language and communication customized to help them with their job search and securing employment in their field in Canada.
One critical support service available to unemployed job seekers at community agency’s is Job Development. There are an array of job titles defining this position at the agencies other than “Job Developer”. Some job titles which I’ve read in job postings include Vocational Counsellor, Career Development Officer, Career Practitioner, Employment Specialist, Workforce Specialist, Employer Liaison or Marketing Specialist, Employment Advisor, Job Coach, or Employment Specialist. As with the job titles, there are a variety of job descriptions for the job developer role at the different agencies. Sometimes the position combines job development and employment counselling.
Job Developers can engage in a number of activities with the goal of linking job searchers to employers. This may include liaising with employers to find leads for jobs or placements, promoting candidates to potential employers and supporting clients as they begin their jobs/placements, to support them in maintaining their jobs. For the purpose of this article, I will focus on the job development services which I provide at my workplace to unemployed job seekers, with a recommendation that job seekers understand these services so that they can best utilize such professionals for their job search.
To work effectively with a Job Developer, here are six important points you may want to consider:
- Self-sufficiency — The more you take responsibility for your own job search and the more you have “ownership” of it, the more successful you will be. It’s important to learn as much as you can from the job developer about the tools required for your job search, but in the end you need to implement this knowledge and information on your own. Don’t depend on the job developers to do this for you; they will present you with job opportunities and it is up to you to take advantage of them as much as possible, as you never know where a job interview can lead. Consider participating in every job search workshop, employment counselling, career decision-making workshop or other relevant services offered by the employment centre. If there is a training course which is appropriate, check it out, too.
- Research, Research, Research – this is a critical tool for your job search. The Toronto Public Library has a fantastic tour of its leading research capabilities online and at the library to help you with your job search. Research the companies which you think could use your skills, experience, abilities and education. Identify who could be the decision maker at the company (a book such the Scotts Directory has this information, as well as on the company website or their LinkedIn page) and who might interview you. Research potential mentors online, via LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media networks. Research before you do anything to ensure that you have up to date information and that you are on the right track. Share this information with your job developer and see how they might help you approach these companies on your own or with support. Researching for information is a skill. If you need help with learning this skill, ask your job developer. Before you meet an employer for an interview or an information session, make sure you research the company and the employer if possible before the event, so you are prepared!
- Follow up — always follow-up with your job developer to keep them updated as to your activities with your job search, and ask if you have any questions or concerns. If you have a job interview, I would highly recommend connecting with your job developer to see if they can practice interview skills with you before the interview , to get some honest feedback and increase your chances of success. If you have cold-called employers, follow-up with the job developer to get the feedback for this effort, as well.
- Do your homework — when attending the job search workshops, or other courses, I highly recommend that you do your homework. You will become more self-sufficient, more informed, more educated and probably be more alert to opportunities in the Canadian labour market. If your job developer gives you tasks to do, make sure to complete them and to check in with them for feedback.
- Ask for feedback — before and after an interview, your job developer is there to help you practice what you’ve learned in the workshops, as well as provide you an understanding of the workplace culture of the company where you are being interviewed. It’s worth staying open and flexible to hear the job developer’s feedback about your interview, resume and any other parts of your job search. You might have to ask for this directly.
- Understand your learning style and personality preferences – Self-awareness is key to success. To be able to identify a suitable career and job goal for yourself, you need to understand your strengths, weaknesses, interests and passions. The more you know about yourself, the better you will equipped to pursue a suitable job opportunity. Understanding your learning style can help you learn the job search skills more effectively, and when working with the job developer, this could be helpful information for the practitioner so they can relay the information to you in a manner which is most comfortable for you.
As a job seeker enrolled in one of the government-funded employment support services in the community, you may have access to a job developer. These strategies will hopefully enable you to understand how to maximize your potential and opportunities in the Canadian labour market by working effectively with your job developer. In the end, you are responsible for your own job search and we are here to support you to reach your career goal.
Looking for employment supports? Check out our website to find which of our five Employment Source Centres located throughout the GTA are near you.