Here are Essential Tips and Resources to Help You In Your Career
New year, new opportunities to level up your career! You deserve to have a career where you feel fulfilled and happy. We’re here to help you land your dream job and grow in your career this year. Reality check, the majority of your time spent during the day is at work. So it only makes sense that you should take time to find the right job for you. Life’s too short to not enjoy your job!
Consider this your guide to furthering your career skills and finding and landing the right job. Read on for crucial job-searching resources, interview advice, tips to land your dream job, and more! We’re covering everything you need to know, all in one blog post.
Even if you aren’t looking for a new job right now, this blog may still apply to you. We’re sharing many tips that will also help you improve your career development overall—so that when the time comes for you to grow in your workplace or seek a new opportunity, you are ready and equipped.
P.S. If you’re looking for a career at a place that cares for you and the community, apply to work with us at Union Gospel Mission! Working here not only transforms your life, but other people’s lives too.
We are hiring for a variety of positions, so please visit our job board. If you don’t currently see an opportunity that’s the right fit, check again later as we are always adding new positions. Follow UGM on Instagram and LinkedIn as well, as we share bi-weekly roundups of our open opportunities!
1. Write down a career bucket list / priorities
Before you start applying for every open position, you need to figure out your direction first. Take time to determine what’s most important to you in a job, so that you search for a job that fits your needs. This way, you have a target in mind instead of shooting aimlessly and just seeing whatever job opening you land on. Writing out what you actually want in your career saves you time from applying or working in the wrong position that doesn’t suit your skills or passions.
For example, many of our staff at UGM were seeking a job that was meaningful, purposeful and fun—so they came to work at our non-profit, which helps fight homelessness, addiction and poverty in Metro Vancouver.
“I just love people in general, and so I enjoy that my job is so relational. The fact that I get to build trust and talk with a wide variety of people every day and hear about their lives and growth is so rewarding. I am thankful for the fact that I am constantly learning from the people I work with.
I appreciate that the culture is warm and supportive. It’s clear that the leadership on every level genuinely cares about the well-being of everyone here, employees and community members alike. It’s refreshing to be in an environment that I know values me as a person, not merely as a worker.” - Jemma, UGM staff member / Career Development Counsellor & Music Therapist, Men’s Recovery Services
2. Evaluate what type of roles you’d be best suited for
If you’re looking for a new job or career, take some time to self-reflect beyond just what you’re looking for in a job, to also consider what type of job would suit you. For example, you can take career aptitude tests to learn what roles best cater your style.
“Before beginning the job search process, take a good look at your previous experience and honestly answer these questions: What are my strengths? What are my challenges? What do I enjoy doing? What would I like to avoid doing? What are my values? What kind of work environment do I thrive in?
Answering these questions can help with targeting your job search, to the type of job and company that aligns with you. A targeted job search is more effective than sending out mass applications. Answering these questions will also help with creating your resume and laying the framework for answering interview questions when the time comes.” - Winna, UGM staff member / Partner, People and Culture
3. Research job opportunities
There are many resources that help you find job openings. For example, here are some of the websites/tips we’d recommend:
Use websites like LinkedIn, Indeed and Google Careers to find open opportunities
When looking for work specifically in the non-profit sector, use Charity Village
Create Google Alerts for certain keywords and jobs
“Places such as WorkBC, Mission Possible, EMBERS Staffing and Eastside Works, the Vancouver Public Library, and other organizations offer various levels of support for people to find and maintain training and employment.
If you don’t have access to a computer, the Vancouver Public Library is a great option for Internet searching for jobs, writing resumes and cover letters, filling out applications, etc. Practice being open to new experiences that may not have been what you initially were planning on or expecting. Keeping an open mind about a job, volunteer position, or educational pursuit may mean that you end up somewhere that is not what you expected but still is fulfilling.
Also, as best you can, try to hold an attitude of optimism balanced with realism – you will never find a perfect job, you may have to work your way up to the position you ultimately want, you might have to stretch yourself or step outside of your comfort zone, but there genuinely is a job opportunity out there for everyone and sometimes it will just take time to find it. Career is a non-linear journey and everyone’s experience of it is unique to them. As cliché as it sounds, it is important to be patient with the process, and with yourself.” - Jemma, UGM staff member / Career Development Counsellor & Music Therapist, Men’s Recovery Services
“Use a variety of methods in finding a job, for example, do a combination of applying online and networking. Know that it could be a lengthy process and be prepared to be persistent. Incorporate self care routines to keep you going, and remember to take breaks
Rejection is also a normal part of the process. Although it can be hard to do, look at the rejection and see what you can do differently next time to improve your chances of landing a job. Also know that a lot of times, rejection is out of your control and is due to external circumstances – so don’t take it personally. Believe that there is a job out there for you.” - Winna, UGM staff member / Partner, People and Culture
4. Expand your skill set
Whether you’re looking for a new career or just wanting to grow in your current role, it never hurts to diversify your skill set and learn new soft or hard skills.
A great way to help the community and also gain valuable skills for your career? Volunteering! It’s a win-win situation. Our volunteers share that volunteering has helped them gain skills for the workforce. Visit our website to see the variety of volunteer opportunities we have for you.
“I’ve discovered that I’m more capable and compatible with others than I thought. Through volunteering at UGM, I’m able to work well in a team, and I’ve become better at working under pressure and completing tasks on time. I’m proud that I’m able to follow instructions and stay on task from beginning to end.
The UGM staff are so friendly, I feel very included and happy to be here. I like that I’m doing things that help other people, while developing my own skills. I’m able to try out new tasks that I’ve never done before!” - Brayden, UGM Volunteer
Another method to increase your knowledge that you can do on your own time? Take online classes. Many sites like LinkedIn Learning, Skillshare, MasterClass and more offer a plethora of classes on all types of subjects: from marketing to cooking, gardening, coding and more. Maybe it’ll help you elevate your career or even discover a passion you never knew you had.
Networking can be a big help in your job search. It can result in job leads, referrals and more! “Use your network. Reach out to old coworkers or employers, and put the word out amongst your friends, family, or community that you are looking for a job. Everyone has a network, it’s just a matter of recognizing that you have one and then using it.
Consider attending a networking event or job fair. Volunteer – it can be a great opportunity to hone your skills and build up your network by meeting people in the field you’re interested in.” - Jemma, UGM staff member / Career Development Counsellor & Music Therapist, Men’s Recovery Services
A great way to network? Volunteering! It allows you to meet people of all backgrounds and life stages, and to encounter those you may otherwise not meet. Plus, you’re making a difference in the community! A win-win.
If you’d like to try volunteering and help end homelessness, poverty and addiction in your community, visit our website or check out Go Volunteer and learn all the different ways you can volunteer: whether it’s in our kitchen, with our Thrift Store or more.
6. Refine your resume and cover letter
First impressions count – and your resume and cover letter are your first opportunity to catch the eye of the workplace you’re interested in. There are several methods you can use to make sure your application stands out from the stack.
“Make sure your resume is up-to-date. If you have many long gaps in your employment history, consider making a skills-based/functional resume rather than the traditional chronological resume. Functional resumes group your different strengths first, then list your employment history at the end in a concise way.
You can include unpaid experiences if they helped you build relevant skills – ex. internships or volunteering. If you are having trouble remembering or describing what you did at a previous job, try Googling the job description and use that as a starting point (identify and use points that applied to you and put them into your own words) to generate ideas of what to put down.
Free websites such as resume.com and Canada’s Job Bank Resume Builder have templates, prompts, tips, and examples on how to format and build your resume.” - Jemma, UGM staff member / Career Development Counsellor & Music Therapist, Men’s Recovery Services
“Take time to match your cover letter to the job posting – make sure you highlight some skills and experiences that you can glean from your resume and the job position and write them into the cover letter. Highlight your on-the-job experiences within your resume – make sure that it is easy to read with bullet points.” - Tom, UGM staff member / Partner, People & Culture
7. Prepare and practice for your interview
If When you land an interview, give yourself a big pat on the back because that’s a big deal! An interview is a great opportunity for you to not only show why you are the right candidate, but also to learn if you see yourself being a fit at the company. Interviews can be nerve wracking, but change your mindset and see it as a two-way street. Both parties are taking time to discern whether it’s the right fit.
Before the interview even starts, you can already start to take steps to success. “One of the biggest myths people hold heading into an interview is that they can’t prepare ahead of time. In reality, there are many ways you can set yourself up ahead of time for success in the actual interview.
Do your research about the company’s values, motto/vision statement, and work so that you can align your answers with what you know is important to them and demonstrate keenness about the job.
Prepare for potential questions by reading through the job posting and matching your skills with the position’s requirements, as well as preparing thoughtful answers to common interview questions. While you don’t want to sound like an over-rehearsed robot, coming up with main points you want to get across over the course of the interview will help you think of things to say in the moment. Do a practice interview with a trusted friend – it’s one thing to have a mental answer, it’s another thing to actually practice saying it aloud in a confident manner.” - Jemma, UGM staff member / Career Development Counsellor & Music Therapist, Men’s Recovery Services
During the interview, let your true self shine through! “Be yourself! Always go in with a positive attitude and see the interview more like having a conversation rather than just answering questions. This helps you to calm yourself before and during the interview and speak more positively about yourself.” - Sharon, UGM staff member / Partner, People & Culture
After the interview, be sure to send a thank you note to your interview. Not only is it common courtesy, but it is also a great opportunity for you to further reiterate why you are the right fit for the position.
At UGM, we offer a variety of career resources for community members and people in our recovery programs to help them re-enter the workfield. For instance, we offer one-on-one career counselling, which includes help with job searching, resumes, funding applications and more. We also host career classes, specialized workshops that empower people to be job-ready, including FoodSafe, First Aid, Money Skills, Responsible Adult, and more. We also have a scholarship and internship program for program participants and alumni.
Your dream job could be just one click away, on our job board! Working at UGM doesn’t just transform your life, but other people’s lives too. Every day at UGM, you get a life changing opportunity to uplift people who are struggling with homelessness, addiction and poverty. Get ready to come to work every day inspired. We need motivated, compassionate people like YOU to join forces with us to end homelessness, poverty and addiction in Metro Vancouver.
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