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“I apply for 30 jobs a week and don’t get a response”

“We received 30 applications, and only 2 people had the skills for the job”

Last week, I heard both of those sentences. The first was from a motivated, bright job seeker. The second was from a well known local company.

How can it be that someone with so much to offer is unsuccessful? How can it be that a reputable company can fail to attract qualified candidates?

There lies the challenge of both job seekers and employers. Both have failed to connect. And it’s been made even more difficult because of COVID.

All of the jobs I ever had since the start of university were made possible by a connection. Those connections make a big difference. Connections, whether personal or professional pull employers and job seekers closer together.

On the company’s side, here are ways to strengthen connections:

  • Expand the network you talk to about the jobs you are hiring for. Connect with former employees, customers, university/college programs, trades associations, immigrant groups, and First Nations employment services, as well as professional groups, volunteer groups, faith groups & sports groups.
  • Reduce the risk of hiring by “knowing” the people who apply. Knowing someone, or having a personal referral goes a long way. If you don’t know someone personally, then where they worked, where they went to school, or where they volunteered gives some reassurance. For newcomers to Canada, use services to understand credentials from another jurisdiction.
  • Participate in business or community events to raise the profile of your company. Support employees to participate in educational events, volunteer boards and professional groups.
  • Provide bonuses for employees who refer others to work for your company.

On the job seeker’s side, there are a few things that make a big difference:

  • Go beyond your personal friends and family. Ask those people to refer you to others to help get out of the bubble. 50% of jobs come from someone approaching an individual, rather than the individual approaching a company.
  • Use LinkedIn, personal networks or Alumni groups to build a professional network with professionals. Join professional organizations to make contacts as well.
  • Say yes, when someone suggests a company to talk to. You never know what opportunities are out there until you have the conversation.
  • Find online events through platforms like Eventbrite to attend to make connections outside your community.
  • Commit to going to one face-to-face event a week to connect with others. It could be a business mixer, a coffee with a friend or a birthday party.

The connection that helps pull the company and job seeker closer could be a university member, a former manager, business customer, a friend. It could be a professional association or a community connection.

Or it could be a career coach.

It’s been really tough with COVID to stay connected. Now that things are opening up, get out a bit. Whether it is a hockey game or volunteering at a soup kitchen. Whether it is an online webinar or a face-to-face clinic. Whether it is a run club or the local coffee shop. Make a few connections every week in-person or on-line, telling people you’re looking for a job, or wanting to hire. It’s time to build up our connections again.

Need help? Contact me .

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