General Job Search Q and A
Resume and Cover Letters
Applying for Jobs
Good Job! Book
Good Work! Book
Good Work! Facilitator’s Guide
Un travail pour moi!
Employment and Training Websites
General Job Search Q and A
Q: What will I need to find a job?
A: Here are the basics:
► A Social Insurance Number (SIN)
► A reliable phone number and answering machine
► Time set aside for job searching
► A positive attitude
► A nice set of clothes
►Help if you want it, from YES. To register to speak to someone at YES click here.
Q: How long will my job-search take?
A: Sometimes only a few days but it might take weeks or even months – so stick with it. Have a positive attitude: You will get that job! Rejection is normal; it happens to everyone. The important thing is to get going right away.
Q: How much time should I spend looking for work?
A: You’ll often hear people say “it’s a full time job getting a job” because it can take a lot of time. The more time you spend on your job search, the better your chances of finding a job sooner.
Q: When do I get a chance to talk to someone?
A: People looking for a first job commonly have to submit 20 résumés for every interview they get. Actually getting a job may take several interviews. So don’t be discouraged.
Q: So are most of my résumés wasted?
A: No. Employers can keep them “on file” for future job openings and get back to you weeks, even months later. So keep a list of all the places you’ve applied, where they are located and who you talked to there.
Q: How can I keep from getting discouraged?
A: Think: I will get a job. Stay at it and try your best. It will happen. Everyone was once in the same position as you are now. They made it and you will too.
Q: What if I can’t wait to find a job?
A: If you need a full-time job today because you are desperate for money to pay rent or buy food, contact YES Toronto or your local youth employment centre. We can help. Call today.
Q: What if I don’t have an address or phone number right now?
A: You still have options. YES Toronto can often get you a free voice mail box and phone number to use while you are looking for work. We can also help you get connected to housing services and social assistance.
Q: How much will a job search cost me?
A: Job searching costs some money. YES Toronto and other employment centres can help with free services – including Internet access, faxing and newspapers. YES Toronto often arranges free transportation too – and even clothes for interviews.
Q: Where’s the best place to look for jobs?
A: Many jobs are not advertised. You can tap into this “hidden job market” by:
► Seeking out free employment programs and services
► Searching on the Internet
► Attending job fairs
► Visiting job banks
► Conducting information interviews with employers
► Knocking on doors
Q: What is networking?
A: Networking is simply telling everyone you know that you are looking for a job, and asking them to tell people they know. It’s important since most young people get their first few jobs through connections — relatives, teachers, coaches, friends and parents of friends.
Q: How do I network?
A: Take a few hours to call everyone you can think of. The more people you tell, the better your chances will be. Tell them the kind of job you are looking for and the special skills you have to offer.
Q: How do I ask about networking?
A: Say something like this: “Hi it’s (your name). I just wanted to give you a quick call. I’m looking for a (summer/part time time/full time) job. So I’m calling everyone I can to let them know I’m looking. I’m interested in (types of jobs). If you hear of anything at all can you let me know? I’d really appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks very much.”
Q: What if networking isn’t done in my culture?
A: In Canada people use networking to find all kinds of things apart from jobs: an apartment, a used car, a restaurant — even a dentist. If networking is frowned upon in your culture, you should explain this to family and friends who are newer to Canada and don’t understand why you are asking them to help you look for a job.
Résumés and cover letters are an essential part of your job search. Here you can find out how to write effective résumés and cover letters, including samples.
What is a résumé?
A résumé is simply a summary of who you are, what you have done, and what you can do. You can get help with your résumé at YES Toronto or your local youth employment centre, usually for free.
Is there more than one kind of résumé?
There are three basic types of résumé: chronological, functional, and a combination of the two. Click the links to see usable examples of each: chronological , functional, combination
What information goes on my résumé?
Your full name, address phone number and — if you happen to have them – fax number and e-mail address. Your resume should describe your skills, abilities, work history, volunteer experience, education level, interests and strengths.
What are some common do’s and don’ts of résumé writing?
► Do list other languages you speak if you are going to be dealing with the public. Candidates with more than one language are an asset to companies and organizations because they can provide better customer service.
► Do list all the computer programs you know.
► Do have someone you trust proofread your résumé for spelling mistakes and grammar.
► Do use professional wording; for example, “child care” sounds better than “baby-sitting”.
► Do send a clean, neat, and tidy résumé.
► Don’t list your date of birth or your social insurance number or references.
► Don’t attach a photograph of yourself unless it is specifically required.
► Don’t print your résumé on coloured paper. Use only white, off-white, or light grey.
► Don’t send a résumé that has been photocopied so many times that it is blurry or crooked on the page. Print a fresh copy that has been updated with your latest skills and experience.
► Don’t ever lie, mislead, or inflate your actual skills and experience.
► Don’t overdo fonts, boldface, underlining, or italics.
► Don’t squish your résumé onto one page if you have enough to fill a second page. A second page is fine as long as you don’t have too much white space left over at the bottom.
Which kind of résumé is right for me?
The functional kind is best choice for people who haven’t had many jobs. Combination résumés are for those who have had one or two jobs. More experienced workers would usually choose a chronological résumé.
What’s a cover letter?
A cover letter is a short, professional-looking business letter, written with a personal touch, that accompanies your résumé.
Do I need a cover letter?
A strong cover letter may be what sets you apart from the competition.
Even when the job has an application form, a cover letter along with your résumé may give you the edge over other candidates and get you an interview.
What does a cover letter look like?
See the examples below.
Sample cover letters
Here are three samples of great cover letters for first jobs. Don’t copy them; follow them as examples. Make your cover letters reflect who you are, what you can do and offer, and what you enjoy. There is no “perfect” or “right” cover letter because everyone is different: sample 1, sample 2, sample 3
What are some of the do’s and don’ts of cover letters?
► Do have an answering machine or voice mail hooked up to the phone number you provide in your letter.
► Do tell friends or family members to take detailed messages for you while you are job searching.
► Do use an e-mail address that is proper (avoid nicknames or slang) and be sure you check your e-mail often during your job search.
►Do have someone you trust (teacher, parent, friend, employment counsellor) proofread your cover letter. Poor grammar and spelling mistakes are unprofessional. Take the extra time to ensure they are avoided. Write a new cover letter for every job you apply for.
► Don’t say how much you want to be paid in your cover letter, unless an advertisement asks you to give a salary expectation.
► Don’t put your references in your cover letter.
► Don’t rush your letter. After you’ve written it, wait a day, then look at it again with a fresh perspective.
► Don’t forget to sign your letter in blue or black pen.
► Don’t oversell yourself. It’s important to be confident, but don’t overdo it.
Back to the Top
Applying for Jobs
Q: Applying in person
A: One good way of finding a job is by applying in person. For some industries, such as retail and restaurants, they often prefer that you apply in person. Take a stack of résumés along with you and be prepared to pick up an application form too.
Q: How do I use classified ads?
A: Check your local papers out to see which ones have ads for the kinds of jobs you’re looking for (and on which days the ads run). Be sure to check the papers as soon as they’re available. If it’s your own paper, use a pen to circle the ads you find interesting. Then go over each of the circled ads several times to make sure you have the right skills and qualifications for them.
Q: What if I don’t buy newspapers?
A: Most libraries and employment centres like YES Toronto have free newspapers you can look through.
Q: What kind of jobs should I consider?
A: Beware of jobs that sound too good to be true. Make sure you know what’s involved before you accept a job offer. You should never have to pay an employer for giving you a job or for products you’ll be selling. And don’t sign a sales contract until you have it reviewed by someone you trust – a parent, teacher or experienced friend.
Q: Where else can I look?
A: Companies often use internal postings and word of mouth to attract potential candidates. Through special arrangements with employers YES Toronto gets the information on many real jobs that are not advertised elsewhere. Contact us.
Q: What are references?
A: A reference is someone who agrees to speak honestly about you in a positive way to a potential employer. A reference can be a previous employer, a teacher, a coach, or someone else familiar with your skills and abilities.
Q: What is a reference letter?
A: A reference letter is a professional letter written by a previous employer, teacher, coach, or someone else who can honestly speak about your skills and abilities. Most employers will want to speak directly to your reference; however, some might also accept a reference letter.
Q: Will a copy of my reference letter do?
A: Always make photocopies of a reference letter to give to employers. At an interview, have the original with you in case the employer asks to see it, but let them keep only a photocopy.
Q: Who should be my references?
A: The best references are employers, especially your last employer. So, whenever possible, leave a job on good terms — and always ask for a reference letter.
Q: How can I get references if I’m looking for my first job?
A: Employers understand that you won’t have previous employers as references. Someone who has supervised you in some way — a teacher, coach, clergy or someone you volunteered for — can also be a good reference, especially if they’ve known you for some time.
Q: Who cannot be one of my references?
A: A reference can’t be someone who is related to you. A buddy, a girlfriend or boyfriend is also not a good idea. Never use someone who shares your address and phone number.
Q: What will I need to say about my references?
A: You have to say what your relationship is to that person, and when that relationship occurred. Be honest.
Q: What will a reference need to say about me?
A: A reference will have to be able to give concrete examples of your skills and abilities. They should be able to tell an employer that you are:
► A good person
► A hard worker
► A fast learner
Q: Is being a reference a big deal?
A: Yes. Choose someone you like and who likes you. Get their permission first. And let them know when you have an interview so they can expect a call.
Q: When do I have to give my references?
A: Be prepared with your references before you start your job search because some employers will expect you to list your references when you first apply.
Q: How can I prepare for the interview?
A: Try to imagine yourself sitting across from an employer (or two), with your head held high, answering their questions easily and with confidence. Imagine success. Practising your interview skills will help you when the real thing comes along. Ask someone you trust to interview you as a kind of rehearsal.
Q: What should I do at the interview?
A: A good first impression is important: smile, shake the interviewer’s hand firmly and make eye contact while saying “It’s nice to meet you”. Know what’s on your résumé. Make sure you know where the interview will be held and how long it will take you to get there.
Q: What should I wear to an interview?
A: Dress nicely — a bit nicer than you would on a typical work day. (If you don’t have the right clothes, try and borrow them for the interview.) Make sure you’re well groomed and that your clothes are clean, and pressed if they require it.
Q: What should I bring with me to the interview?
A: Here are a few things you should always take along
► The exact address, including suite number, floor, office number, wing, or any other specific directions you were given.
► The name of the person who will be interviewing you.
► The phone number of the company and the extension of the person you’re meeting so you can call them if you’re running late. (Don’t be.)
►A list of references, typed neatly on a separate sheet, even if you’ve already given them to the employer. It shows you are organized and thinking ahead.
► Two extra clean copies of your résumé: One for you to look at during the interview and an extra one for the employer.
►Three questions you’ve prepared in case the employer asks you for any questions at the end of the interview.
► A notepad or paper so you can take notes. (Always ask the employer’s permission before taking notes during an interview.)
Q: What will they ask me at an interview? back to top
A: You should be prepared to answer questions on these topics:
► Work experience
► Skills and qualifications
► Preferred work environment
► Your education
► Your attitude toward the job
► Your interests, hobbies and values
► Why you want the job
Q: How do I answer? back to top
A: You should answer every question in full – more than a simple yes or no. Use examples from a previous job, school or other experience. It’s okay to be nervous. Try to find positive aspects to whatever it is you’re discussing. Be confident and enthusiastic. Sell yourself.
“I wrote this book to encourage you to believe in yourself. You will get a job,” Nancy Schaefer, President, YES.
The best book on the market for youth
► Good Job!… Written specifically for youth.
► It’s cool and practical.
► Straightforward, expert advice, plain language… all the basic information to find a job.
► It’s easy to read. Good Job! has tips, checklists, do’s and don’ts.
Written with the help of young people
► Young people helped the author, Nancy Schaefer, to ensure Good Job! is youth focused.
► Good Job! is youth friendly and easy to read.
► Good Job! understands the difficulties youth face in entering the job market.
You’ll be happy to learn Good Job! is perfect for parents and teachers
► Good Job! is a resource book in the Grade 10 Career Studies course in high schools across Ontario.
► It’s the perfect book for parents with teenagers.
► As President of YES, Nancy Schaefer is an expert in the field of youth employment.
Being young and looking for work has its advantages. Remind yourself that you have lots to offer an employer. Think positive…
I’m young and full of energy.
I’m creative and have fresh ideas.
I can learn new things.
I feel like I can do just about anything.
NANCY SCHAEFER is President of Youth Employment Services YES, Canada’s first youth employment counselling centre established in 1968. Under Nancy’s leadership, YES has grown into an award winning Centre of Excellence for Youth Employment and Empowerment serving well over 100,000 youth. Nancy has been a tireless advocate for youth employment and entrepreneurship for more than 20 years and appears frequently in the media to remind the public of the important role young people play in our workplaces, our communities and the economy.
We thank The Atkinson Foundation, The McLean Foundation, The Raptors Foundation, the K.M. Hunter Foundation, The Counselling Foundation of Canada and Stoddart Publishing for supporting Good Job!
NEED A JOB BUT HAVE ALMOST NO WORK EXPERIENCE? WORRIED THAT YOU WON’T GET A JOB BECAUSE YOU’RE YOUNG?
Good Work! covers everything you need to get a job, including how to…
► Build an impressive résumé
► Write winning cover letters
► Make a great impression at interviews
► Find the jobs that interest you.
NOT INTO WORKING FOR SOMEONE ELSE? HAVE AN IDEA, A DREAM, OR A PRODUCT YOU THINK YOU CAN SELL?
THINK YOU’RE READY FOR YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
If you’re thinking of starting a business, start here for the help you need to…
► Create a strong business plan
► Market your business
► Manage your time and finances
►Make your entrepreneurial dreams a reality.
Developed with advice from employment and business experts and young people like you, Good Work! is full of tips, dos and don’ts, checklists, and questions and answers. So start here and prove that being young is an advantage.
To purchase a copy of “Good WORK!”, click here or go to your local book store.
“Good Work! is a must-have for any career practitioner looking for a concise, comprehensive and cut-to-the-chase resource targeted at young people stepping into the world of work. Not only has Nancy Schaefer created an impressive compendium of essential work search/entrepreneurial information and processes, but she has done so using refreshingly plain and direct language that young people, or anyone for that matter, can connect with easily. For youth struggling to find their place in an ever-changing and increasingly complex labour market Good Work! simply makes sense.”
- Paula Pothier, Applied Career Transitions Project Coordinator
University of Victoria Career Services
“Nancy’s book is a testament to the importance of planning and preparation for young people to gain employment. A wonderful addition to any career centre library!”
- Rob Shea, Director, Career Development & Experiential Learning
Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NF.
“Great resource for young people looking for work or to start their own business.”
- Marliyn Van Norman, Director, Student Services
University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.
“I have given this book as a gift to every young person in my family and the results have been amazing. It has taken the mystery and fear out of how to get a job by giving simple steps to follow. Nancy Schaefer speaks to young people in a way that they understand, and motivates them to action.”
- Lynda Bell, mother, teacher, and business woman
The Good Work! facilitator’s guide is designed to assist career and guidance counsellors/job coaches in both employment centres and in secondary schools as they support young people who are preparing to enter the workforce or start a business. These young people need
the knowledge and skills to seek employment or to pursue an entrepreneurial dream.
The guide offers those who are facilitating this learning suggestions and strategies for using the information in Good Work! Get a Great Job or Be Your Own Boss: A Young Person’s Guide (link to good work book) to assist young people in acquiring the skills necessary to allow them to proceed on the path to career success.
Facilitators should access appropriate sections to meet the learner’s needs from the suggested strategies, models of worksheets, and templates.
GET A GREAT JOB:
Designed to support facilitators in advising young people, this guide presents strategies and exercises for having them:
► Match their interests and skills to the best possible job choice
► Become skilled at completing job applications
► Complete a winning résumé
► Write an appealing cover letter tailored to each employment position
► Handle interview questions
►Maintain positive working relations on the job
BE YOUR OWN BOSS:
For young entrepreneurs more interested in starting their own business, facilitators can assist
► Assess their self-employment readiness
► Determine their location on the business development continuum
► Create a thorough business plan
► Learn about business financials by developing budgets
► Conduct market research and develop a marketing plan
► Incorporate advice from flourishing entrepreneurs to create and maintain a successful business
Guide à l’intention des jeunes pour obtenir l’emploi de ses rêves ou démarrer son entreprise
Un travail pour moi!
Guide à l’intention des jeunes pour obtenir l’emploi de ses rêves ou démarrer son entreprise
L’ouvrage en référence fait suite à l’ouvrage Good Job! A Young Person’s Guide to Finding, Landing, and Loving a Job, du même auteure, dans lequel Nancy Schaefer décrit la manière de trouver un emploi quand on est jeune. Le présent ouvrage s’en distingue par son actualité et son volet « création d’entreprise ». Il comporte une table des matières, une préface, des remerciements et 17 chapitres (neuf sur la recherche d’un emploi, sept sur le lancement d’une entreprise et le dernier, sur des ressources utiles complémentaires). Il utilise un ton clair et didactique et est rédigé dans un langage courant aisément compréhensible. Les conseils les plus importants sont répétés à plusieurs reprises. Le contenu se présente sous la forme d’une foire aux questions, par exemple :
► Qu’est-ce qu’un emploi à temps partiel?
► Comment faire en sorte que mon CV donne de moi l’image que cherchent les employeurs?
► Comment faire du réseautage?
► À quel moment « parler d’argent »?
► Est-ce que je souhaite être mon propre patron?
► Comment réduire mes coûts de lancement? etc.
Tous les chapitres comportent à la fin des rubriques intitulées « Conseils et erreurs à éviter… » et « Où trouver de l’aide supplémentaire…? », ainsi que des exemples, le cas échéant (exemples de CV, de lettres de motivation, de publicité, etc.). Des encadrés intitulés « ASTUCE(S) », « LE POINT DE VUE DE L’EMPLOYEUR » et « BON À SAVOIR » mettent en relief certains points importants.
Les principaux sujets traités sont, pour la recherche d’emploi : l’utilité d’un emploi et les différents emplois envisageables, la préparation à la recherche, l’utilisation d’un formulaire de candidature, d’un CV et d’une lettre de préparation, la préparation et la participation à une entrevue d’embauche et la réussite au travail.
Les principaux sujets traités sont, pour la création d’une entreprise : comment exploiter une bonne idée, le montage d’un plan d’affaires, la recherche de financement, le marketing, l’exploitation d’une entreprise et les comportements adéquats pour réussir dans son entreprise.
Ce livre s’adresse aux adolescents et aux jeunes adultes, en fin d’études secondaires ou ayant achevé ou quitté leurs études, à la recherche d’un emploi ou qui se sentent prêts à démarrer leur entreprise.
Workplace Standards and Rights
(The Young Workers tip sheet introduces young workers to their rights and responsibilities in the workplace. The Ministry of Labour has a variety of resources to help you understand your rights and responsibilities at work under the Employment Standards Act. This information is also available in multiple languages.)