Navigating Your Career In A Tight Job Market

Ed Pintwala
October 13, 2023

More Canadians are staying put in their jobs of late. As stated in this Globe article, the job switching rate has been declining since it peaked in early 2022, as shown here:

This has created an extremely tight job market which I attribute to a kind of ‘post-covid’ lull in the market, creating a more cautious approach to preferring comfort and stability vs. taking big risks. In speaking with hundreds of job seekers, the same things that were always important to them, remain - salary, location, benefits, flexibility, and vacation; however, there is a heightened sensitivity and desire around work-life balance, flexibility, option to work more from home (not usually possible for food manufacturing jobs) and overall job security with worthwhile wages and benefits.

So, if you are navigating your job search today, with a limited number of job opportunities to choose from - how can you increase your chances of success?

Here are a few key tips to follow:

LinkedIn Profile: Optimize for visibility

  • Use the “Open to Work” feature to let recruiters and HR know you are actively open to new opportunities
  • Here is a more comprehensive list of how to stand out and optimize

Resume: Keep it chronological, logical, and highlight key accomplishments

  • 2-3 pages max 
  • Mark dates and timelines of your education, work tenures, and certifications (I prefer to see Year + Month, start and end dates)
  • Don’t discount any international experience, languages, and work experience! (related or unrelated - sometimes the less obvious things will benefit you)
  • State explicitly if any roles were contract, internship, or career break, etc.

Develop your Brand

  • Social media has made this easier than ever, you don’t need to spend a lot of time or have your own TikTok or YouTube channel, but simply engaging with former and current colleagues and industry groups on LinkedIn, and other platforms will add value and help showcase a more complete picture of who you are and what you’re passionate about and good at

Be Aggressive Passive - let me explain:

  • If you are not in Sales or Marketing, this may feel awkward and put you out of your comfort zone but don’t be afraid to invite hiring managers and relevant professionals to connect on LinkedIn - albeit with purpose and politeness
  • Find a common interest, connection, or relatable fact to mention in your invite message - find commonality
  • Be courteous and remember the ‘give-then-take’ approach. Ask if you can help them in any way, without ‘hounding’ or being too forward in just straight away asking if they have a job for you. This strategy takes some creativity and strategic research to get yourself in front of the people and companies you wish to target
  • Ask yourself how you can stand out and cut through hundreds of other applicants competing for the same positions
  • Look for mentors and professionals who are already in the future role you’d like to see yourself in - you may be pleasantly surprised at who is willing to help

In summary, try and think like a recruiter and/or hiring manager, what would they want to see and hear? Educate yourself on jobs and companies you are applying to, and make a positive first impression, to make their job easier.

Prove you are prepared to do more than just send a resume and hope for the best in your job search - any professional should recognize and respect this. 

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