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Young Canadians having trouble finding work will have to change their approach according to several Toronto job recruiters.
Lilian Banh, a recruiter at Kassen Recruitment said that having a messy resume is a deterrent to clients when hiring. “If that’s your first impression and you’re trying to get your foot in the door, clients notice those things,” she said. “You could be the most amazing candidate, but if your resume doesn’t look clean […] that’s a big thing,”
“If you’re interviewing for a firm, they want to know that they can trust these people to be put in front of their clients and represent their firm appropriately,” said Banh.
Banh explained that being an impressive candidate is not enough and an employer may choose to opt for a less experienced candidate if they appear “more polished on paper.”
Casey Huebsch, president of South End Partners offered similar advice to hopefuls searching for employment.
“Everything that you present, whether it’s a resume or a cover letter, make sure it has an appearance that you’re proud of,” said Huebsch. “There’s a lot of technology and templates that you can use that aren’t just a white piece of paper that will get lost in a pile of resumes.”
Huebsch encourages new graduates to “incorporate passion” into their resumes and cover letters by showcasing how they have made an impact in their work and the programs that they have been a part of.
Research from Statistics Canada says that Canada has a larger population with college or university credentials than any other country in the G7, with the educated population set to increase due to the influx of immigrants and the number of young adults completing degrees.
Kevin Maynard, a Managing Director at Marberg Staffing said that having more familiarity with the programs used in their desired field of work could help to put younger applicants ahead of more experienced candidates.
“If you have widespread computer skills, you can work spreadsheets, word processing, basic web management, all of that greatly increases your ability to work,” said Maynard.
Joncarlo Bairos, a managing partner at Forge Recruitment who has been in the business for 12 years said employers are often looking for people with experience who need little additional training.
“For employers, a lot of times when they hire they don’t have the resources or the bandwidth to do a lot of training and development so they want to plop people in and have them hit the ground running,” said Bairos.
“In the pandemic, you saw a bit more chaos where companies were desperate to hire and so they were a lot more flexible on their hiring,” he said. “Now we’ve kind of resorted back to pre-pandemic levels where employers are almost willing to wait for the right person.”
With many qualified individuals pursuing employment, Bairos said new graduates need to start building their networks.
“You have to get a lot more aggressive,” said Bairos. “There has to be a lot more networking, there has to be a lot more getting in front of companies’ faces.”
Banh highlighted the importance of education and experience but asserted that the social aspect may be what is standing in the way of hopeful applicants.
“Clients and companies are looking for that personality fit, that culture fit and as a candidate, you should be as well,” she said. “If you’re the type of person [where] you want to do your 9 to five, get by and go home, you’re not really there to make friends, you’re going to have to interview for companies who are also offering the same thing.”
The recruitment experts urged new graduates to build their skillsets, take advantage of development opportunities and expand their networks to better their chances of employment.