Sometimes that dream job just just isn’t coming your way. Say you’re graduating from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Cognitive Science and the only job offer is as a server in a Queen Street restaurant. That can get you down.
What do you do to persevere to find your dream job in Toronto?
Set realistic goals
If you are starting university next fall (or going back to school), think about what it is you want to do with your life. You may be passionate about becoming an astrophysicist, but you have to realize that you’ll probably have to relocate to follow your passion.
Are there actual jobs available in your chosen field? Perhaps you can’t predict the Toronto job market in four years, but if there is no established and thriving industry in your chosen field, chances are you will have to go where the jobs are. If Toronto is the center of your universe, that’s a tough decision to make.
Graduates come out of universities and colleges each year expecting to step into a career where there are limited opportunities for those roles. There are more jobs available in the growing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) sector in Toronto, but if art history is more your speed, despite the proliferation of small galleries in Toronto, you may have a more difficult time if you’re looking for a curator position. In the meantime, why not take a job as an online curator?
If you live in a smaller city like Newmarket and you want to work in the stock market, realize that you will have to commute or move to Toronto. The job market is limited outside the city.
Be open to learning and doing work for low pay (or free)
Many employers are tired of young people who come in as interns and expect to be given the responsibilities of someone who has a number of years under their belt. They say that students complain about doing menial work. Most people have to start at the bottom, so think of this as a learning experience.
If you are truly passionate about your chosen field, you may have to volunteer, intern, or work as an assistant until you can get that dream job.
Live for today
You have a degree and you’re serving food or driving a taxi. It’s a fact that sometimes you need to take a job to survive while you search for your dream job. Instead of making everyone miserable, including yourself, your boss, and your customers because you feel the job is below you, make it count for something. Leave your ego at the door.
Your character is important. A potential employer wants to know about your soft skills, even in a prestigious position. If they call that coffee shop or restaurant for a reference and find out that you didn’t play well with others, they’re going to consider one of the other many candidates who can work well in a team environment and is willing to roll up their sleeves and do whatever is necessary to get the job done.
Never give up
Keep your job search at the top of your priority list. Send out your cover letter and resume constantly. Make sure that your cover letter is unique for each employer and not just a form letter.
Network with others in your field of interest. Sometimes someone hears about a position that may not be right for them, but it is perfect for you. Update your LinkedIn profile and social media on a regular basis, and make sure you don’t put anything on your Facebook or Twitter that could turn employers off.
Check Toronto Jobs daily for new positions opening in your field. Sometimes a door opens when you least expect it. Be open to new experiences so when you do get that offer, you can show that you are a well-rounded individual whose work ethic is as strong as your passion.
Pamela Stewart is a Toronto area freelance writer. She is a former private investigator and investigations manager. She also managed a pre-employment background screening division and currently works part-time with a Human Resources company conducting pre-employment interviews. You can follow her at pamelamariestewart.com.