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Finding a Job

The following is meant to act as a starting place and is not inclusive of the many online resources available for job seekers. As always, you are responsible for evaluating the quality of any information presented.

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Ace your Interview

Interviews can be stressful, but being prepared and practicing commonly asked questions can help improve your interview skills and make you feel more confident. It can be helpful to write down your strengths in relation to the position or make notes for your answers to some common questions. Some interviews will allow you to bring notes, but even preparing them can also help keep yourself organized and remember what you want to highlight about yourself and your skills. Practicing in front of a mirror or holding mock interviews with a friend or family member can help you feel more prepared as well.

Using the STAR method to answer the interviewer’s questions can help you stay focused and answer meaningfully. The STAR method is best for behavior-based questions or questions that ask for past examples. STAR stands for:

Situation: Set the scene and give the necessary details of your example.
Task: Describe what your responsibility was in that situation.
Action: Explain exactly what steps you took to address it.
Result: Share what outcomes your actions achieved.

You can stand out in your interview as someone who is interested in that specific position by doing some research on the company beforehand. Checking the company’s social media profiles or reading recent news articles on the company or their products can give you a few insights on current issues that they are addressing.

Towards the end of your interview, the employer will often ask if you have any questions about the company of the position. Having some thought-out questions will also show that you’ve prepared and are seriously considering the position.


Writing a Resume      back to top

Having a well-written resume that highlights what you can bring to an employer is incredibly important to landing an interview and being offered a position. A good resume includes information on relevant education or training you’ve received, skills that are applicable to the position or field, relevant jobs you’ve held and your responsibilities at them as well as your contact information. There are many different styles of resumes to choose from: chronological, functional or combination. The one you choose should highlight your accomplishments best, which will depend on your skills, past experience and education.

Check out some sample resumes to get ideas on different formats and writing styles:

When writing your resume, make sure to use a consistent style and format. Many people recommend using bullet points with action words when describing their experiences and responsibilities, instead of writing full paragraphs. You want the reader to be able to pick out what your main accomplishments and skills are, even when skimming through it quickly. Pay attention to detail with spelling, grammar and formatting, and use the same tense throughout your resume. Reading it aloud can help you notice anything that sounds awkward or incorrect. It can also be helpful to get feedback from a friend or family member. Once your resume is finished and formatted just as you’d like it, save a copy as a pdf file if you’re applying to jobs online. When you send a pdf, you can be sure that the employer will see the document exactly how you’ve formatted it - it won’t appear differently just because they are using a different program to view your resume.


Writing a Cover Letter      back to top

Many job postings require a cover letter as part of their application. A cover letter gives you the chance to introduce yourself and emphasize aspects of your professional background or qualifications that can make you stand out from the rest of the applicants. It’s a great way to create connections between what the requirements and responsibilities of the position are and how you meet them with your experience in other paid positions, volunteer experience and/or education and training. If you are applying to many jobs, you can often reuse parts of your cover letter as many jobs within a certain field will have some similar requirements, but it’s best to create a unique cover letter for each application. A good tip is to go through the job posting, note down some of the phrases or words they use in the job requirements section and then use those in your cover letter with concrete examples from your experience. Your cover letter should be limited to one page, include your contact information at the top and the contact information and name of the hiring manager for the position, if you have it. Spelling, grammar and formatting are just as important in a cover letter as they are in your resume. It’s always recommended to read it aloud to yourself and have a friend or family member check it over. If you’re applying to a job electronically, save a copy of your cover letter as a pdf to send in to ensure that your formatting stays intact when the hiring manager view it.


Understanding Job Ads      back to top

It is very important to make sure you take the time to understand the job you are applying for. First, you want to try to understand the responsibilities of the role. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t do everything listed in the job ad. If you can do the majority, it is worth considering applying for. It’s not about having direct experience with each part of the job, but it’s about making sure you give evidence of your ability and experience on your resume and cover letter. Before you apply, consider all of your transferable skills and how they could help you be successful in the job. Analyze the words they use in the ad and if you have trouble understanding anything, do further research to ensure you fully understand the role before you apply. By taking the time to really understand the role, it will help you make sure that the job would be a good fit for you!

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