Recent Grads

How Recent Grads Can Break Into Their Industry


The global financial meltdown of the last five years wiped out many businesses of all sizes. Although Canada was not hit as hard as the U.S and some EU countries, thousands of formerly employed people became jobless and an equal number of new college graduates never landed the job they would have gotten with ease before the recession. While the economy is on the path to recovery and the job market is starting to improve, some jobs for recent grads are still scarce.

At the same time, universities across Canada have churned out graduates faster than the recovering economy has been able to create jobs. The competition for jobs is so tough that you would be lucky to even get an interview. However, it doesn’t mean that there is nothing you can do except hope and pray. With a little effort and ingenuity, you can easily improve your chances in life. In these tough times, breaking into any industry requires a lot of hard work and preparation.

Preparing for your dream job should not start after you finish college; it should start right from the time you join college. Here are six useful tips on how to prepare yourself to break into the industry of your choice:

1. Create A General, Tailored Resume

No employer will hire you without looking at your resume. First, create a general resume listing all your qualifications, skills, and accomplishments but do not fire it off to employers; use it only as a reference. Before applying for any advertised position, study the employer’s requirements carefully and tailor your resume to suit the requirements.

2. Establish Your Goals And Objectives

Never under estimate having a plan. Having clear and well defined goals and objectives are of utmost important if you want to achieve anything in life. Do you think NASA just winged the Apollo missions? Establish your goals, identify the objectives required to accomplish those goals and formulate a plan to achieve them. Put everything down in writing, put the plan into action and stay focused at all times.

3. Do An Internship

Doing an internship is a great way to gain experience by putting into practice what you have learned. Some post-secondary courses make internships mandatory for graduation. If yours does not, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t complete one. Taking the initiative to contact a corporation solely on your own shows that you are eager to be involved in your chosen field and could lead to a full time position.  The best ways to find internship programs are through online research, networking and applying to companies that accept interns.

4. Join A Professional Network

It’s never too early (or late for that matter) to join a professional network. Find successful people in your intended profession and reach out to them. If it is not possible to contact them directly, join online groups such as LinkedIn and share ideas with them. Use every opportunity to learn from them and try to impress them with your zeal and knowledge, but be careful not to overdo it.

5. Join A Club Or Sports Activity

Your college or university may have a number of clubs and sports activities throughout the year. Join those that are most likely to serve your long term interest. The main idea here is to build personal contacts, leadership skills and team spirit through interaction with other students.

6. Volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to meet people, learn skills, gain experience and display your talent. Find an organization whose service matches your goals and apply for a volunteer position. It should not be difficult to find one as there are numerous organizations that are in need of volunteers. It shows you are truly there for the experience only (as you will not be getting paid).

Photo Credit: Shutterstock


This article is brought to you on behalf of CareerBuilder. For current available student jobs across Canada, look to


  1. The two most important things a student can do are networking In Real Life and Virtually.

    Start as early as your Freshman year and plan to connect with as many relevant people as you can before you graduate. As you network and connect you’ll build relationships and find opportunities to have conversations about career and/or business opportunities.

    Find someone to coach you through good networking and social media activities and that big career step will be discovered.

    Read the book, “Networking for Mutual Benefit” – it’s a great insight into the best way to network.

    Thanks for sharing folks

  2. Networking is the key!! Unfortunately by the time a job has been posted, the position is filled in most cases. Who you know will give you the leg up and a little luck in timing will help.

  3. These are all great tips for getting a job in your industry. The market might be tough right now, but there is no underestimating a good plan. Any job search plan should start with your resume. Make sure your resume has all your relevant skills and qualifications and that it’s tailored for each position. You might even want to think about moving beyond the traditional paper resume. New technology tools like attractive online work portfolios and video resumes will allow you to show off your skills in a more concrete way. In a video resume especially you’ll be able to show off your communication skills and passion for the job.

  4. While these are all noble and wonderful ideas. The sad fact is that most of the time its not what you know, but who? Resume’s a given fact you’ve got to keep them as a living document, changing to each application. Internships seem to be only available to people who attend a certain local University. If you didn’t attend the local one you’re kind of out of luck. Join an organization or club. I did this, I joined the premier Association for my particular Major. I attended seminars and meetings and all of the time it was very cliquey. The alotted time to network, all the people who were coworkers all assembled to their own groups. And finally that wonderful volunteering. As with internships, in order to get your foot in the door or in an area that is high profile, forget it. I did volunteer work at the local hospital & VA Clinic for 2 years. All I ever got was free lunches and a yearly luncheon, all because I didn’t attend the local university.

  5. Excellent article! Look at your search like a part-time job, setting aside chunks of time for networking, searching for openings and writing custom resumes and cover letters for each position that catches your interest. Research the company and explain exactly why YOU are the absolute fit for the job. If you are willing to put in time, effort and energy into your search it absolutely will pay off!

  6. Graduate Recruitment Bureau

    Awesome article. Having a clear plan is the key to success. Visualise how you would like your CV to look after 3-5 years at University and aim for a skillset that sets you apart. Use every opportunity to maximise your time at University and you will definitely be in a strong position in the competition to launch your career.

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