The purpose of a job search is to find and apply for employment opportunities that fit your interests, qualifications, and skills. An effective job search has three steps:

  1. Perform a Self Analysis
  2. Research Employment Opportunities
  3. Apply!

1. Perform a Self Analysis

Before job searching, you should narrow down the types of employment opportunities you are looking for with a self analysis. This will save you time by helping you determine where and how to look and will increase the likelihood of your finding the best fit for you.

Personal Interests

  • What are your passions (such as music, cars, technology, working with children)?
  • Are your passions transferrable to the workplace?
  • Do you enjoy working individually or on a team?
  • What type of environment inspires you (such as outdoors, office, home office, schools)?
  • What type of day inspires you (such as consistent routine and structure, a variety of tasks, healthy competitiveness, teamwork)?

Job Values

  • Do you want to be employed by a company or self-employed?
  • What kind of work schedule do you want or need (such as full-time, part-time, flexible hours, contract)?
  • How important is job security?
  • What type of salary and benefits do you want or need?
  • What type of work environment do you want or need (such as outdoors, office, home office, schools, wheelchair accessible)?
  • Do you require work in a specific city or area?
  • Are you able to travel?
  • Can you get to the workplace via your own vehicle? Bus? Another method?
  • Are you seeking a specific job title or professional status (such as management, doctor)?
  • How important is the ability to advance within the company?


  • What formal education and training do you have (such as site training, safety tickets, certificates, diplomas, degrees)?
  • What work experience do you have?
  • Do you have any volunteer experience (such as a position on a board or sports team, internship, helper for a non-profit or charity)?
  • Do you have the necessary soft skills?
  • Do you have a Driver’s Licence or vehicle to perform job duties?

Soft skills are your natural abilities that typically cannot be taught in a classroom. Some soft skills are thought to be “people skills” such as Communication, Teamwork, Problem Solving, Interpersonal Skills, Time Management, Adaptability, and Creativity.

Credentials in Canada

If you are moving to Canada, you can get an official government assessment to compare your education to Canadian standards from the Educational Credential Assessment (ECA).

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is an informal way to see how your work experience compares to related Canadian experience.

These assessments can help you present your experience and education in a way that Canadian employers will understand.

Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are things you do well that are marketable across a wide variety of work environments. Creating a transferable skills inventory is time well spent as it will prepare you for resume creation and for any potential interviews. For more information on how to do this, see Transferable Skills.

2. Research Employment Opportunities

Based on your self-analysis, you can now explore more suitable employment options. There are multiple methods of job searching. You should use as many methods as you can because companies may only use certain methods for advertising and you do not want to miss out on a well-suited opportunity.

Online Job Boards

There are entire sites dedicated to job searching. Simply fill in the parameters and click on the search button. If you sign up and/or download an application, some sites will automatically email you or send you a notification when new jobs within your search parameters are posted. The following list includes some common job boards:

Company Websites

Most company websites have a ‘Career’ or ‘Job Opportunities’ section where they post their available jobs. If you are interested in a particular field, visit the websites of companies within that field.

Niche Website

Some websites are dedicated to specific fields or areas of interest and often include relevant job postings.

Recruitment Agencies

These agencies offer various options for employment, including contract, temporary, and permanent positions. In most cases, an agency representative will meet with you and discuss what type of employment you are looking for, review your resume, and contact your references. The agency may also complete skill-related testing (such as MS Office or accounting) depending on the position requirements.

Temporary assignments or contract work can help you develop Canadian experience even if the position is not your long-term goal. Sometimes a temporary position leads to a permanent position if the hiring company is impressed with your performance.

Social Media

Social media is becoming an increasingly popular way both to market your job skills and to discover employment opportunities. Businesses and recruiters often use popular sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to search for candidates for particular jobs. And many companies will share job postings on their social media, which you can access by having your own account. Social media can also be used to expand and foster your personal network.

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Look for classified ads in major and small community newspapers. Likewise, look for newsletters and other print materials distributed by a community, company, or within an industry. For example, some community league newsletters list any job opportunities for the community league itself or for members looking to hire.

Personal Network

Let people know what type of work you are interested in and that you are job searching (such as family members and friends, neighbours, work colleagues, former employers, classmates or alumni, people at social events, professional organizations).

Cold Calls & On-site Applications

Sometimes making the effort to call, email, or visit a company can result in discovering job postings or adding contacts to your personal network.

Volunteer or Intern

Though not ideal, if you are able to work for little or no pay in your field of interest, you can gain valuable experience and contacts that will help you as you continue the job search in that field.

Informational Interviews

An informational interview is a job meeting that allows you to seek advice and gain valuable information on a company or field of interest. It is also a great way to expand your personal network.

Job or Career Fairs

A job or career fair is an event where multiple employers, recruiters, and schools offer information to potential employees. They are an excellent opportunity to expand your personal network and job search.

Public Resources

Job postings can often be found at libraries, colleges and universities, and career centres/job agencies. Inquire at the public help desks for more information.

While job searching, you may discover the need to expand on your skills, qualifications, and experience in order to achieve the job you would ultimately like to have. This can include furthering your training or education or gaining work experience through volunteering, interning, or taking on a part-time position in your field.

If you require additional short-term training, you can take courses on your local library website or through the LinkedIn learning portal. If you need to brush up on your Excel skills try the Excel Easy website. You can also visit local college, university, and tech schools’ websites for continuing education courses.

3. Apply!

While job searching, take notes of the employment opportunities you would like to apply to, the applicable contact information, and where you found the job posting. This will help you stay organized when it comes time to apply and may be useful if you cannot relocate a particular posting, which is common in the digital age. Update your notes when applying so that you know which jobs you have applied to and when you applied.

While you are customizing your resume and cover letter for a position, spend time on the company’s website. Look for information that demonstrates the kind of company they are so you can talk about how you would be a good fit for them. Read up on their:

  • Vision, mission, and values
  • Strategic plans and goals
  • Community involvement
  • Environmental awareness
  • Employee driven activities

Researching will benefit you personally in getting a feel for the organization. Keep a few notes, so if you do get a telephone interview you are ready to talk about the company.

Protecting Yourself When Job Searching

Job searching involves managing your personal information. Therefore, it is important that you protect yourself from scammers.


  • Set up a separate e-mail account with a professional sounding email address for your job search
  • Post privately whenever possible to maintain better control of who has your information
  • Keep careful records of every site on which you posted; and at the end of your job search, remove all posted resumes
  • Ensure your online presence is professional
  • Keep a log of your login names and passwords for the company sites that you submit your resume and cover letter to


  • Pay to read job posts or to post your resume
  • Divulge personal data such as your date of birth, social insurance number, or home address online; and use your city, province, or region as your home address
  • Include your picture on your online resume
  • Include references without their permission
  • Respond to job postings without company names or addresses

Find your Match!

Ready to become a mentor or find a mentor? Connect to a mentoring organization in Alberta.