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Job seeker tips

CivicJobs.ca is pleased to provide job seekers with the following pieces of friendly advice. These tips come directly from employers in the local government sector – employers who were consulted during the development of the CivicJobs.ca website.

By no means is this list comprehensive, and if you believe you could use extra help in finding your ideal job, please consider professional assistance. Many communities have not-for-profit career centres where help is available, and there are also many professional career counsellors out there who are only a phone call or e-mail away.

Your Application

  • Make sure your résumé is in the best possible condition before you apply for a job. List only the education and work experience that’s relevant to the position. Employers can usually spot a “cookie cutter” resume that’s not tailored for a specific job.
  • Be certain that both your résumé and cover letter are free from spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.
  • Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have some of the qualifications described in a given job posting. Apply anyway. Job postings often describe an “ideal” candidate; a person with more credentials or experience than may actually be required for the job. Ideal candidates do not always exist.
  • Always follow the application instructions carefully. Every local government has a different, preferred method for receiving and screening applications. There is no single application process.

Before the Interview

  • Learn everything you can about your potential employer, and the job you’re applying for. The local government’s website is often an excellent place to start. If the website doesn’t contain the level of detail you’re looking for, the local government’s annual report can also be an excellent source of information. Copies are often available online, and hard copies can usually be obtained at the municipal office.
  • With a friend or family member, conduct mock interviews using standard questions that are easily found on the internet. Practice makes perfect.
  • When your interview day arrives, be on time. When you leave the house, give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination, accounting any possible delay you may encounter. If you arrive too early, you can always sit in your vehicle, or in a nearby coffee shop, and review your materials.
  • When you arrive at the local government office, remember that first impressions count. If you’re greeted by a person at the front counter, be polite, friendly, and respectful. Bear in mind that this person will form an opinion of you, and that opinion will often be shared with your interviewers.

During the Interview

  • Dress appropriately and professionally.
  • Try your best to relax and be calm. If you find that you’re particularly nervous, try a relaxation exercise. One you can actually do during the interview involves breathing in through your nose while slowly (and silently) counting to three, and exhaling slowly through your mouth while slowly counting to five.
  • Remember to smile, and make eye contact with your interviewers. Avoid fidgeting. Body language counts.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask questions of the employer. You’ll learn something, and the employer may be impressed by your genuine interest in the organization and position.

After the Interview

  • Remember to say thank you as you’re leaving the interview, and soon after you’ve left, follow up with a written ‘thank you’ note to the person who interviewed you. Even if you don’t get the job, this can leave a lasting and positive impression that may pay off if you’re interviewed by the same person again in the future.
  • If you don’t get the job you applied for, you might consider asking the employer what you could do to improve any future applications for similar positions. Such feedback can help you improve your application, and your interview skills.
  • Don’t be discouraged if you don’t succeed in getting the first jobs you apply for. Keep looking, and keep applying. Rejection is usually an unfortunate part of the job search process, and it happens to everyone.