Choosing the Right Career – Employment Decision Using Friends and the Job Ad

This article is intended to provide information on how to maximize your potential as an applicant in the job search process.

The questions we will cover in this article include:

1. What are my career options?

2. How does the posting process work?

3. What do I look for in a job posting?

4. What should I include in my application?


The questions above are often asked by job seekers. What are my employment options? What are my best traits and skills? How can I predict what they will ask in a job interview? What are they looking for? Well there are many ways to to approach these questions. One of the great sources of information to answer such questions lie in your friends and the other in the job ad.

Question 1: What are my employment options?

Career choices should not be made in haste; they involve thought, organization and planning. To begin a career planning process, it is important to assess your experience, values, skills and interests. This should first involve a self assessment, self assessment tools and workshops are offered by Service Canada like the “Career Navigator”, an online career assessment tool. You can access this tool at or you may visit your nearest HRDC employment centre or private career counsellors. However, a very good yet often over looked resource is your friends! Friends, colleagues and managers can help verify the reality of a self assessment. Begin by asking yourself these questions:

What past activities/positions have been important to my development? Why? (Consider experience inside and outside the company).

Personal values give meaning to our work and provide personal fulfillment. Personal values may include such things as being challenged, serving people, having a high income, being independent at work, etc. What are my most important values? Which of them are present in my current job? Which are not?

What are my most significant accomplishments? What skills are identified in these?

Interests are often expressed as working with data, people, things or ideas. Interest in working with DATA represents skills required to record, communicate, evaluate, and organize facts or data about goods and services. People who like using these skills typically enjoy working with figures, systems, and routines. Interest in working with PEOPLE represents skills used in helping, informing, teaching, serving, persuading, entertaining, motivating, selling, and directing other people. People who use these skills like to work for changes in other people’s behavior. Interest in working with THINGS represents skills used in making, repairing, transporting, and servicing. People with these skills like using tools and machinery and understanding how things work. An interest in working with IDEAS represents skills used in being creative, designing conceptual models and systems, and experimenting with words, figures, and music. People who like using these skills typically enjoy creating, discovering, interpreting, synthesizing, and abstract thinking.

In which of these areas do my interests lie? Which of my interests are met in my current job? Which are not?

While it is up to each of us to take responsibility for our own career, your manager can help by giving feedback, encouragement, information and ideas. He or she can also help you set goals, which need not involve moving up. Consider special assignments, lateral moves, and temporary assignments as developmental opportunities that may lead to career goals.

After you have answered the questions listed above or taken a self-assessment workshop, take another look at the career opportunities that interests you. You should now be in a better position to decide if it is a fit. What’s more, if it is, you should be well on your way to completing the application and preparing for an interview.

Question 2: How does the recruitment and selection process work?

The current recruitment and selection process generally follows the summary of steps below. As with many processes, however, slight variations may occur due to individual circumstances.

1. Job vacancy identified

2. Manager contacts Human Resources

3. Job analysis conducted by hiring manager and Human Resources to identify the criteria for the Careers posting

4. Posting issued in Careers

5. Applications received and acknowledged by Human Resources

6. Initial screen (short-listing) completed

7. Interview guide developed

8. Interviews conducted

9. References checked

10. Selection made

11. Position offered to successful candidate

12. Unsuccessful candidates notified

13. Feedback as requested

Question 3: What do I look for in a Job posting?

* The Job Posting

The job posting does a few basic things. A thorough review of the posting discloses not only pertinent details of the position itself but what to include in your application, and what you can anticipate in the behavioral interview. The following components are included in the posting:

* Job Competition Number

If there is a job competition number must be indicated on the application or covering letter.

* Closing Date

When are applications are accepted until? What is the closing date.

* Department, Location, Position Reports To, Classification, Salary Level, Salary Range

Essential details of the position may influence your decision to apply on the posting.

* Essential Requirements

The following items contain qualifications, skills and experience that through the job analysis, it has been determined the candidate must possess in order to be considered for the position.

* Experience and Education

Education and experience are used as screening criteria. It is important that you respond to each bulleted item individually by detailing how your formal education, work experience, etc. will provide the qualities looked for in a candidate. In your description include the types of experience, responsibilities or key activities, the scope of projects you have been involved in, the content of any courses you have taken, and whatever will make the hiring team aware of what you have to offer with respect to the qualifications asked for.

* Technical Requirements

Also used as screening criteria. Address each identified need separately. Outline the skills you have and the amount of time you spent gaining the skills, how you have applied the skills, etc.

* Managerial/Non-Technical Requirements

These requirements need not be addressed in the application. They will not be used as initial screening criteria but are the behavioral traits the interview questions will be based on.

* Additional Desired Requirements

May be used as an initial screening criteria. Describe how your background (education, experience, coursework, etc.) has developed your ability in each requirement identified.

* Forward Application To

The application is to be forwarded to the address indicated on the posting. Any questions concerning the posting process, etc. may be directed to the Human Resources Advisor or hiring manager whose names are identified at the bottom of the posting.

* For Additional Information Please Call

In most cases, this is the manager of the position. This is the individual to call with any questions about the position, duties, work group, etc.

Question 4: What should I include in my application?

When preparing your application, address EACH of the bulleted items under Experience and Education, Technical Requirements and Additional Desired Requirements. Your response should be designed to give the reader sufficient information about your skills and abilities, how you got them, how you have used or applied them, etc. to enable the hiring team to determine to what degree your skills match what is required for the position. Remember that the initial screening or “short-listing” is done using only this information.

* Personal Resume

The attachment of your personal resume to the application form may provide additional information about you.

* Covering Letter

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