It’s been two years since Calgary’s last Youth Hiring Fair, which saw more than 5,700 job seekers. This year, event organizers say they have 88 confirmed employers and more than 4,500 positions available at the Big Four Building on the Stampede grounds.
Knowing your goals and priorities
There are many factors to keep in mind and questions to ask before beginning your job search.
Danielle Wolf, a career development specialist at the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary, makes it her job to ensure job seekers are well-equipped to go into the workforce. She says it’s vital job seekers know what they’re looking for.
“What type of work? How many hours a week can you commit? Is it a summer job, a part-time job? What is your availability?” Wolf said. “Do a little bit of research in terms of salary, you can consider the skills you have and what fits that might be with a particular industry, or you can look at it the other way, as well.”
The pandemic has caused a disruption in how employers conduct the hiring process. From virtual interviews and working remotely, readjustments can be scary for new job seekers.
“Being proactive and having a plan will help you overcome fears, hesitation, stress and anxiety, the unknown, the uncertainty,” Wolf said.
What employers are looking for
Kristina Barnes, manager of communications and media relations for the Calgary Stampede, says a willingness and drive to learn with strong communications skills are a must for any job.
“It’s about gathering together, community and celebration,” Barnes said. “It’s about how we make people feel when they’re here and have a fantastic time. That’s our commitment as employees.”
The Calgary Stampede offers both part-time and full-time opportunities during the 14-day event in July – and year-round.
If you enjoy science, technology, education, art and math, Telus Spark may be the place for you.
Holleay Rohm is the manager of youth programs at the centre, a role she’s had since November. Nearly 12 summer camp leader positions are available and she wants a diverse team, perfect for high school or university students.
“A lot of our strength as an organization comes from the fact that we are a large team full of people with diverse experiences and diverse ways of approaching their work,” Rohm said.
Working with kids also requires patience.
“One of the things that we really look for in individuals are people who can approach either stressful situations or curveballs,” Rohm said. “Working with kids, things can come up… but having someone who takes that bump in the road with a certain amount of excitement is something we look for.”
The Glencoe Golf and Country Club is looking to employ more than 50 new recruits to join the team. Various positions are up for grabs including fitness consultants, food and beverage hosts and hostesses with an urgent need of line cooks, whether you want to work at their downtown facilities or on their golf course.
Brittany Campbell started out in the aquatics department and is now the human resources coordinator. If your interests align with the company’s vision, the Glencoe Golf and Country club may be the perfect fit for a longer position.
“We do have the ability for students who maybe are looking for more of a career path as well,” Campbell said. “Our mission and vision is to create a second home for our members and create those exceptional experiences.”
No experience, no problem
Wolf sees many job applicants get discouraged after finding out they’re underqualified for a position. But she says that inexperience can be turned into a learning and growing opportunity.
“Let’s understand why you’re not qualified, what are the missing pieces and develop an action plan of how and where and when you can start developing those skills,” Wolf said.
The Calgary Police Services sees many eager applicants who are not qualified due to lack of experience or meeting the minimum age but they welcome the opportunity for officers to speak with aspiring community leaders at job fairs.
Delayne Brian has been at the recruiting unit since 2018 and recalled a job fair she recently went to in Airdrie.
“A lot of the people that were attending were not quite at our minimum age threshold of 18, which is fine, because we got to have a lot of good conversations with some youth,” Brian said.
The CPS hiring process is a long one, given the difficulties of the job, but the starting salary is $68,000 plus benefits.
“It starts at that, and you only go up from there. For the first five years, you’ll go up about five or $10,000 a year until you’re at year five, you’re going to hit about $105,000,” Brian said.
Calgary Police is looking to hire around 135 frontline patrol officers this year.
Get your resumes and cover letters ready
With online applications resumes and cover letters are vital in making a good first impression but they also have an impact with in-person events.
“It’s part of your personal branding. The resume and cover letter is a marketing tool, essentially, that will get you that in-person face-to-face or virtual interview in some cases,” Wolf said. “It should be an accurate representation of your skills, your experience, your value proposition.”
Personal branding extends to what you wear, Wolf said. That’s why it’s so important to carefully consider your interview wardrobe.
“Avoid too casual, avoid the athleisure wear, even if they’re a really nice name brand, avoid those at a career fair,” Wolf said. “Try to dress a little bit more on the business casual side and be well-groomed as well.”
The way you present yourself is key. With job interviews, don’t be afraid to express yourself creatively while staying professional.
“If you have a signature, whether it’s a signature blazer or something in your personality or something that will make you memorable,” Wolf said. “Just be authentic to who you are. Be genuine but well-prepared and try not to compare yourself to your peers.”
More support and resources for applying for jobs are available at the Youth Employment Centre website.