Top 5 Job Search Tips for Albertans

Top 5 Job Search Tips for Albertans

Alberta has been in rough shape recently, so the job market is slim with many people trying to change industries. I have seen many truck drivers, mechanics and people with oil and gas field experience applying for convenience store or office type jobs. Many people spend a long time in the same industry or company so they never really learn how to conduct a proper job search. Until I got into human resources I also made many of the mistakes I have listed below.

Cover Letter

Most people (up to 90% of the applications I get) never send a cover letter, and people that do send a standard cover letter that is not job specific. Write a cover letter that directly addresses the required job skills/experience listed on the job ad. Your resume, tailored by industry or job type, can be standard for the jobs you apply for, but your cover letter should be different for each job ad. A generic cover letter, a bad cover letter, or the absence of a cover letter will actually hurt your job prospects.

For more tips on why you need a cover letter please read our other article!

Don’t Seem Desperate

I have seen applicants use the same cover letter and resume to apply for every job I had posted. This makes you look extremely desperate and is a big red flag to a hiring manager. If you’re making the job you’re applying for seem unimportant then nobody will want you around. You need to make their job seem important and interesting to you.

Research the Company

Research the company you are applying for before you write your cover letter. What if you find out you really don’t want to work for that organization? More importantly, knowledge of the company or industry is gold, as it tells the employer that you are interested and driven. If a company calls you for a phone interview it’s okay to say you are busy at that time and you should book a later time for the call. This will give you the time to review your research, the cover letter you sent, and resume you used. If the recruiter has sent you an e-mail to set up a time to conduct a phone interview, that’s your cue to review your documents and do more research.

I have done many phone interviews where the person I was interviewing didn’t know anything about the job I was interviewing them for. People actually admit to me on the phone they applied for so many jobs that they don’t remember. This will only contribute to you looking desperate (see above “Don’t Seem Desperate”).

Resume Layout

You should rewrite your resume to be achievement and action oriented. For example, turn job experience listed from “helped customers find product in store” to something like “I helped increase sales and customer satisfaction by memorizing all departments of our large store.” Using this style of resume writing, you will emphasize the achievements and action you accomplished in the position, rather than the mundane duties related to a role like ‘customer service associate’. Little Blue House Business Services can help you with your resume!

Team Credit

Your cover letter and resume are about you, but they are also about how you work with other people. If you have the ability to credit a team for some of your success then you should. Something like, “I was part of the six-person marketing team responsible for increasing sales by 35% in two months.” The ability to work effectively with other people will demonstrate that you’re a lower risk of upsetting the work culture of the company you are applying for.

In conclusion, this list is based on my experience looking at thousands of cover letters and resumes, and these are the most frequent issues I see. Even people with the right skills and right attitude may have slipped through my fingers because they didn’t conduct their job search properly. You need to make it easy for the HR people, recruiters, and hiring managers to find you in their overflowing e-mail boxes. This list may not cover all the reasons you’re struggling with your job search, but if you make some corrections you should see improvement in your responses.


When you do get an in-person job interview dress appropriately for the position and industry you are applying for. I had an applicant show up in a track suit for a financial/banking type job…they didn’t get the job because of the track suit alone.