I’m a participant at Reena’s Community Participation and vocational program Channels. Before the Covid lockdown, I had started to look for work as a daycare assistant with the help of the job coaches. I’m ready to kick start my job search now and my Channels job coach would like me to understand the competitive job market as the first part of my job search.
Please can you explain this term and why this information is important to know and learn?
Signed: Preparing for a Job (PFJ)
To respond to your inquiry, I’ve consulted with the Reena job coaches as well as this excellent resource on the topic – https://careerservices.myyu.ca/understanding-and-exploring-the-labour-market/ Learning about the competitive job market in the daycare field is the first step in the process of getting paid employment in your field. It is complicated, competitive and tough out there! The following are suggestions of how you can learn about the labour market in your field of daycare – or any field for that matter!
- Definitions: Facing the facts. The definition of the labour market is huge. In brief, it’s information about the employment conditions in your field, or the operation of, and the demands of the job market by location. It can include how employers hire, job descriptions, salaries and benefits as well as education, training, and qualifications required for the job. Additional labour market information is current trends in government policies, effects of technology, and workplace changes. With this information in mind, the first step in the process is to understand the nature of the job market.
- Research the Industry. Research is a critical part of your job search. Before you can prepare a resume or cover letter, it is important to know what job opportunities are out there, what do employers want and look for when they hire, and which companies are doing the hiring. Where in Toronto will I find jobs in this profession? Is this industry growing or declining? What occupations within this industry am I qualified to do? Other ways to learn about your profession and opportunities is to research the industry’s associations and organizations as well as trade shows, conferences and conventions. Sometimes the associations have job boards, career fairs, information and networking events. I would definitely consider attending as many activities as possible. Occasionally, there are events at no cost, but most of the time there is a fee.
- Research the occupation. The National Occupation Classification (www.workingincanada.gc.ca, social media websites especially LinkedIn, Glassdoor and Indeed as well as company websites are great places to research your field. You can also conduct informational interviews and attend job fairs to gather this information. You can get an idea of the salaries, and what employers are looking for as well as understand the value of your current skills, strengths, experience and education in today’s marketplace; as well as what gaps you have in these areas. This is how you can figure out what technical skills you need to acquire, and what experience you need to gain for employment in your field. You may need to upgrade your skills and education in order to be more marketable.
- Research the companies. COMPILE a list of all the companies where you might like to work. Research the social media sites, Indeed, Glassdoor and even google to gather this information. For example, type in the keywords for your search “Daycare” and “Toronto” in Indeed. And then you can check out each company’s website, their job postings, and profile of the staff, the management, their mission and other information on the company to ion. Understanding the business needs is crucial for understanding the labour market.
- Information Interviews. An invaluable research tool for relevant and current labour market information for your job search is an information interview. It’s a meeting between you and a professional working in your field to ask questions in order to learn as much as you can about the jobs, salaries and other details in the daycare field. It’s also a great way to build your professional network and meet people in your dream job who might even consider hiring you! Here’s a good website to learn about this type of job search activity – https://www.livecareer.com/resources/interviews/prep/informational-interviewing
- Network. Network. Network. The more professionals you meet in the daycare field, and the more knowledge you will have on the labour market, the more focused and productive you can conduct your job search. All of the information can be used to prepare a successful resume, cover letter and eventually the scripts for your interview presentation. Some ways to the network include attending job fairs, trade shows, conferences, and association events, creating or joining Linkedin groups, and volunteering in the field in an organization with a recognized volunteer department.
It is no wonder why it is a full-time job looking for a job. I would recommend engaging in this process with your job coach. Map out an employment action plan and start implementing the techniques slowly and surely, step by step is key. Even when you do get hired, you will still need to continue to understand the labour market as long as you intend to work!
To submit your questions for this column IN CONFIDENCE, please email Joanna, Reena’s Employment Resource Supervisor at firstname.lastname@example.org