“Finding a good job is a job and a half.”

Robert Half

Have you ever heard an older adult tell a story about how they got their first job or internship? It usually goes like this:

“Yeah, I just met someone at the gym—next thing you know, they offered me a full-time spot. With benefits. I hadn’t even graduated!”

And, chances are, if you’ve heard a story like this, you’ve thought to yourself:

“What?! Nowadays, you need to be fully established with over five years of work experience and a list of LinkedIn connections just to apply to an entry-level position!”

Is it really harder getting hired today than it was 20 years ago? Well, in short: yes.

Over the last generation, many factors have made it harder for students and recent grads to find a job. So don’t worry—if you’re struggling to get hired in today’s market, you’re not alone. And, IGNITE’s here to help secure your success.

Here’s why it’s harder getting hired now than it was 20 years ago:

There’s more competition

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The number of Canadians who have completed post-secondary education has skyrocketed in the last two decades.

In 2000, the rate of young Canadians aged 25 to 34 with postsecondary qualifications was 59 per cent. Skip to 2019, and that number had risen to 73 per cent.

It’s great that so many more Canadians are able to advance their education—but the number of jobs hasn’t increased alongside the number of graduates. So, there are more people in college and university; and they’re applying to roughly the same number of open positions—it’s not hard to see why there’s scarcity in the job market. 

Because of the increase in people achieving undergraduate qualifications, more students are upgrading to post-graduate studies to put themselves ahead of the majority and get hired.

Computers—not people—review your resumé

A dog typing on a laptop.
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Before the internet, people had to drop off or mail in paper resumés.

Nowadays, when applying for jobs, you most likely upload your documents to a company’s website. And, when that happens, your resumé goes through an automated screening software called an “applicant tracking system” (ATS) before ever reaching human eyes.

A recent Harvard Business School study found 90 per cent of major employers use ATS software for job applications. Because these systems filter out resumés that don’t include specific keywords, the reason you didn’t get a call might have less to do with your qualifications and more to do with your word choice.

You’ll likely have more than one job in your career

Animated bear spinning on an office chair.
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Back in the day, employers would hire people with qualified skills and view them as long-term investments in their company.

Now, with the over-saturation of quality candidates (see the first item on this list), employers are always looking for the “perfect candidate”—so, instead of training on the job, employers want you to bring valuable skills to the table from the start. It’s like how people often approach online dating; but for work: why put in the effort improving one relationship when there are endless candidates to consider?

Employers aren’t the only reason people end up changing jobs, though—research has found Generation Y (Millennials) change jobs 22 per cent more often than previous generations. We don’t know for sure; but we think that might have something to do with the increased emphasis on finding the right workplace in recent years.

Generic resumés won’t get you hired anymore

tilrcorp job trash skills skill GIF
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Previously, it was acceptable to send out a generic resumé, briefly listing your regular work experience, to every job you applied for.

Now, however, employers want your resumé to be specially tailored to the position and their company. And, on top of that, they might require a portfolio of your work in the field.

Are you saying there’s no hope for my career?

Porcupine surfing the internet.
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No; just that, if you’re having a tough time, you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. Although there are many obstacles to getting hired in the contemporary job market, there are still opportunities to find work in your desired field.

For example, while websites like LinkedIn can add to competition among candidates, they’re also extremely efficient networking tools which can help you find job success—as long as you use them right.

In addition, with the impacts of the pandemic, the world of remote work has been adapted to many jobs. So, instead of only applying to jobs in your area, you can apply to jobs across the world and work from the office of your own home. That means there are way more opportunities for you to not only get hired, but to get hired in a job you love.

Yes, the job market is different today. But you have what it takes to succeed. And, anything is possible with IGNITE’s support. We believe in you—so tune up your skills, prepare your resumé, create some connections and get applying!

The job market may be tougher these days; but advice from the pros can help you get hired. Hear master comedian Tiffany Haddish’s advice for seizing success.

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