News & Events


Looking for employment? NPower and O4AY share 5 tips for job hunting in a virtual world

June 23, 2020


“How do you prep for a job search in a virtual world that COVID has brought upon us?”

This is the question that Program Manager, Sarah Vickery and the O4AY team has been exploring since COVID-19 has brought traditional interviewing and O4AY hiring fairs to a complete halt in March of this year.

For youth looking for employment with little to no experience, this can be a difficult time. Many roles in the hospitality, food service and retail industries have been temporarily lost, and hiring practices are constantly changing as employers are trying to adjust to the new post-COVID landscape.

There are, however, opportunities out there. It may not be your “dream job”, but you can leverage current employment opportunities to carve out a path to a meaningful career in any industry.

In the #ImpactCOVID Highlighting Potential webinar, Sarah Vickery and Shane Lyons, program director at NPower Canada, shared their top tips and tricks on how you can thrive in the post-COVID job market.


Tips shared by Shane Lyons and Sarah Vickery:


1. Outline your goals using the job description of the role you’re interested in as a roadmap

  • Think about a job/role you would like to do a year from now.
  • Look up a job posting via Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn.
  • Read through the qualifications.
  • Use the skills listed in the qualifications sections as your roadmap.
  • Challenge yourself to develop skills.
  • Start focussing opportunities that are going to get you those skills.

“Your goal shouldn’t be to find your “dream job”, it should be a constant journey of self-development and learning what works for you and what doesn’t,” Lyons said in during the webinar.

As an example, Lyons shared that he sought a job as a customer service agent at Rogers to develop the experience in handling difficult situations with people to obtain a role in the social services sector.


2. Networking

How to network?

  • First consider leveraging the people you know or people you could know.
  • Start by creating a LinkedIn profile and fill out as much as you can.
  • Reach out to people in the roles you want. Don’t ask for a job, ask them for share their journey on how they got to their current role. People love to talk about themselves.
  • Ask those you’ve met with to suggest someone they can connect you with in their network.
  • Reach out to family, friends, employment services, or career centres. Ask for support in searching for a job, developing your resume and undergoing interview.
  • Ask for feedback from interviews.
  • Attend networking events and set a purpose or create a realistic goal, i.e. “I am going to connect with two people today,” Lyons said.


3. Embrace Rejection
  • Embrace rejection and don’t be afraid to fail. “That fear of rejection is real for us, in whatever capacity. It’s important that you take it as a learning opportunity,” said Lyons.
  • Ask yourself: What can I learn from this? Constantly think about what you are learning. “Try keeping a skills journal,” Vickery said.


4. Prepare, prepare, prepare – “Apply yourself to supply your wealth,” Lyons says.
  • Take every opportunity seriously.
  • Study the job description and write out the experience you’ve gained that connects to each requirement in the role.
  • Tailor and edit your resume for each and every role.
  • Embrace change with a “yes” mentality: you never know what opportunities will arise from the ones that are presented to you.
  • Frame your story from a space of success:  Many youth haven’t taken the traditional road to education or employment.  Focus on key attributes that help you to be successful such as flexibility, resilience, and ability to learn new things, Vickery said.



 5. Confidence is the top attribute among employers
  • Employers are always looking for you to tell them about yourself and tell them why you want to work with them.
  • Practice answers to questions such as, “Who are you?”, “What values, skills would you bring to your role?”
  • To prep for an interview, record yourself and send it to someone or watch it yourself.
  • targets recent grads for self-presentation in video recordings.


Question Period

During the question period, Lyons and Vickery shared answers to the following questions from youth in the webinar:

Will the approaches to hiring change?

Sarah Vickery:

  • Customer service and adaptability to a new skill will always be a valuable.
  • The majority will be done digitally—this is an advantage for young, digitally-savvy candidates.

Shane Lyons:

  • Pre-recorded video interviews are starting to be used more often. Prep with online tools and familiarize yourself with these tools i.e. Google Hangouts, Zoom.
  • Utilize online virtual mock interview tools.
What are the skills most sought after right now and post covid-19?

Sarah Vickery:

  • COVID-19 has quickened the adoption to the future of work.
  • Key set of skills:
    • Complex problem-solving skills
    • Creativity
    • Critical thinking skills
    • Project and people management (think about your life experience, i.e. school, sports teams, extra-curricular activities)
    • Emotional intelligence
    • Service orientation (understanding customer service)
    • PRO TIP: Research hot skills of sector you want to work in and use online training platforms such as LinkedIn Learning or (check with your local public library to see if they offer with your membership).
What are some tips for resumes if you don’t have work experience?

Sarah Vickery:

Consider a functional, rather than a chronological resume. If you have volunteer, leadership and/or community experience, categorize that based on the skills it gave you. For example, if you’re the captain of your sports team, demonstrate those transferable skills on your resume, for example, communication, scheduling and planning team activities.


The #ImpactCOVID Highlighting Potential webinar was held on May 19th and moderated by Chris Duff from the Canadian Council for Youth Prosperity.

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