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STEP BY STEP JOB SEARCH – Know yourself (Part 1)

Stop Applying Only Online


By Laura Sturmer | Published  15/07/2020

If we all know that more than 80% of the job postings are not even posted, why most of the people still rely only on online applications for getting a new job?

It’s because applying online gives us a short-term feeling of accomplishment.”Today I applied to 80 positions, I have done my part”.But then, after applying to it, they are called to 1/2 interviews only (if they are called).

When you apply online for a job you:

  • You are accessing only 20% or less than the total of the job postings (the other 80% are found through networking and I will write about it in part 2 of this article.
  • You are competing with hundreds of thousands of people (everyone can see the job posting and is probably taking the same approach as you)
  • You are fighting with an algorithm. To be a top profile for a position (among the top ten best ranked) you really need to play the “keywords game”. Which means, using websites like Jobscan to check if your resume matches what they are looking for.
  • Fighting with the algorithm is especially challenging when you are shifting industry or areas. Rarely your previous experience has a perfect match with the job description you are currently applying for so you won’t feature as a top applicant.


A job search should be treated as like any big project in your life and it’s quite similar to a “company project“. See below some suggested steps to follow for a more effective and long term sustainable “Job Search Strategy”:

PART 1: INTERNAL ANALYSIS (“Know yourself”)

You should always start by knowing what are your strengths, skills and where (what type of position) you can apply those to bring value to a company.

Working for a company is about “solving their problems”. Your first task is to identify what type of problems you like to solve (i.e some people prefer problems related to following processes, so administrative positions might work better, others like to solve complex problems related to data, so data analyst or data science might be a good fit).

If you have no clue where to start, invest the first-day reading dozens of job postings and descriptions of roles on people’s profile on LinkedIn. Start saving the ones that really seem to interest you and highlight what are the names of those positions as well as the keywords used.

At the end of this process, you should be able to have a clear picture of what are the 2 to 3 position names that you will be applying for, what is the most common name for that and the type of skills they are looking for.


Question 1: what if I found a lot of matches and end up with 10-15 positions that I liked?

Canadian Labour Market is a specialized one. Different from other countries, they usually don’t look for someone that can do finance, supply chain and marketing (unless you want to work in a startup with 3 people in total). They rather look for professionals that are specialized and have great experience in marketing (for example).

Worth to note that “Marketing” is still quite a generalist area. You might work with events, communications, paid digital, eCommerce, branding, etc. So the more specific you can be, the better and easier.

So my suggestion is to narrow down to around three positions and then you will create three resumes and each one will be significantly different, showing your experiences and skills that match what they are looking for in this position.

Just to exemplify, if you have a background in marketing and like the retail industry, after doing the research you might end up with three resumes: one for marketing coordinator positions, another for merchandising analyst and another for brand coordinator/analyst, for example.

For each position, I like to say that “you will wear a different hat”. When you go to an interview, you will wear the “hat” for that position and highlighted in your experience all your accomplishments related to THAT HAT.

Forget about giving a high emphasis in the project of inventory management that you led if you are applying for a marketing position. You can mention briefly it if the position requires project management experience (focus on the transferable skill).

You will later understand that focusing will help you to save time and improve your pitch, making your preparation for networking or interviews way easier.

If you know the industry you would love working for (i.e Retail, Pharma, etc), it’s even better. I like to present myself as a marketing professional in Retail, so it helps me to focus on events and professionals from this industry that I can reach out for network.

QUESTION 2: What if I realized I like Finance, Supply and HR?

Pick one battle each time. Which one do you like most? Focus your efforts on that.

A good tip is to chat with people in those three areas that are working in positions that you find interesting. Ask about their daily job, how did they get there, challenges of the area and industry and how do they see the area in the future.

I guarantee, the more you talk with people and attend events of the area (check Meetup and Eventbrite) the more you eventually will find your focused area and pick your battle.









For reaching out someone for coffee or chat, see a suggested approach:

“Hello xxx,

I just saw your profile and it looks really interesting. I am exploring my next career path and noticed you are working as XXX, XXX is one of the options I am trying to learn more about it. Would you be able to have a 10 min phone call or a coffee chat to share about what do you do on your work? Thanks!”

If the person you are reaching out has studied in the same college/University as you (use Linkedin alumni tool for that) or has something else in common (same city, a connection in common, attended the same event, etc), make sure you also mention that in your message. This will help you to increase your chances of having an answer to the request.

So after you finish PART 1 (Know yourself), the next steps would be:

PART 2: External Research (looking for companies that have the problems you like to solve)

PART 3: Building your network and using it to access the “hidden job post-market”

I will write more about those other parts in the next articles. But for now, I hope I was able to convince you to stop only applying online and convince you to focus on a couple of positions instead of applying to everything.

If you have any question or suggestion, please post it here. Also, share the article with whomever you think might benefit 🙂


About Conexão DISCOVER: 

The main objectives of Conexão DISCOVER are to connect, integrate and support the Portuguese-speaking community during and after the pandemic in Canada. Read more at

Laura Sturmer

Laura has a degree in Business Administration from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, with more than seven years of experience in the marketing area. She has worked for companies such as Lojas Renner, TIM and Votorantim Cimentos before moving to Canada in late 2016. She currently works as a Senior Associate Brand Manager and is an entrepreneur on the side, managing an organization aimed to support professionals looking for work in Canada (

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