Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Prepare Yourself

Prepare Yourself Header
It's important to understand what type of work you're looking for and what you have to offer an employer before seeking out jobs. Check out the sections below to see how you can prepare yourself to look for a job that's best for you.
 Personal Assessment

Think about your own abilities and skills, and how they can be applied to a position you are interested in.

  • What are your career goals, and what is your immediate job objective?
  • Why are you looking at the career or industry you have chosen? What special skills do you have that will help you succeed?
  • What experiences have you had in school and work that are relevant to your goals and the position you are seeking?
  • What are your special strengths, and how do these apply in a work environment?

By answering these questions, you can develop a better understanding of what you have to offer an organization and what position you would be most suitable for.


The vast majority of job openings are not advertised, but filled by word of mouth. Networking is about building relationships with peers, class mates, instructors and industry professionals. Everyone you meet can help you move your job search forward.


Discovering Potential Contacts in your Personal Network

This document discusses the four types of connections you may already have in your network.

Benefits of Networking
  • Opportunities to cultivate relationships that can provide invaluable information and advice for your career development
  • Insights into the business, organization and industry you desire to work in
  • Employers prefer to hire people they know – you stand a better change if they can put a face to the name
  • A proven strategy for taping into the hidden job market
  • A key strategy to secure meaningful work

Networking Hiring Model

 Industry Research

Ask yourself, “what skills and qualifications are potential employers looking for?”, and use your answers to better understand where you will excel in the market.

Some great ways to conduct your research:
  • Conduct informational interviews with professionals in your area of interest
  • Gaining experience through work, especially through co-op placements and volunteer opportunities
  • Job shadowing an industry professional at their place of employment
  • Searching online materials for new developments in the industry

Search job postings and job descriptions to better understand what employers are seeking. The Canadian Job Bank is a great tool for searching by job market trends, exploring careers, searching jobs and employers. Check out the video below for details on researching your industry.

Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS)

COPS makes predictions on the number of job openings across Canada for 140 occupations.

 Informational Interviews

Informational Interviews are extremely valuable opportunities to tap into the hidden job market, learn more about your industry and employer of choice!

Advantages of conducting an informational interview:
  • Learn information about your career field and skills you will need to succeed in that field
  • Make personal contacts with those in your desired industry
  • Understand the realities of employment
  • Gain confidence in talking with people while learning from them
  • Because you are not interviewing for a job, you can control the interview by deciding which questions to ask
  • Expose yourself to a variety of jobs and personalities in different organizations
  • Determine where you might fit into a particular organization
Arranging an Informational Interview
  1. Contact the person to set up the interview by:
  • Telephone
  • Email followed by a telephone
  • Having someone who knows the person make the appointment for you
  • Conducting a cold call
  • Introducing yourself at a networking event (Job Fair, Employer presentation, etc.)
  1. Suggest a time and place that suits their work schedule and is close to their office
Before the Interview
  • Research the company or organization
  • Have questions prepared that you want to ask
  • Update your resume and bring it with you. You can use this to share your experience, education and abilities. You may also want feedback on the style of your resume and information included in this field of work.
After the Interview

At the end of the conversation, verbally thank them for taking the time to offer advice and career information. Consider sending a thank you note and updating them from time to time on your work-search progress.

 Career Action Plan

Our career experts can meet with you one-on-one and build a career action plan that is individualized to you. This action plan will show you proven work search strategies, connecting current opportunities with future possibilities, informational interview preparation, and more in addition to the expertise of our Coordinators.

Career Action Plan