Despite a varied resume that includes working at a cannabis store, a hotel and even managing his own bar, Justin Teeuwsen has been on the hunt for a new job for over a year.
Many around Edmonton find themselves in a similar position in a struggling job market.
In Alberta, 19,000 jobs were lost in January, according to a Statistics Canada report released on Friday.
The Edmonton area currently has an unemployment rate of 8.2 per cent, according to the report.
Teeuwsen said he’s noticed a lot of people also looking for jobs.
“Right now, [it’s] really hard. Because you have to apply and right now everybody’s looking for work,” Teeuwsen said.
The 36-year-old is receiving support in his search from EmployAbilities, a non-profit organization that offers skill development and training to Albertans with barriers to employment like medical conditions, permanent injuries, disabilities and mental health challenges.
Carlie Ferguson, an employment coach at EmployAbilities, said she helps clients learn how to disclose any barriers to work to employers, identify their skills and how they could be transferred into new lines of employment.
“We want to also look at what their job interests are. What is their long-term goals? Because sometimes we like to see what steps we can take to get them to their long-term goals, rather than just putting them in a job where they feel stuck,” Ferguson said.
Employers’ expectations can shift over time, but Ferguson said strong communication and customer service skills are two things employers want. But they also want workers with a good attitude who are trainable.
“Resume development is always changing day-by-day. Employers are looking for skills as not chronological anymore,” Ferguson said.
“Before it used to be they wanted to see your most current employment. Now, they want to see your list of skills.”
These are lessons Teeuwsen has taken to heart, learning to build three different resumes he can draw from depending on which job he’s applying for, and maintaining a positive attitude even during a prolonged unemployment phase.
“I just look for work and hope that somebody hires me,” Teeuswen said. “I’m always in a positive mood.”