Things are looking up. Last Friday’s Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada indicated that the national unemployment rate is now down to 6.5%, and that’s the lowest it has been in six years. So we’re headed in the right direction. Read the full report here.

(Of course a national average masks the fact that there are pockets of labour shortage and areas and demographics with higher unemployment. So there is still work to do, but this is very encouraging.)

Workopolis has been seeing increased online job postings throughout the year, so we have been expecting to see this translate into more people working. October marks the second month in a row to show solid gains in employment. So, while two months isn’t enough to call a trend yet, we are expecting to see hiring continue through November and into next year.

Which means if you’re looking for work, or have been thinking of making a change in jobs, the conditions for making a leap are looking better than they have in quite some time.

How long does it take to find work?

Getting a new job takes time. Job searches can last anywhere from two days to over a year, but for most people it is roughly four months. The largest group, 50% of people surveyed by Workopolis, told us that it took approximately 16 weeks to secure their most recent job.

(This is slightly shorter than the Canadian average duration of unemployment-period reported by Statistics Canada as being 20.6 weeks earlier this year.)

During those four months, the majority of Canadians (65%) say that they applied to more than 10 opportunities before being hired for their most recent job. Most people (80 per cent) say that they apply for at least five jobs just in order to secure one job interview.

This roughly corresponds to what employers tell us about 80% of the resumes receive not making it passed their initial screening to be shortlisted for follow up.

On average, only 2% of applicants for a job are chosen for an interview. This is because a large portion of resumes are never actually read by a human being, as the screening software that more and more companies use will filter out applications that don’t contain the most relevant keywords the employer is looking for.

Here’s how you can greatly increase your application to interview ratio.

Just over half (56%) of candidates said that they only had to conduct one or two job interviews in order to be hired. A further 30% of people said that they needed to perform five or more job interviews before being hired for their most recent job.

Interestingly (and this was surprising to us here), nearly half of people (46%) said that they no follow-up at all after a job interview. This includes not sending in a thank you note to their interviewers.

Missing this crucial step can hurt your chances of landing the job. It’s common courtesy to thank the employer for taking the time to meet with you and discuss your candidacy. All of the top, most savvy candidates will be following up on interviews with a polite note of appreciation. By skipping this, you’re taking yourself out of that group.

You can also use this follow-up to restate your enthusiasm for the job and to highlight how you are the right fit for it. Refer to the interview specifically, demonstrating that you pay attention to detail and recall key information.

Going the extra mile in your job search makes you stand out from the crowd of applicants who didn’t – and it indicates to employers that you’re motivated to go the extra mile on the job as well. And that’s who gets hired first and fastest.


Peter Harris

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