Looking for a job during COVID-19? Local industry professionals have some advice for you.

Posted: August 17, 2020

While the impacts of COVID-19 have been severe for Halifax businesses, youth looking to join the local workforce are continuing to seek out job opportunities during this difficult time.

As an organization committed to youth retention, Halifax Partnership has pivoted its Connector Program, presented by RBC Future Launch, to connect job seekers to business and community members virtually, helping them build professional networks and find employment in Halifax.

Anna Keddy, a second-year public relations student at Mount Saint Vincent University, joined the Halifax Partnership team as Marketing and Communications Assistant in the midst of the pandemic. While Anna was able to secure a summer co-op position, many of her friends and classmates weren’t as lucky. Now faced with finding a job during COVID-19, unemployed youth across the city are looking for help on where to start.

Curious to hear what advice local industry professionals had to offer youth during a pandemic, Anna spoke with:

  • Chris Ronald, Regional President, Atlantic Provinces at RBC
  • Megan Colborne, Marketing, Communications & Corporate Citizenship Coordinator at RBC
  • Bradley Daye, Founding Partner at P4G
  • Margaret Schwartz, Strategic Youth Initiatives Outreach Coordinator with the Government of Nova Scotia.

Here’s what they had to say.

Look for Role Models

Megan, a recent graduate and former RBC Career Launch Associate, believes that developing a strong network of mentors is something youth can do to get ahead when looking for employment

“Having a role model in a field that you’re interested to work in can help you figure out what you like and don’t like when it comes to finding a job,” says Megan. “Everyone’s career journey is different, so don’t feel pressured to follow in the exact same footsteps as your mentors. Use their experiences to kick-start your own, and don’t be afraid to experiment along the way.”

Mentorship also played a major role in helping Bradley get to where he is today.

“I don’t think anyone really gets to where they are in their career without having a strong group of mentors,” says Bradley. “Having those people around you who are willing to give you that extra push and help you find your own interests makes a huge difference.”

Tap Into Tech

Even before COVID-19 appeared in Nova Scotia, the world of work was in the middle of a transformation. With businesses across the country pivoting to online operations, digital literacy is considered an essential skill for young workers to have.

“COVID-19 has shown the world that the way we work can change in an instant,” says Chris. “Youth looking to enter the workforce right now should expect to see their jobs evolve over the next few years. If you’re not taking the time to learn new skills and be adaptable, you’re going to fall behind."

Margaret, a youth mentor and Connector with the Halifax Connector Program, shares a similar sentiment.

“As companies are trying to adapt to a new way of working, they are realizing that a lot of the skills they are looking for are ones that young people already have,” says Margaret. “Young people are very tech-savvy, and businesses are realizing that hiring youth could give them the edge they need to overcome their COVID-19 challenges.”

Find Your Purpose

While digital literacy and tech skills are certainly important competencies to have in the workplace, youth shouldn’t feel limited by the thought that these are the only avenues worth pursuing.

“When it comes to figuring out what you want to do in the future, you don’t need to always go down the path that is suggested by others,” says Bradley. “If something doesn’t give you energy, you don’t need to pursue it. Instead, actively choose to put your energy and resources behind building the skills that inspire you to be better.”

“Take a moment to define your why,” says Margaret. “Explore what activities and work experiences make you feel the most purposeful and motivated. This is a great indicator of the work you should be seeking out.”

Overcoming COVID-19

While some businesses have suffered tremendously as a result of Covid-19, some are actually thriving, and many are actively hiring. Even though there’s a crisis, people are still planning for the future,” says Chris.

With many people at home or starting to transition back to their workspaces, take advantage of the programs and virtual learning resources available to help youth get ahead.

  • RBC Future Launch is committed to helping youth grow their network, gain new skills, get work experience, and enhance their mental well-being. The free, virtual RBC Future Launch Summit on August 26, 2020 is now open for registration!
  • The Graduate to Opportunity (GTO) program is helping to build a stronger workforce and retain young people in Nova Scotia with a salary incentive that makes it easier to hire recent graduates.
  • P4G's Cluster Employment program creates full-time positions from the part-time needs of multiple employers. The model connects employers, then matches them with talented employees seeking full-time employment.

Want To Grow Your Network?

Learn how the Halifax Connector Program helps new immigrants and recent graduates grow their professional network in Halifax.



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