‘It’s a good idea for a youth to make a game plan when they come — they can’t talk to 83 employers, so they need to take a look ahead of time’

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Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the annual Calgary Youth Hiring Fair is back to help connect young Calgarians with employment opportunities.

Youth ages 15 to 24 are invited to the Big Four Building on Thursday from 1:30 to 6 p.m., where they can meet with more than 80 potential employers.

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No pre-registration is required for the free event, but job hunters are encouraged to come prepared with resumés and do some research ahead of time.

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“It’s a good idea for a youth to make a game plan when they come — they can’t talk to 83 employers, so they need to take a look ahead of time,” said Leita Blasetti with Calgary’s Youth Employment Centre, which hosts the event.

She said some employers hire within different age ranges depending on the industry, and job seekers should narrow down who they want to talk to based on the youth employment centre website.

There are around 4,000 open positions at the fair, including seasonal, part-time, full-time or early career opportunities, Blasetti said.

She said a lot of construction companies will be represented this year. There are also openings in recreation, food and beverage, hospitality, tourism, labour and warehouse, health service, public safety and entry-level trades.

Job fairs a ‘level playing field’ for job seekers

E-scooter company Bird is one of many hiring at the fair. General manager Patrick Graham said it serves as sort of a “kick off” for their seasonal positions.

“It’s been a really great place for us to find successful candidates in the past,” he said.

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Successful candidates for Bird are passionate and involved in their community, whether it be part of a sports team, a club, or any leadership position.

“Anything like that helps show that you stand out. It’s things where you took initiative to go above and beyond.”

Graham said Bird is hiring between 20 and 30 candidates to start soon, and the fair serves as a “pipeline” for later in the summer as they ramp up to more than 100 staff in Calgary.

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According to Jennifer Dost, a team lead with employment agency Prospect Human Services, job fairs act as a “level playing field” for job seekers.

“It’s an opportunity to shine, it’s an opportunity to kind of showcase who you are and connect with the employer on a completely different level,” Dost said.

Doing research and learning the culture of a potential employer are important, she said. “Specific skills as well, you’re able to help yourself kind of jump off the resumé.”

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Having a targeted resumé for every position really matters, she said.

“Fifteen, 20 years ago, you could get by with one resumé and just firing it off,” Dost said. “It doesn’t work anymore. In part it’s applicant tracking systems, but even smaller employers want to see that you’ve actually read their job ad, that your resumé looks like a resumé that fits the job.”

‘It’s a chance for you to shine’

Blasetti said: “Bring a notebook, a pen so they can write notes about where they applied and who they talked to.

“Some employers will take resumes, some will not, some might ask them to apply online. Some employers may even do interviews on the spot.”

If job seekers are coming with friends or family, Blasetti recommended splitting off from them when approaching employers to make an impression on their own.

“It’s a chance for you to shine, not you and your friend group, or you and your parent or whoever’s with you.”

Hosting more than 5,000 youth each year, it is the largest youth hiring fair in Calgary. More than 1,900 employers have attended since 1999, providing job prospects for more than 92,000 youth.

The Youth Employment Centre is open year-round for drop in employment counsellor services, which include resumé targeting, job search strategies, interview preparation, career planning and connections to employers looking to hire.

Blasetti said one thing that sets the centre apart is that it is focused solely on youth. Being a larger centre with 12 counsellors, it saw more than 2,900 youth for one-on-one service with a counsellor last year.

“We’re able to really spend that time with youth, to help them.”

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