The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies conducted a PhD career outcome survey in 2016 and you can view the results of this survey for 65 PhD students who graduated between 2005 and 2013 by visiting https://www.grad.ubc.ca/prospective-students/graduate-degree-programs/phd-geography.
Setting Your Goal
Before conducting your job search, it is a good idea to develop a S.M.A.R.T. goal to guide yourself as you being to choose a career that’s right for you. A S.M.A.R.T. goal is defined as:
The Hidden Job Market
Some of you may have heard of the term the “hidden job market” before, which refers to an estimate that 80% of job openings are not advertised or posted anywhere (https://www.businessinsider.com/tips-for-penetrating-hidden-job-market-2014-6). The hidden job market exists because employers prefer to hire people they know themselves or through referrals of current employees already in the company to minimize the risks associated with someone completely new and unknown to the employers. In addition, the intrinsic nature of the hidden job market can also save employers money by not having to pay for job postings.
The best way to enter the hidden job market is through networking. For those who are not good at networking, this may seem like a daunting task at first. To help you get started, we recommend that you start thinking about and get in touch with your own existing network (i.e. family members, relatives, friends, church group and sports team members, etc.) to let them know that you are looking for job opportunities in employment sectors that interest you. You never know when a friend of a friend knows someone who is looking for someone with your particular skill set. The goal of this networking process is to develop leads on potential contacts based on your career interests. It may be wise to prepare a script of what you are going to say and practice it with a colleague, since as we all know, practice makes perfect!
After reaching out to your circle of network for leads, you may want to consider taking the next step to explore other tools that are at your disposal to help you gain more leads. The UBC Hub (https://ubc.tenthousandcoffees.com/login) is an exclusive online platform where UBC students, alumni, staff, and faculty can connect over shared career interests, offer and receive mentorship, and build networks. After connecting with another member, you can keep the connection online, phone or video call, or meet in person. Your conversations can range from resumé feedback, to career tips, or just expanding your network. LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/school/the-university-of-british-columbia/alumni/) is a great platform for you to connect with UBC alumni and develop your professional network. You can also search for jobs and sign up to receive notifications of job postings.
Listed below are a few sources that will provide you with information on prospective employers and potential job opportunities in the hidden job market. Examples of things you would want to look out for include the opening of new office locations, newly formed partnerships between companies, change in management/staff, etc.
- Vancouver Sun – business section: https://vancouversun.com/category/business
- BCBusiness: https://www.bcbusiness.ca
- BC’s Labour Market Outlook: https://www.workbc.ca/Labour-Market-Industry/Labour-Market-Outlook.aspx
- WorkBC: https://www.workbc.ca
- Business in Vancouver: https://biv.com
- UBC Library Industry Guide: http://guides.library.ubc.ca/energyindustries
Informational Interviews vs. Job Interviews
Informational Interview: You can call an employer to ask questions to find out more information about the company that you are interested in working for. It is an informal opportunity where you have the chance to ask questions about the company, the industry, and upcoming positions. If there is a job posting already, you can call to ask for more information about the company and/or position.
Job Interview: The employer will be asking you questions to determine your suitability for the position that you have applied for. This is your opportunity to showcase your experience, personality and qualifications to the employer and also a chance for you to assess whether you are a good fit for the position and the company culture. Depending on how you answered the employer’s questions, you may have just landed yourself a job!
Behavioural Interview Questions
Employers ask behavioural interview questions to determine how a candidate will perform in certain situations based on previous behaviour with similar circumstances. The STAR approach is commonly used by interviewees to answer those questions: