Job Hunting in Vancouver

January 20, 2018

Let's face it, Vancouver is expensive.

And with more growth projected in 2022, things don't look like they'll be slowing down anytime soon. Backed by floods of foreign investments, infrastructure projects and higher costs of living every year, many Vancouverites are wondering why their wallets are a lot thinner this new year.

Thin Wallet

Job hunting in Vancouver will come down to two things:

  • Your drive
  • How well you use the tools available

Many get disgruntled during the job hunt, but Vancity is teeming with potential employment to balance the influx of tourists and visitors with endless possibilities.

Going forward in your job hunt requires a strong spine and perseverance. Whether you're moving to Vancouver, or re-entering the job market, you'll need to commit if you're going to find the right fit.

There will be moments of triumph and occasional feelings of regret, but you must continuously put yourself out there if you really want that job in Vancouver. To put the numbers into perspective, there are over 32,000 job postings on Indeed at the time of this posting, and that's just one web engine!

This doesn't include the multitude of other online resources, municipally advertised positions, social media demands, government-entry jobs or cash in hand opportunities.

Another aspect of job hunting in Vancouver is how well you use the tools available. In other words, what resources you use. Reach out to different contacts, ask local businesses and don't be afraid to walk into an establishment (decently dressed and with a smile of course) and ask for where the hiring department is.

Grooming is key.

And before you desk warriors rant about "going through the appropriate channels" think about this for a second.

It's not hard to meet biology majors serving you drinks or a PHD student getting by on freelancing. There are so many "qualified" people in the city now, it's much harder to make yourself stick out on paper nowadays, unless you have the most gorgeous resume on the planet.

Even then, there's an enormous amount of resources online that instruct the masses how to write resumes and you have your chances tumble further. All this while you stare at your phone, for a call that will never happen.

Cue the world's smallest violin.

The world's tiniest violin

Since traversing the jungles of social media while opening and closing job tabs didn't appeal to me at the time, I opted for a more old school approach. Armed with some knowledge of where to start and my trusty suit of armor, I walked into several businesses and asked for where the HR department was.

If I met some resistance (which is far less likely than you'd think if you're specific, and dressed like you're someone important), I just asked for the hiring person and greeted them with a firm shake and healthy smile.

Then here is where the magic begins...

You let them know you were in the area and were wondering if they were looking for a ...

(enter position here).


I found my most recent job in Vancouver (writing for FC&Z) by doing just this. Even if you're not social acolyte, walking into a business adds a personal touch that isn't commonly seen.

To add, recruiters hardly see anything more than a paper these days and what's the worst that's going to happen?

You get asked to drop off your resume? Maybe they're not hiring at the time?

If anything, you come off as presentable and resourceful. Two words that soar above and beyond that stack of papers otherwise known as resumes.

Outside the box

The same goes for asking around the community or querying neighborhood businesses. If you're job hunting in Vancouver, you need to use all the tools at your disposal.

However if you're confident in your "unique" 130 KB file you call a resume, then there are still traditional means of finding extra cash this year. The following list provides readers with different resources to your help job hunt in Vancouver:

1. Monster

Monster Vancouver

Monster has been around forever. In fact, I remember when they launched their odd commercial campaign to the awing public. Say what you want about their choice in mascots, Monster is an enormous resource for job hunters in Vancouver.

2. Vancouver Craigslist

Looking on Craigslist for a job is like looking for a new roommate in college. You're going to get some incredible people as well as some incredibly odd folk. It's pretty much hit or miss along with some interesting postings to humor you along the way.

Although there are some diamonds in the rough to be found, do yourself a favor and check out an actual job sites or nearby businesses before putting all your eggs in this basket.

3. Simply Hired

The award winning website may not be as diverse as Craigslist, but is catered to working professionals looking for careers in nearly every field.

It's job bank provides filters that can help narrow your choices while the email updates aren't spammy or intrusive.

4. Workopolis

Workopolis Canada

Similar to Simply Hired in terms of layout, Workopolis also provides users the opportunity to post your own resume and is based in Canada.

So simple, your grandma could do it!

5. Indeed

Surpassing Monster in terms of traffic, is one of the quickest growing online engines. Similar layouts to other job resource, it also estimates salaries based on it's database and provides you other "related" works based on your previous searches.

Additionally, shows views per job posting so you can have a better idea of the online competition. Keep in mind though, that all views on a job posting means clicks, and not necessarily applications.

6. University Resources

UBC Vancouver Campus

Eager to get back to school?

Me neither, but universities are teaming with potential employment for extra cash. Whether term based, or part time, visit the HR department at you nearest campus. Keep in mind that there may be multiple campuses in the province so moving between them may or may not be on your radar.

Another well kept secret for extra cash is to stop by the student union buildings while you are on campus to see if students need an extra hand.

Here are the larger campuses found around Vancouver:

Note that some of the schools will require you to create an account which can be a pain. However, all positions found on campuses are relatively competitive and you won't be selling yourself short.

7. Municipal Positions

Finding a job with your local municipality is the hardest thing to do on this list. I had a friend on the waiting list for months before he got a call -- and he was lucky. However, these jobs pay extraordinarily well, plus you will never be out of something to do or hours to give.

Determination is the name of the game here, so be sure to keep yourself financially busy (by using another tool on this list) while you wait for that call back.

If you are dead-set on finding a job with the city, your best bet is to look up the municipality you belong to and apply online. The city will likely do things a little more formally, so walking up to the front desk and asking for directions to HR won't be the best move.

Tip: Knowing someone (with a good reputation!) is of the few advantages to speed up the process.

8. Social Media Channels

No longer are your social media channels just for chatting to auntie!

LinkedIn, Facebook groups and even Twitter have also become stirring with potential employment. Use the search bars provided by each platform and look around. Groups are also surging with potential employment and staying the loop of your field.

Also, keep an eye on the Facebook adverts on the right side of the Homepage. These sponsored links will target your profile based on your searches and cater ad results specifically for you/

Thanks Hal.

Hal 9000

9. BC Jobs

A classic powerhouse engine that has been around for over 15 years. They have connections to a HUGE variety of different fields in Western Canada.

There is no shortage of extra work here and they even provide professional development opportunities, networking potential and career advice.

10. Local Events

Don't let the wet Vancouver spring plague your job hunt.

Seasonal opportunities are becoming more of a thing every year with opportunities in various festivals, shows, events along with classic Playland and PNE opportunities. Census Canada also provides ample opportunity for data collections at well-paid positions every 5 years.

Grouse, Cypress and Seymour mountains also needs seasonal staff if you enjoy the outdoors or want to be a little more active while still getting paid!

Grouse Mountain Ski Patrol

The reality of job hunting in Vancity comes down to being dynamic and your ability to adjust after you meet resistance. You have to be knowledgeable enough to understand that most of your applications are going to end up in someone's trash. You also have to be flexible enough to commute where the jobs are, no matter where you live.

Character and the ability to stay positive while you focus day in and day out, determines who eventually gets employed.

Love it or hate it, you seldom see professionals that work in fields they studied in school. If this includes you, take solace in knowing that there are ample opportunities found on different channels, if you are willing to work outside of the box and reinvent yourself.

And who knows, you may just enjoy yourself.

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