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Unlocking Opportunities: Navigating the Job Market with YMCA Employment Service’s ‘Secret Sauce’ Job Coaching

By Karen Ferguson, Manager, Employment & Learning Services

Karen is the regional manager for all YMCA Employment & Learning Services locations in Midland, Huntsville, Parry Sound, Bracebridge, and Gravenhurst. Last year, her team of Job Coaches and Employment Services staff served over 21,000 people who visited our Employment Services centres in person or virtually to find support.

At the YMCA Employment Service, like with other employment centres, we help people prepare a resume, craft a cover letter, and get ready for job interviews. Absolutely!

Resumes and job interviews remain key pieces of a job search in our smaller communities. (In larger centres, LinkedIn profiles take the place of resumes sometimes. Of course, we can also help you with your LinkedIn profile – we always recommend you’re up to date there, especially if you work in an occupational area where LinkedIn is commonly used to connect with colleagues.)

Every year, our sites work with hundreds of people of every age (as long as they are legally entitled to work!) as they prepare to enter or re-enter the workforce. 70% of our clients secure a job, while about 10% or more decide they need some academic upgrading or training first. Some people even decide that, nope, it’s not a good time to go back to work.

Job seekers, however, are not our only clients! We work with local employers, who we also see as “clients,” as we strive to help them meet their staffing goals. We know most employers in town. We know who is hiring and what they’re hiring for – who hires people with certain skills. We often have a sense of an employer’s hiring process, expectations, and workplace culture.

That knowledge is our “secret sauce.”

Sometimes job seekers want to come into one of our centres and just look at the job postings to see if there is anything of interest available. And that is fine.

But the “secret sauce” can only be used when you work with a Job Coach. Coaches have been working with employers to understand their needs (what they want to hire) directly, sometimes for years. They have a sense of where the “hidden job market” is (jobs which do not get advertised and you need to “know someone” to “get in”). Our Job Coaches can be that someone sometimes. Remember: employers call us to post their jobs.

At the YMCA, we believe there is a job out there for everyone. It may take three weeks, three months, or longer for the right job to come along, and YMCA Job Coaches will support you through your employment plan, start to finish. They’ll help you create that plan, and if you don’t know what type of jobs you should be applying for, they’ll help you with that, too.

They’ll support your career development planning, too, if you’ve been thinking it’s time for big change, and create short and long-term goals to get you there. They’ll help you figure it all out. They’ll sometimes even stay in touch once you’ve got the job to ensure it’s working out.

To learn more about YMCA Employment Services and the assistance we offer, click here.

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