Five Lessons From The Recent Federal Election

Oh, Canada! On October 19th the nation spoke and there were winners and losers from coast to coast. Job seeking is often as gruelling as the election campaigns of our dear leaders. But there are many lessons job hunters can learn from the recent election:

1) Accentuate the positive

After more than a decade where nothing awful happened to the Canadian economy the Conservatives adopted an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” angle. A policy which, to be fair, seemed to have worked in two previous federal elections. But the decision to release an ad campaign that declared “Stephen Harper isn’t perfect but when it comes to the economy we can depend on him” was surely a misstep. As a job seeker, you will be asked to discuss where your performance can improve. When answering, make sure that your good points outweigh the bad. These days, Canadians want to see more than one selling-point.

2) Be yourself

One National Post commentator felt that Justin Trudeau’s campaign was “mawkishly sentimental.” Trudeau, a parent of young children and a former school teacher, dedicated his pre-political career to kids. Likewise, the Liberal leader appears to be a guy who keeps himself in shape. Canadians seem to trust that Trudeau was being genuine when he was photographed kayaking and embracing his children. You see, many people can spot a phony public relations stunt. Bear this in mind when writing your resume. It is far better to present yourself accurately–hiring managers are quick to separate professionalism from posturing!

3) Be realistic

Poor old Tom Mulcair. After the New Democrat Party swept Alberta’s provincial elections in the summer, many expected Mulcair to perform well federally. Alas, the Liberals dominated the left-wing vote and Mulcair admitted, “I feel like I got punched in the gut.” Defeats hurt. But as job hunters, we have to be tenacious and realistic If you accept that your talents are part of a competitive marke, your expectations will be grounded in reality. And in time you will land the job you deserve—even if there were a few difficult defeats along the way.

4) Understand identity

Stephen Harper’s parliamentary secretary reckons that the Conservative Party misjudged the state of Canada’s identity. By not tapping into a real-time understanding of Canadian cultural issues, the Conservatives hemorrhaged votes. When applying for jobs, you can learn from Harper’s mistakes. Each company has a culture, so investigate the culture of the organization you are applying to. Websites, Instagram pages and company press releases are wonderful sources for figuring out what makes a business (and its people) tick. Leverage this knowledge in your cover letter, showing how a company’s culture will fit you like a glove.

5) Trust your instincts

Justin Trudeau just is not ready” was the Conservative Party’s mantra throughout the election campaign. Yet Trudeau batted away these barbs with confidence. If you believe that it is time for a change in your career, do not succumb to fear.  Your talents are valuable and, at least in Canada, change is vogue these days.