Ways to ace your (YouthCO) job application

We are passionate about finding the right youth to lead in our organization: youth who are committed to always learning about our values, youth who are part of the communities we work with, and youth who share our commitment to reducing the impact of HIV and Hep C stigma. Our hiring process is designed to help us find youth who will help us further our mission, connect with people in our communities, and excel in our workplace! We care most about finding people who connect with our communities, not the letters that go after your name. We love receiving awesome job applications, and we want to share some of the things we look for when reading your application to help you make it as amazing as possible.

Everyone who works at YouthCO has been in the place of applying to a job at YouthCO, and we know it can be a bit intimidating, especially if it is the first time (or the first few times!) we’re submitting a job application. We’re hoping these tips will help make applying to a job just a bit easier!

Step One: Submitting your application

All of our staff positions at YouthCO require some reading and writing in English, as well as strong verbal communication skills in English. We accept written applications or voice recordings during this part of the job application process.

  • Read the job posting in as much detail as possible! Understanding what the job is about is an important first step in deciding whether you might be a good fit, and if yes, getting a sense of what we’re looking for from the successful candidate. We try to find a balance between providing lots of details so folks know what to expect, and keeping it short. Taking the time to read the information we provide sets you up to highlight exactly why you would be a good fit for this work. Contact the person listed on the job posting if you have any questions.
    • Our job postings also include specific instructions about how to apply to the job. Following these instructions, which often include which email address to send it to, whether we want a cover letter or not, and the application deadline, is a really good first impression.
  • Take the time to learn a bit about YouthCO. Learning a bit about what we do (the YouthCO 101 section is a great place to start!), can help you figure out where your experience and interest overlaps with our work. Looking at this information also helps prevent mistakes like spelling our name incorrectly (yes, the CO is supposed to be capitalized! It stands for "community outreach"). Knowing about YouthCO can also help you explain why you are interested in the specific work we do - what is it about our programs and our mission that you are excited about?
  • Identify the top reasons why your skills, experience, and interest would be a great fit for this job! Have you learned about anti-oppression or YouthCO's other values through your day-to-day experience, a workshop, volunteering or work? Are you connected to the communities we work with? Have you helped other youth learn about sexual health, harm reduction, HIV or Hep C information or services? Do you have experience in youth-led organizations? Are you really good at using social media? Have you learned everything you can get your hands on about Hep C? Have you attended YouthCO's Core Training or any of our workshops or events? All of these skills and experiences may make you a great fit for the role. You can share these in your resume. You can do this in lots of ways, including having a section specifically about your skills, or by listing your key accomplishments from previous work or volunteer experience. As you put together your application, you may want to incorporate answers to questions such as:
    • Why are you excited about YouthCO and/or the program we’re hiring for?
    • What’s your connection to our work (reducing HIV & Hep C stigma) and/or our values and/or the communities we work with?
    • What experiences have you had that prepare you to be amazing at the job?


  • Be sure to provide any information about skills or experiences we have asked for. Each job posting has skills or experiences we are particularly interested in. If we use language like "a driver's license is an asset," let us know if you do have a driver's license. If we say we are looking for someone who has connections to youth living with HIV and/or Hep C, let us know if you are a peer* to this group, or if you have personal, work, or volunteer experience working with this group of youth!
  • Print or download a copy of the job posting to keep for your own records. We usually take down the job posting after the applications close. Should we offer you an interview, it is helpful to have a copy of the job description to review in preparation. In most interviews, we review the posting before we begin.

We do our best to get in touch with every youth who applies to a job at YouthCO, whether or not we are able to offer an interview.

  • If we do offer you an interview, respond promptly to follow up. If you know you won’t have access to phone or email during our hiring period, let us know that when you apply.
  • If we don't offer you an interview, we really appreciate the time you took to submit a job application and be part of our hiring process. We will offer to include you on our job posting email list, and to let you know that you can always join us as a participant in our upcoming events or volunteer trainings!

Step Two: Preparing for an interview

Where possible, we schedule in-person interviews with candidates. However, we are not able to pay for travel as part of our interview process, so we may use video or phone technology to connect with you! We will confirm these details with you when we get in touch to schedule something.

  • Review information on our website. Most organizations, including YouthCO, will ask you to share a few main points about the work we do, or the program you’re applying to be part of. We also want to hear from you about some of the issues that youth most impacted by HIV and Hep C may be experiencing. You can learn a bit about who we are on our website's YouthCO 101 section.

  • Get familiar with our work and the basics about HIV and Hep C! You don’t need to be an expert, but we want to know we are hiring someone who understands our approach to talking about HIV and Hep C. You can learn a bit about HIV basics and Hep C basics from our materials! It is also helpful to prepare to speak to how HIV and Hep C affect youth, whether we are living with these viruses or not.

  • Be ready to talk about our priorities at YouthCO, and highlight what skills you have that would make you a great fit for the job. 

  • Be prepared on your interview day. Getting to YouthCO on time for your interview makes a really great first impression. That said, we know that busses can be late, alarms don’t go off, and life can happen. If you are going to be late, give us a heads up by email or phone.

    • Ask us a question! Do you want to know something that wasn’t covered in the job posting or on our website? Ask us during the interview. Every interview ends with the opportunity for you to ask questions.

We know interviews can be intimidating, and we try our best to make them as comfortable as possible. We’ll offer you a glass of water, and invite you to ask us to repeat the question, or to think for a minute or two before responding during the conversation. If you don't know the answer to a question, you can always ask to come back to it later.

Whether or not you end up working at YouthCO, we appreciate the time you take to apply and be part of our process. Even if one specific opportunity doesn’t work out for you, we hope that getting this information will help you with future job applications, whether at YouthCO or elsewhere. We 

*A peer is someone who shares the same age, identity, status, ability, health condition, work or educational experience as another. At YouthCO, our team is a peer to the communities we work with based on age, and in most cases, based on other aspects of our lives too - for example, our Yúusnewas team is made up of Indigenous youth who are peers to the Indigenous youth in our programs. 

YouthCO's office is located on the unceded traditional territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and Tsleil-Waututh people. Our programs take place on unceded, ancestral, and traditional territories of many Indigenous nations across what is now called BC.

YouthCO believes that all youth have the right to accessible and affirming information about our health. We also know each of us has a unique relationship to our bodies, sex, sexuality, substance use, and harm reduction. For many of us, the words other people use for our bodies and their functions are not the words we use for ourselves. Throughout our website, YouthCO uses words for bodies and sex that we know will not reflect the full diversity of our communities. We have tried to, where possible, be as expansive with our language as we know how to while being as specific as possible. As youth leading the HIV movement, we too are learning about the best words for our experiences and do not do this perfectly. We invite any feedback about the language used on our website to help us move forward in the best ways for all youth in our communities!