Category Archives: career

Where are your favourite places to look for job opportunities? Pick your top two.

We’ve listed a few and we’d love to hear more specifics, so please feel free to comment on this post.  For example, are Craigslist, LinkedIn and Indeed the places you frequent for job opportunities?

Don’t make these common resume mistakes

Poor grammar, spelling mistakes, too many pages long…recruiters have seen many resume mistakes. Make sure your resume is polished and ready so you can get that interview! Hiring Managers have been known to spend only 6 seconds looking at your resume. Not getting any call backs from your job applications and resume submissions? Perhaps it is time to review your resume, and make sure it is clear and concise.

Here is a short video on 9 common mistakes people make on their resumes.

video credit: Business Insider

7 Smart Habits of Successful Job Seekers

Navigating your career in today’s complex job market can be very complex. This infographic below from LinkedIn provides simple tips you can get started on today.

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Career Development Training

Training and professional development require the investment not only of money but also of time and energy.

Those who continually develop and invest in their professional skills and talents have significant advantages.  Look for ways of improving weaknesses as well as developing areas of strength.

Think of training as a way of boosting your strengths and passions so that you can anticipate the highest return on investment. Proper licensing and professional credentials are key to senior roles.

Whatever your profession, leverage your interests and existing abilities to take your career to the next step. Talk to your employer. Most employers understand that continuing education give their staff and ultimately their companies competitive advantages. They may offer financial support or pay for time taken off for studying. Here is a fun video animation below showing how to ask your boss for career development training.

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The Interview

business suitIn last week’s post, we talked about preparing for the job interview. Now it is time to put yourself in the mind frame for when you are actually face to face with your interviewer.

This is a collaborative and interactive experience: think of it as an extended discussion in a coffee shop. Get into detail, but don’t share so much that you are long-winded or get off topic. Remember it’s about you and them, not just you. It’s a two-way street – you get to know them and they get to know you. In his book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell conveys this type of process as a kind of a dance. Fall into sequence together, a “conversation rhythm,” according to Gladwell, and you’ll likely find yourself with an offer.

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Listen to the question before jumping in with an answer: do not speak in general terms when you have been asked a question looking for specifics. Nervousness might have you jump to conclusions that are way off from what the interviewer is intending. Don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions. And never interrupt the interviewer when he or she is speaking.

Teamwork vs. Me-work:  While it is important for most companies to know about your ability to work as part of a team, keep in mind when the question comes about asking what did YOU do on that project? So many times we hear, “Well, we did this and we did that,” and “We came in under budget,” etc. Never does the individual reveal what his or her specific contributions were. This seemingly says the person did not have a significant role in the project. This might be totally incorrect, but could cost him or her the job.

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The Paperwork:  This may be an obvious point but, surprisingly, one that’s often forgotten. Always bring a copy of your resumé for yourself as well as copies for the people that you will be meeting. If you have been asked to bring along additional documentation, make sure you have it available. Also, a thorough reference listing of past supervisors should be attached to your resumé. Make sure you have contacted the references in advance of the interview so they are aware they may receive a phone call and, most importantly, know about the position you are applying for.

One last thing. Relax. You might find yourself enjoying the job-search process. And remember, it’s not just about you.

Preparing for the Interview

shaking-handsYou have submitted your job application. Then you got the call. They want to meet for a face to face interview.  Now is the time to sharpen up your interviewing strategies. Remember that you are your brand and that every part of you is under scrutiny in this process. Give your prospective employer every reason to spend some time taking a further look into who you are. Before you walk in the door, consider some prep work to be in order. A few points to note:

Be prepared, do your research: look beyond the internet. Study local business periodicals and scour for advertisements highlighting your target company. Look for corporate recognition internally and externally. These things will say a lot about what makes an organization tick. In your travels, you may also be able to learn more about the individual teams within the corporation.

.Dress professionally: this goes without saying, but along with that power suit,  show a positive attitude. Do not underestimate the importance and impact of professional image. If ever unsure of dress code it is better to be more corporately dressed on the first meeting.

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Prioritize your questions: make sure you have your most important questions ready to ask. Time them throughout the interview versus loading them up at the beginning or the end.

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Budget your time: know approximately how long the interview is intended to be. There is nothing worse than a person who goes on and on, forcing the interviewer to fight to get through their questioning. Organize your thoughts.

 

Job Searching? Watch your Social Media Manners.

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infographic source: Jobvite

Staying With the Job You Love

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It is never a good idea to be complacent in the workplace. If you want to remain employed at your current company, nurture the current position you are in. As well, give yourself opportunities to go beyond what is expected of you.

Last week, we shared some tips on how to approach the job market. The following are some tips if you are currently employed and want to remain there:

  1. What you do everyday makes a big difference. Your positive outlook and pitch in attitude will give you great mileage. Your positive vibes can become contagious to others.
  2. Look at problems as opportunities. Look at market slowdown as a chance to regroup and re-strategize. There is time now to make improvements.
  3. Show up early and stay late when you can. Not to bank overtime, but to show your employer how much your company means to you. Your exemplary initiatives will be noticed.
  4. If you have metrics or targets – go above and beyond.
  5. Now may not be the time to ask for a raise. It will come in good time. Wait for it.
  6. Be fiscally responsible. Consider what you and your coworkers can go without. Lead some office initiatives on recycling and other ways to save on resources. This will not only help improve the office bottom line but will be good for the environment.

 

6 Career Tips When Approaching the Job Market

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Your first impression and your strategy in your approach to your job search or employment outlook will make all the difference. If you are currently unemployed, and looking for a job:

  1. The most successful job seekers will be the ones who can take the key skills they have and translate them into assets for others. Consider your volunteer work and school co-op as areas to draw upon.
  2. Look to temporary staffing as the broadest reach of the general market place. Opportunities may not be as obvious as they have been before. Contract employment might lead to permanent work.
  3. Be flexible and open minded. You may need to revise your ‘wish list’ and be totally prepared to work hours and in areas out of your ‘ideal’. Remember that the skills learned at these new places of employment can set the pace for fantastic future opportunities in the future that are more perfect for you.
  4. Share your search. Make sure that you leave no stone unturned. Tell your friends, teachers and references. Let it be known on your LinkedIn profile that you are looking for new opportunities.
  5. Take a close look at your resume. Make sure that you have a clear focus and highlight your strengths. Companies are looking for value and results. Be specific whenever you can. Make sure you get someone else that you can trust to proofread your resume.
  6. If you are targeting a specific job then make sure that you take the time to change the summary statement of your resume each time you submit a resume. It is best to mention the job opportunity when you are applying to a specific job. Nothing drops you down the ranks faster than when you hand in a resume with the wrong information on it.

The Search Continues…

 iStock imageI wanted to share a recent personal experience regarding the trial and tribulations of searching for a new job. I have a friend who has simply outgrown his role and after 2 years with the company, he is now looking for a new position. He is a dedicated job seeker who invests much time into researching a company’s profile, meticulously writing individualized cover letters and tailoring his resume to a particular job posting.

He has been searching, and applying for new positions for the last 3 months really steadily; waking up early to apply for several roles and staying up late to job search. After sending out close to 20 applications and not receiving a single response back, he came to me with frustration. “What is the ratio of applications to responses?” he asked. I didn’t know the answer. In my career, I review lots of resumes each day and can honestly say that I would have called him if I were searching in his area of expertise.

It’s a frustration for job seekers – especially those who invest a lot of time and energy into their application process. Ironically, the day after he had shared his frustration with me, he got three calls back from potential employers for interviews! This was extremely motivating for him, to say the least and has encouraged him to continue putting the time and energy into his search that is needed. To date, he is still looking for the right position but was re-energized by the reward of at least getting a call back after all his hard work.

I think the moral of this story is that looking for a new position, especially for one in the Vancouver market is not a task for the faint of heart. There is reward at the end of the tunnel, but hard work, dedication and time will need to go into your job search if you are going to see some serious results. It can be challenging and frustrating at times but if you endure and don’t settle, you’ll end up with a sought-after position. After investing that much time, the reward will be that much more meaningful!