Archive | Careers

The Do’s And Don’ts Of Talking Politics At Work

Posted on 26 January 2017 by admin

Workopolis

Canada’s largest career site for job seekers and a leader in HR technology for employers.

Anyone who’s ever been in a heated political argument with an opinionated uncle or aunt at Thanksgiving knows the perils of a political discussion. And with the U.S. Inauguration Day on the books, political talk has never been more fraught. According to a recent study by VitalSmarts co-founders Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield, nine out of 10 U.S. voters said the 2016 election was more polarizing and volatile than ever before.

So, how do you cover what will inevitably be a topic of discussion, without starting a bitter debate with coworkers? Read on for the do’s and don’ts of talking politics at the office.


DO: Disagree diplomatically

Surprisingly, VitalSmarts’ survey found that people would rather talk to someone they disagree with who speaks respectfully, rather than someone who shares their views but expresses them belligerently. “Most of us think the only safe space to talk is with those who agree with us, and it’s just not true,” said Grenny.


DON’T: Lie about your beliefs to conform

Sure, sometimes it seems easier to take the path of least resistance. But lying about what you believe isn’t a healthy long-term strategy. “A lot of people think being diplomatic is sugarcoating your opinions,” Grenny said. “But that’s not a meaningful conversation.”


DO: Focus on common ground

It might be hard to believe, but you might share some ideological similarities even with people at the opposite of the political spectrum. Locate those common threads and use them to weave understanding. “It’s totally possible two people with polar opposite positions have similar values,” Grenny said. “On immigration, maybe you both care about national security, and taking care of those with citizenship, and the disagreements are how we execute on those values.”


DON’T: Try to change the other person’s mind

After thousands of hours of cable news reports, most people’s opinions are pretty strongly held by now. If you try to “convert” your conversation partner, you may come off as preachy or condescending. “Give up the desire to proselytize to someone with a different opinion,” Grenny said.


DO: Ask for permission

Simply asking if it’s OK to express your dissenting opinion goes a long way, Grenny said. “People feel psychologically different when they give permission to share our point of view.” And with respect to the president-elect, don’t build walls in the conversation. Listen and try to be understanding.


DO: Plan an escape route

No matter how carefully you communicate, some political discussions are simply bound to get heated. If that’s the case, be sure to recognize it and find what Grenny calls the “off-ramp.”

“If it looks like it’s creating something that neither person wants, just stop. As soon as one of those signals occurs, say, ‘gosh, I think I’m getting a little too agitated, it looks like you’re not liking what you’re hearing from me, so let’s talk about the ball game.’ Then cut it off.”

And if that doesn’t work, you could always bring the subject back to a work matter (or worst case, start looking for another job!).

 

Comments (0)

Skilled Trades Will Enable The Future Of Canada’s Economy

Posted on 19 January 2017 by admin

Nobina Robinson

Policy thought leader on Canadian innovation, higher education and skills

 Canada seems perpetually fixated on the “knowledge economy,” no matter the political stripes of the government in power. Budget 2017 will roll out the Innovation Agenda, where significant funds will be dedicated to supporting “super clusters” around the likes of aerospace, cyber security, or nanotechnology.

Policy-makers wish to prepare job markets for disruptions that will stem from automation, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, and the industrial internet. The skills for the future? If you believe the pundits, they are coding, sales talent, and everything digital. Is Canada’s economy of the future a place where the skilled trades will survive, let alone thrive?

This is an important question, especially at a time when the trades are facing a demographic deficit – the number of those about to retire far exceeds the number of new entrants into these vitally important professions. If our economy is shifting, how much emphasis do we really need to place on filling predicted shortages and attracting more young people to the trades?

The answer might surprise you. In Canada’s future economy, the skilled trades are going to matter more than ever. So we need to make significant and sustained investments in attracting our best and brightest talent to these professions, the same way we do for the best and brightest knowledge workers.

Why the skilled trades will matter more than ever in the future.

While we focus so much on the digital space, we can’t forget that Canada is about to make massive investments in physical infrastructure. The newly proposed Canadian Infrastructure Bank will see our federal government put up $35 billion dollars in hopes of attracting at least four to five times that amount from the private sector — global or national, to be invested in large infrastructure projects across the country.

Yet, it’s unclear whether or not we have the human capital capacity to complete these projects at present. Some estimate that within ten years Canada will face a shortage of 250,000 individuals in the construction trades alone. If Canada is going to invest heavily in infrastructure, we must ensure we make equally strong investments in training talent that is going to build it.

We may also see a push for Canada’s infrastructure of the future to be “smart.” That is, built with integrated information and communication technologies (ICT) and internet of things (IoT) capabilities. For example, streets could be embedded with sensors that speak to smartphones optimizing commute times and traffic flow. Making cities smarter is going to require much skilled talent: heavy equipment operators, electricians, and concrete finishers. And these folks are going to have to be able to collaborate with other professionals from a range of disciplines: engineers, architects, and environmental scientists.

The digital environment

Be it through the adoption of automated technologies, moving our work to virtual spaces, or the increased use of cloud based software, our work environments are increasingly digital. The skilled trades are inherently physical, but we can’t forget that we are flesh and blood and live in a built environment. The digital and the virtual don’t preclude a built environment. For example, the servers needed to house cloud-based information require the construction and maintenance of physical servers. With the trends toward big data, one can imagine the needs for such spaces are going to intensify.

Microsoft is in the midst of testing the feasibility of housing large data centres underwater. At the same time, Google is building floating data centres in San Francisco Bay on specially fitted barges. These projects, and others similar, require the use of underwater welders, electricians, and HVAC technicians. The digital always requires the support of the physical, so as our digital needs grow, so too will the need to have a skilled workforce in place that can build and maintain the accompanying infrastructure.

 

Our changing energy future

The future of energy in Canada is green. Non-renewables will be extracted through less carbon-intensive means, and the use of renewables is quickly expanding. A diversifying energy landscape will create intensified demand for skilled labour. Take for example two renewables that are gathering traction: solar and wind.

Solar is officially the world’s cheapest form of energy and start-ups are quickly emerging to capitalize. SolarCity, an American firm owned by Elon Musk, specializes in solar energy services — one of their most recent conceptions is an entirely solar roof. The expansion of similar projects to Canada will see the creation of skilled labour demand across the whole value chain — from the production solar cells, to wiring, to installation.

For its part, wind could fulfill 20 per cent of Canada’s energy needs by 2025; this growth of wind energy in Canada will increase demand for wind turbine technicians, electricians, and crane operators. Further, even our traditional energy economy will support job creation in the near future. Oil prices are mending, and with recent approvals for new pipeline projects the demand for skilled trades is certain to rise.

Canada is well positioned to stake its claim as an innovation leader. However, even as our economy shifts to embrace emerging technologies, digital spaces, new infrastructure, and renewable energies, have we overlooked the integral role the skilled trades will play in all of this industrial change?

Through the onslaught of articles about automation and digitization of work, it is worth remembering that we haven’t left the physical world, at least not yet. More importantly, it will be the trades professions that can enable the future of work — here and around the world.

Comments (0)

How do you become a Rhodes scholar?

Posted on 11 January 2017 by admin

Becoming a Rhodes Scholar wasn’t something Matthew Jordan ever gave much thought.

In fact, the 22-year-old student from Thornhill Ont., only applied to the prestigious all-expenses-paid scholarship to Oxford University in the U.K. after a friend encouraged him to.

It was a surprise, said Jordan, humbly adding that when he turned up to his interview he wasn’t as polished and groomed for it as his peers.

“I spent most of my undergrad life doing very few formal organized activities,” he said. “I haven’t been a part of that many clubs or organizations or won many scholarships or owned a yacht etcetera.”

It turns out though, that the path to becoming a Rhodes Scholar isn’t so clear cut — as long as you are academically brilliant and show a strong sense of community and leadership.

“There’s no checklist to become a Rhodes Scholar,” said Brian Rolfes, a Rhodes Scholar himself and the secretary of the Ontario Rhodes Scholarship selection committee.

“There’s not a formula that will allow one to receive the scholarship. We look for a couple of things, first of all, high academic achievement. So truly top of the class performance in one’s undergraduate post secondary institutions, but it can be from any field, so it’s truly being able to do well scholastically. But then I would say the second piece broadly speaking is around leadership capabilities.”

Applicants also have to be between 18 to 28 years old depending on where they’re applying from and should be set to finish their undergrad.

Jordan, who has been on the Dean’s Honour list throughout his undergraduate degree and received the Harry Lyman Hooker Scholarship for being in the top 10 per cent of his program three times, also earned two Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) to do math projects over the summer.

In his spare time, he wrote a calculus textbook to help make math more relatable to people around his age, plays the piano, guitar, drums and enjoys jamming with his friends and busking on the street.

“I think what probably stood out to the committee was my huge range of interests and things that I’m comfortable speaking about,” said Jordan.

“Most of my pursuits are kind of intellectual and academic, but on the flip side I’m perfectly comfortable talking about what are the last four words in Gilmore Girls or talking about the new Kendrick Lamar album, so I’m versatile in that way.”

Rolfes received the scholarship in 1989 and found living and studying abroad with peers from around the world transformative.

“For me, as a kid from Saskatoon, who had lived and studied only in Canada at that point, it really did open the world to me. I was there with 90 or so other scholars from around the world. You immediately have that collection of friends that sort of challenge you, that have different world views.”

Andrew Wilkinson, the national secretary for Rhodes Scholarships in Canada and a 1980s Rhodes Scholar from Alberta, said the scholarship isn’t interested in “trophy hunters.”

“There’s a phenomenon now amongst teenagers that they feel obliged now to start building up a resume from about age 12 onward and this is something we can see straight through. So the committees are very careful to examine resumes to make sure that they are substantive and don’t reflect the desire to build up a dossier.”

What they are looking for, said Wilkinson, are “people who have deep thinking abilities, who have thought about what to do with their abilities — not just to have a job or make a lot of money, but rather how they can contribute to making Canada a better place.”

“We’re looking for rocket fuel because we have a match.”

Jordan, who plans to get a PhD in mathematical physics at Oxford, credits much of his success to his friends and family.

“It’s hard to do anything, let alone win a big scholarship, without an extremely supportive family.”

He hopes to combine his passion for teaching and science and specifically teach people why they should care and trust scientific experts.

“The moral of the story is apply for stuff,” said Jordan. “Because you never know what’s going to happen.”

Comments (0)

5 Ways To Boost Brain Power And Finally Concentrate At Work

Posted on 05 January 2017 by admin

Do you have a hard time getting motivated at the office? Feel like you just can’t concentrate? You’re not alone. The good news is that you can do something about it.

There are a few simple strategies borrowed from psychology that can actually help you improve the way your brain functions.

Here are five cognitive strategies to enhance your brain power (and productivity).

Exercise your brain

Most of us are familiar with the old saying, “if you don’t use it, you lose it.” Well, the same goes for our brains. Psychologists have found links to improved cognitive functioning for certain activities and tasks following frequent use of brain games.

Brain games are based on the psychological concept of neuroplasticity, meaning our brains are capable of growth through the formation of new neuronal connections. Essentially, completing a few games each day challenges the brain by stimulating various centres that correspond to specific functions, such as short-term memory, information processing, attention and language fluidity.

Though there are mixed reviews on web-based games (they can contribute to sedentary screen time), there is no denying the science backing them up. The key is to stay active and continue to challenge yourself by switching up the game once you notice an improvement. Just as our muscles need to be challenged in order to grow bigger and stronger, our brain should be stimulated in new and diverse ways.

Try the Pomodoro technique

Concentration is essential in most professions, and can often mean the difference between productivity and procrastination. It’s possible to maximize concentration levels by using the Pomodoro technique, a psychological strategy that gradually enhances your attention span.

By using the Pomodoro technique, you are essentially completing an interval-training workout for your brain. Start by using the timer on your cellphone or computer and work for 25 solid minutes with no distractions. When the alarm signals, you to take a five-minute break. Repeat this three times and then take a longer break for 20 to 30 minutes. You will have worked intensively for two full hours while also respecting your body’s need for frequent, short breaks.

Regular use of this technique can help develop your attention span, allowing you to give projects and tasks undivided focus for longer periods.

Do mindful meditation

It is also possible to extend your mental functioning by adopting meditation techniques. Meditation is the practice of undisturbed, non-judgmental acknowledgment of thoughts and emotions without actually reacting to them.

Researchers at Harvard have noted that meditation reduces stress and anxiety, and is correlated with improved memory and mental clarity. This can help retain and analyze information, enhance decision-making skills, and decrease work-related stress and conflicts.

Simply put: implementing a few minutes of meditation into your day — whether it’s before breakfast, at your desk or even in bed at night — could significantly improve your mental well-being, productivity and output.

Forgo the GPS

Many people use smartphones or GPS devices to navigate their way around road closures and traffic jams. Scientists, however, have discovered that a dependence on technology for wayfinding could actually be detrimental to brain function, hindering our spatial awareness and orientation.

Creating “mental maps” actually exercises areas in the brain called the amygdala and the hippocampus, which control spatial memory and long-term memory, respectively. Something as simple as your commute to and from work, or finding that new lunch spot without google maps, can help to keep your brain active and functioning optimally.

Visualize success

Neuroscience research has highlighted the impact visualization can have on learning new physical and mental skills. By maximizing the brain’s visual-spatial centres, visualization can improve information retention and recall and language learning.

When you need to learn new information or understand a new concept, combine it with a mental image. Instead of a single centre of the brain working to store this data, multiple areas will be activated; this increases the odds that the data will imprint in your mind and connect with other ideas already stored, making it easier for you to remember it later on.

Key takeaways

In summary, it’s possible to enhance your workplace productivity through cognitive strategies borrowed from psychology. By incorporating brain games, concentration techniques, meditation and visualization (and by cutting back on Google Maps), you can improve your work output by actually improving your brain’s efficiency.

Comments (0)

5 Reasons Why You Should Swear At Work

Posted on 21 December 2016 by admin

Here are five reasons why you should swear at work.

To relieve tension

You’re swamped, deadlines are looming, meetings are veering off track, and for some reason, everything your closest co-worker does is annoying you.

On days like this, you need an outlet, and what’s better, letting a round of expletives loose or doing something you’ll really regret (like getting into a fight)? A well-timed swear word every now and then can help to manage frustration and ease tensions in tough situations.

Cursing activates a “fight or flight” response, which leads to a surge of adrenaline and endorphins. This response relieves pain, which is why we tend to curse when we burn ourselves or drop something on our foot. The response also makes us feel ready to fight back — so instead of just letting a bad situation at work continue, let the F-bombs fly, and you’ll feel more confident and ready to tackle the issue head on.

To make you a more relatable leader

When U.S. President Barack Obama told reporters he was trying to figure out “whose ass to kick” after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, commentators praised him. By loosening things up a bit, and swearing, it showed a more human, relatable side. It showed that he cared.

Similarly, people in leadership roles who curse can be more likely to connect with their employees on an emotional level. That’s not to say that they should walk around the office like a drunken sailor played by Joe Pesci. But by occasionally using “taboo” language, particularly when it’s warranted, bosses can knock down barriers, letting staff see that behind the lofty job title, they’re not all that different.

 

To be part of the boys’ club

A study from East Anglia University in the UK found that women swear more around men as a way to assert themselves in male-dominated conversations. Throughout history, the theory goes, “blue” language was reserved for men in power, so when women use bad words in the workplace, they tap into this historical precedent, appearing more powerful.

But before you start peppering your vocabulary with four-letter words, keep in mind that this can severely backfire. Research from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand has found that potty-mouthed women were judged to be “lower class.”

 

To build a more tight-knit team

Cursing can make light of a situation and make it more humorous. You probably curse around your friends, right? Swearing can signal that we are open, honest, easygoing, and fun — and it encourages others to mirror your behavior and attitude.

By cursing around your co-workers, you can establish a friendlier atmosphere, and develop a deeper bond with them. Letting loose every now and then lets them know you feel comfortable enough around them to do so, and invites them to do the same. Remember, though, that everyone reacts differently to this. If you’re around people of the executive team, for example, or a more conservative co-worker, you might want to limit your use of four-letter words, unless of course they drop an F-bomb first.

To speak more powerfully

Words may be just that, but they do matter. The more taboo a word is; the more impact it can have. And sometimes, you need to make an impact.

Swearing can show that we really mean what we are saying, and can emphasize the emotions we are feeling. Sometimes, when you’re in the middle of a bad day, and you’ve had enough, you need to get the point across. Think of swear words like particularly sharp tools in your communication toolkit. Use them when needed, but be very careful not to get cut.

Comments (0)

Looking to hire somebody? You may want to skip the job interview

Posted on 09 November 2016 by admin

Employers, like most people, tend to trust their intuitions. But when employers decide whom to hire, they trust those intuitions far more than they should.

Suppose that you are considering two candidates for a job in sales, Candidate A and Candidate B, and have interviewed both. You and your colleagues were far more impressed with Candidate A, who was dynamic, engaging, and immensely likable — a natural, especially for sales. By contrast, Candidate B was a bit awkward and reserved, and so seemed to be an inferior “fit.”

One of your colleagues points out that both candidates have taken an aptitude test that relates to the job; their personnel files also contain their scores on a general intelligence test. On both tests, Candidate A was just OK; Candidate B performed superbly.

Which applicant will you choose? If you are like a lot of people, the answer is still Candidate A. After all, you met both in person, and part of your job is to be able to assess people. Maybe Candidate B tests well, but Candidate A knocked your socks off.

A lot of evidence suggests that in cases of this kind, employers will stubbornly trust their intuitions — and are badly mistaken to do so. Specific aptitude tests turn out to be highly predictive of performance in sales, and general intelligence tests are almost as good. Interviews are far less useful at telling you who will succeed.

What’s true for sales positions is also true more generally. Unstructured interviews have been found to have surprisingly little value in a variety of areas. For medical school interviews, for example, they appear to have no predictive power at all: in terms of academic or clinical performance, those accepted on the basis of interviews do no better than those who are rejected. In law schools, my own experience is that faculties emphasize how aspiring law professors do in one-on-one interviews — which usually provide no information at all about how they will do as teachers or researchers.

In the abstract, most people in human resources are fully aware that objective measures are helpful. Yet the overwhelming majority of people in these positions believe that executives “can learn more from an informal discussion with job candidates” and that it is possible to “read between the lines” to see whether a candidate would do well in the job. In general, that’s wrong.

In fact, some evidence suggests that interviews are far worse than wasteful: By drawing employers’ attention to irrelevant information, they can produce inferior decisions. For example, people make better predictions about student performance if they are given access to objective background information, such as grades and test scores — and prevented from conducting interviews entirely. (In some fields, of course, specific aptitude tests don’t exist, but general intelligence scores are often available. And if candidates have a previous track record, it makes sense to rely on it.)

So why do employers, managers and administrators continue to give so much weight to interviews? The simple answer is that people trust what they see and hear, and rely on their own feelings even when they shouldn’t. But as Yale University management professor Jason Dana and his collaborators have shown, there’s more to it than that. Interviewers actively fool themselves, finding ways to learn from interviews even if there’s actually nothing there to learn from.

Dana’s central finding is that interviewers work very hard to make sense of whatever interviewees end up saying. If you are conducting an interview, you will quickly form an initial impression of the candidate, and you will be inclined to assess his or her answers — whatever they are — in a way that fits with that initial impression.

To confirm that point, Dana instructed interviewees to give literally random answers to questions — answers that had nothing at all to do with their natural response. Even then, interviewers said in post-interview surveys that they received valuable information.

Dana’s explanation was that interviewers had made sense of the answers they got by weaving those answers into a coherent (and to some degree fabricated) narrative about candidates. In other words, interviewers, thinking that they are good judges of people, ended up confident about the usefulness of the interviews even when the responses were deliberately worthless.

There’s a related problem with interviews: They can give effect to biases, conscious or unconscious. If interviewers are prejudiced against women or Hispanics, for example, a face-to-face interview will predictably result in discrimination. Reliance on tests, or on actual or past performance, can promote equality.

For business, government, and education, the lesson is clear: People ought to be relying far more on objective information and far less on interviews. They might even want to think about scaling back or cancelling interviews altogether. They’ll save a lot of time — and make better decisions.

Comments (0)

10 Things You Shouldn’t Share On The Job

Posted on 27 October 2016 by admin

Workopolis

Canada’s largest career site for job seekers and a leader in HR technology for employers.

Here are 10 things you shouldn’t share on the job:

Your political views. OK, maybe your politics are a big part of who you are, in which case you go about knowing that trumpeting your opinions might affect your personal and professional relationships and are OK with that because being pro life/pro choice/anti-gun/libertarian is more important. But if this isn’t you, avoid political discussions with your colleagues and superiors. You don’t know the political opinions of the people who can affect your career and discussion can lead to all kinds of problems.

What you think of them (if it isn’t positive). If you don’t like someone, there is no need for them to know that. Keep it to yourself. This means being nice and polite to that person and giving no indication of your dislike.

That you hate your job/boss/office/coworker. Similarly, there’s no reason for anyone to know that you can’t stand your boss or the guy who sits next to you. If you really have an issue, such as harassment, go to HR or find a new job. Don’t talk about it. Even people who seem sympathetic to your position can turn around and stab you in the back.

The reason you can’t get the thing done that needs to be done. Everyone hates excuses. If you want to get ahead professionally you will take care of your responsibilities, deliver what you promise and do what you are asked. Nobody needs to know that you didn’t sleep well or have the sniffles or had a fight with your partner. Only in very rare circumstances — a serious illness, death, or accident, should you be excused from your duties. Not because your printer wasn’t working.

The condition of your digestive tract/rash/foot fungus. If you are going through a serious illness that will affect your attendance, job performance, and/or morale, by all means let your colleagues know what is going on. But don’t give a daily play by play of your aches and pains or digestive processes. You never know who you might make uncomfortable.

How much you make. While some companies have transparent salary policies, be aware that knowing what other people make can sometimes lead to bad feelings and jealousies. If you think it will bother you to compare yourself with others (and vice verse), resist the urge to ask and to tell.

Why you need a raise. If you’re asking for a raise, keep the request about why you deserve it and not about why you need it. Nobody cares that you took out a second mortgage. You’re not a charity case. Prove that you deserve it by listing your accomplishments and showing your value.

That you have a sexual attraction to inflatable animals, or cars or whatever. You know what I mean. Even if your sex life is fairly vanilla, keep the details to yourself. While you might be a sharer, not everyone wants to be shared with, and a lot of people can be sensitive, squeamish, or guarded about that sort of thing.

That you’re mad. I know a few people on social media who are always outraged about stuff — from big hot button issues, like large game hunting, to small things like random sexist comments from anonymous strangers on small blogs nobody reads. It is super off-putting to be up in arms and angry all the time. It also makes people afraid to talk to you.

That you’re job hunting. If you’ve decided it’s time to shove off, don’t let your colleagues or boss know. Your boss will figure it’s time to start looking for your replacement — which might mean it’s also time to hurry you out the door — and your colleagues might tell the boss. Keep your job search on the down low or you could wind up jobless before you’re ready.

Comments (0)

5 Reasons Employers Hate Your Resume Before They Even Read It

Posted on 05 October 2016 by admin

Peter Harris

Is your resume failing to get the response you’re looking for from potential employers? Maybe they’re not even reading it.

There are some common resume blunders that can turn employers off even before they get to the sections describing your skills and experience.

These details can make or break your chances of landing an interview just as much as your credentials — because it doesn’t really matter what your credentials are if the employer already dislikes you before even reading them.

Here are five reasons employers might reject your resume without even reading it:


Your file name

I don’t mean the title at the top of your resume — although that does matter, and I’ll get to that — but the actual file name of your document. Many people simply call their resume resume.doc or resume.pdf. If an employer is receiving hundreds of applications for a position and saves the top candidates on their computer or in a shared folder — how are they supposed to keep track of all the resume.docs?

I’ve written about this before because it perfectly illustrates the problem with filenames. I once received an application for an editorial assistant with a resume called something like Paul_WriterJobsResume-2012_updated.doc. Think about that. Before I even open the document, I get the impression that Paul applies for various kinds of positions and this is his ‘writer jobs’ resume, and that he may or may not have updated it since 2012.

Do hiring managers a favour. Save your resume as your name and the name of the job you’re applying for. Paul for example should have saved his resume as PaulSmith_Editorial-Assistant.doc. Easy fix. Much better first impression.

Your resume title

This issue is equally easy to fix. Your job title at the top of your resume should be the same as the title of the job you are applying for. Make the change every time.

If the body of your resume can’t back up that job title, then you shouldn’t be applying for it. If it is a stretch that your past work experience can set you up as a candidate for the role, then do the math yourself. Write the description of skills and accomplishments to demonstrate how they are assets to the job you’re applying for. Employers won’t make that connection for you.

If your resume title doesn’t match the job title you’re applying for it can look like you’re applying for the wrong job — or you’re simply using one generic resume to apply to just any or every job. Don’t do that. Customize your resume for every job application. Start with the title.

Your email address

Sometimes you can tell a lot about a person by their email address. (And if that is the case, it is usually all bad.) For example, if your email address is TheHendersons@email.com or BobandSue@email.com, you look out of touch. Nobody should be using a shared or ‘family’ email address — especially not to be applying for jobs.

If your email address is at the domain of your current employer, then it appears as though you’re applying for jobs on your boss’s time. That’s not a good impression to make with your future boss.

We don’t even need to discuss what’s wrong with your StonerDude@email.com or CutiePie@email.com addresses. Email is free. Get an account that is just your name — or as close to your name as possible, and use if for applying to jobs.

If you have a common name and need to add a number to it to secure a distinct address, choose wisely. For example, using BillSmith1956@email.com could give the impression that you are 60 years old. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but you don’t want potential employers judging you by your age before they’ve even had the chance to look at your qualifications.

Physical address

Many employers have a bias for local candidates. If your residential address is in another city or province, they may be less inclined to consider you as a viable candidate. There could be added costs involved in bringing you in for an interview or relocation costs if you’re hired. There could be delays as to your availability if you have to move your family to a new city and set up residence before starting work. It just seems faster and cheaper to hire locally.

I once worked at a downtown office with a VP who wouldn’t even consider candidates from the suburbs. His reasoning was that sure they could commute, but would they want to stay late for a product launch? Would they pull an all-nighter with the rest of the team at crunch time? It wasn’t fair, but suburban candidates just didn’t suit his vision for the cool downtown team he wanted to build.

If you know you’re relocating to the new city for certain, consider getting a phone with the local area code in advance, so that you can use the local number on your resume. It’s not dishonest if it’s your actual phone number, and you won’t be asking the employer for travel/relocation costs.

Another strategy is to use the address and phone number of a local friend on your resume, and have them take messages for you when employers call. This is slightly less honest. However, the key to both of these solutions is making sure you’re available for interviews (or starting work) without added delay. You’re not necessarily trying to ‘trick’ the employer, you just don’t want to get ruled out for perceived inconveniences that won’t actually occur.

Some recruiters recommend remote candidates just list their email address as contact info. This can work, however some hiring managers say that they consider the lack of a physical address to be a red flag.

Look/layout

Since employers receive many more applications for most positions than they can possible consider in depth, let alone hire, their first reading of resumes is generally only between a five and ten second scan to determine which ones to reject outright and which to set aside for further review. (That’s why all the details at the top that I’ve just mentioned are so important.)

Finally, before even getting into the content of your resume, employers can be turned off on that initial scan by the formatting. If it isn’t easy to see at a glance where you have worked and when or what your recent job titles have been, employers may simply move on to the next, more reader-friendly, applicant in the pile.

Make sure your resume is all in the same font. Use short paragraphs and bullet points to make key accomplishments pop. List your work history in reverse chronological order starting with your most recent job. That’s among the very first things employers will be looking for.

Paying close attention to the file format, title, and contact details will go along way towards getting employers interested in reading the more important information about what you can actually do for them.

Peter Harris has served as chief editor @ Workopolis, Yahoo!, Sympatico, MSN & Monster.

Comments (0)

The Most Impressive Questions You Can Ask In A Job Interview

Posted on 09 June 2016 by admin

Jessica Glazer

An interview is a two way street. The company has a void that needs to be filled and the candidate is hoping to land a better career opportunity. In order to stand out the candidate must be asking thought-provoking questions that will not only assist in collecting valuable information but break the ice to distinguish them from all the other applicants.

By having prepared questions you show your interest in the company, the position and how you not only want to excel in the role but improve the company as a whole.

In order to get started there must be some guidelines:

Do not ask yes and no questions these are close ended questions that will not allow for further discussion but rather dead silence, an interview no-no.

Always look at person interviewing you. Do not stare but rather smile, nod, blink as really there is no need to be nervous. Worse comes to worse you don’t get the job. Best case scenario, you do and they offer you what you are seeking.

Now for the questions that will no doubt get you to stand out:

The career seems quite interesting I like that it incorporates a, b, c. I was wondering how has the position evolved since it has been created? This question allows you to engage in a conversation regarding the long and short term goals of the interview without actually asking time tale question “What are the long and short term goals for the person in the role?”

Aside for showing up on time, what are your expectations of someone in the role? 
Yes, state, aside for showing up! This adds a humour to the uncomfortable career date you are engaged in, while adding a thought provoking question. You want them to like your questions but more importantly they need to like you! Allow room for your personality to shine.

Research the company, find some facts and then ask: I see that a, b, c what in your opinion is the most exciting thing happening at the company right now? They may go into their social calendar, an acquisition, or information that isn’t disclosed on the website. This is giving you an upper hand to understand what is going on. It also gives them the “I like this person” feeling as they are revealing truths about the company to you…making you almost part of the company already.

I see on the site a, b, c or on the website xyz. com that your company is doing this…that’s pretty interesting. How did that happen? This question will change depending on the information you can gather on the company. There may be no website…which is possible…if that is the case, then that opens a door for further discussion regarding the company goals, priorities etc. As well, perhaps you know someone to refer them to who can help them. If you can find a way to help them you aren’t just saying the annoying “I am a team player” You are proving it!

Don’t forget to ask the right questions to the right people. You can gather information on the person interviewing you prior to the interview, if you see they are in HR do not ask them technical questions and if they just started, going into depth regarding their IPO won’t make sense either.

Where I am currently working we have a, b, c in place, how is something like that organized here? This allows you to understand the internal structure regarding the company. Where your place will be and how much decision making power you will or will not have without asking it abruptly and showing your adaptability.

Print out the job description and state, I see here we will be doing a, b, c…what will be my responsibilities for the next six to 12 months? How prepared did you just look right then and there with your job description?? You can lean into to the interviewer as well. You don’t want to get creepy close but getting closer bursts the tension and allows you into their bubble.

Learn about them: I see you have been here since x, what do you like most about working here? This personal touch means you actually don’t just care about the company but also the people in it. What keeps them there. Hopefully the person you are interviewing isn’t leaving if they are no sweat more room for you to grow.

The hardest part is ending an interview as once you leave those doors there may be no turning back so the last question is pivotal. If you have a lead for them that’s great as it gives you direct permission to access them again. An exchange of cards gives you access to their information as well but your last question should be as follows:

It was truly great meeting with you. If you have time, can I see the office?

They might be able to, they might not either way ask:

What are the next steps and when do you think I can expect to hear from you? If I don’t hear from you by a week from today, may I assume this is the last time I will see you again? *insert smile here You put it out there in a funny manner…you may not be the right person for the job but they may actually love you and at that point you will find out.

So when asked at the end of an interview “Do you have any questions?” there is no reason to state “No. I’m good” or “Not really” as even by asking just one more question you gain the opportunity to build a relationship. The longer you hold a genuine conversation the longer you have to make that lasting first impression.

Jessica Glazer is CEO who helps businesses find their golden needle in a haystack.Speaks on TV Radio& corporate events about employment related issues.

 

Comments (0)

Canada Suffering Nurse Shortage, Though Other Countries Have It Worse: Indeed.com

Posted on 02 June 2016 by admin

Canada is among many developed and developing countries facing a shortage of nurses, according to a survey released from job-indexing site Indeed.com earlier this month.

Jobs for registered nurses make up more than one per cent of all postings in Canada — a large portion given the hundreds of different positions employers hire for.
Job-search data from Indeed.com shows a nursing shortage in Canada, but it’s not as severe as in other countries, including the U.S. and U.K. (Chart: Indeed.com

The situation doesn’t seem as dire in Canada as it does in some other countries.

In the U.S., 8.4 per cent of all job postings indexed by Indeed.com are for nurses. Nursing jobs account for 3.4 per cent of all hiring ads in the U.K.

“The current supply of nursing talent is not keeping up with skyrocketing demand,”Indeed.com said on its blog. “We’ve all heard technology jobs are notoriously hard to fill — but in fact, in the U.S. today it’s actually harder to find nurses than software engineers.”

Indeed’s assessment lines up with recent data from Statistics Canada. Most of the jobs with the largest number of vacancies in Canada were low-paid, with a notable exception: Jobs for nurses and aides and orderlies.

The country could be short as many as 60,000 nurses by 2022, the Canadian Nurses Association estimates.


No guarantee of employment

An aging population across much of the world is behind growing demand for nurses, Indeed says.

“The average age of employed nurses is rising as well, from 42.7 in 2000 to 44.6 in 2010.”

But rising demand for nurses’ services isn’t necessarily a guarantee of a job. Nurses in Canada continue to face

Nurses leaving profession

Montreal is experiencing gridlock at its emergency rooms after the provincial government cut costs by integrating a number of hospitals and reducing staff, the Gazette reported earlier this month.

“Many staff, many nurses have exited the system,” a Montreal health care manager told the newspaper anonymously.

Nurses recently protested cutbacks to front-line nursing staff at some Ontario hospitals as well.

“We’re hearing horror stories in communities where these cuts are occurring,” Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said earlier this month. She added that nurses are under an “epic” level of stress.

But Health Minister Eric Hoskins reaffirms the overall number of nurses in Ontario has grown by about 8,000 over the past four or five years. “We’re employing many new nurses,” he said.

Better work conditions, please

The stress that comes with a nursing job is among the things holding people back from choosing the profession, Indeed says.

“When hospitals have insufficient staff, nurses are overworked, stressed out and more likely to be dissatisfied with their jobs. As a result, patient care can suffer,” the report says.

“It can also be emotionally taxing, and the hours are often long and irregular — with the result that healthcare employers often struggle to fill roles.”

Among Indeed’s recommendations to attract more people to the career: “Better compensation, greater professional autonomy, stronger management and training programs, and more flexibility in location and scheduling.”

Comments (0)

Advertise Here
Advertise Here