Category Archives: Job Search

Job Search Success – Focus & Discipline

Looking for a new job can be overwhelming and it seems that a lot of people are doing a lot of exploring right now.   I see an article every day about “the great resignation”.  I don’t believe for a minute that everyone is looking for something new. 

Sure, there are people who banked a lot of money over the last 18 months.  No travel, no commuting expenses, no gym membership, no frosted highlights.  If all that cash went into savings, then there is a group of people who have a newly found cushion.  They can afford to use their f*&k you money to do just that – quit without a new job to go to.

Most people are not in that position but they are frustrated enough with their return to work/company/boss/pay situation to want to find something better.

Looking for a job when you have a job is one of the hardest things to do.  It takes focus and discipline.  Those things are not always available in abundance when you are juggling the rest of your life.

Focus – it is easy to go down the rabbit hole when you start reading job postings on LinkedIn.  45 minutes later you have imagined yourself as an aquanaut, a flavor developer for Pringles and dozen other things for which you are not even remotely qualified.

Decide on the three most important things your new job should have.  Write them down.  Use them to set up filters so you see only relevant jobs.  That keeps things a little more efficient.

Discipline – block time in your calendar to work on your job search.  Looking at postings on Sunday night when you are dreading Monday morning is not the best frame of mind. 

Try blocking a couple of lunch time sessions and an evening.  Try for three times a week, just like going to the gym.  Plan your sessions.  You want to apply for posted roles but that should only be 20-30% of your time. You also want to spend time reconnecting with former colleagues and people you know from volunteering.  Also, consider your current colleagues.  Take a few into your confidence that you are starting to think about something new.  You never know who will make the key suggestion or introduction that will get you into the best job of your life.

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Filed under Uncategorized, Interview, career change, Job Search, Networking

Giving Notice the Right Way

You are beside yourself with glee.  You have just accepted a fantastic new job.  It checks all the boxes: people, scope, location and money.  Yippee!

What to do next?

It is important to plan your next steps with care and respect.  Leaving a job nicely is a pretty big part of managing your career and your reputation.

Think about how much notice you need to provide to your current employer.  Check your employment agreement.  Many stipulate two or three weeks.  You may think you are being magnanimous by offering four weeks but in most cases, it is not necessary.

Then, write a letter of resignation.  Make it formal but friendly.  Thank your manager for providing such a great opportunity to learn and grow.  Lay out the details of your last day and offer to do anything they need for a smooth transition.

Be prepared for anything and everything when you sit down and hand over the letter.  Managers do not like it when someone resigns.  It catches them by surprise and then they look bad to their bosses.  That’s where counter offers come in to play.

When faced with an unplanned gap in the team, suddenly there is more money to give you.  Maybe they really were thinking of promoting you but the fact is, they didn’t and you have chosen to go somewhere else.

Be firm and resolute.  Think about (but don’t share) all the reasons you are going to a new and better place.

Once the initial shock wears off, they will figure out who will take over your tasks and life will go on.  That’s why a couple of weeks is almost always fine. It’s not like you can get involved in long term planning.  You also get left out of a lot of conversations that might be proprietary.  No one wants to feel like their secrets might be walking out the door.

So you go.  Your colleagues and managers will wish you well and hopefully, some of them will buy you a beer and some nachos and wish you the best.

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Filed under career change, Interview, Job Search

Can I Bring my Dog?

So you sent in your resume and now you have an interview next Thursday.  Now what?  Don’t just pace and eat chocolate – get constructive.

  1. Get a haircut.  Don’t wait until the day before – those funny tan lines will give it away.
  2. Research, research, research.  Not just on the company website but newspapers, trade websites, LinkedIn – the whole nine yards.  Find out what’s been happening there lately – awards, new projects, new executives.
  3. Lay out your clothes to make sure you have everything you need including shoes and socks that are clean and neat (even on video, this is important).
  4. If you are meeting in person, think about what you will need to bring with you and what you want to put it in.  You can go with a briefcase, folio or satchel.  I would avoid a huge purse or backpack – too distracting.  It looks like you are sleeping over, not just there for a meeting.
  5. Print several copies of your resume on nice paper. Gather any reference letters, articles, awards and make copies of them, too.  When you offer a copy of your resume to the interviewer, you can also offer some of the other material.  It makes you look organized and accomplished. If it’s a video meeting, you can have them ready to share on your screen. You will really look like a star then.
  6. You might want to have a nice pen with you too.  It adds an extra bit of polish when you whip it out to make notes.

I hate to point out the obvious but don’t bring:

  • Your dog
  • Your Timmie’s medium double double (even if it’s still warm)
  • Anything that rings, beeps or buzzes

Remember that an interview is just a conversation about a potential shared future. Take a deep breath and enjoy it.

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Filed under Interview, Job Search, linkedin, Resume, Uncategorized

How to Work with Recruiters during a Pandemic

During the first part of the pandemic, there were two types of people – those who were directly impacted by restrictions and lockdowns and were definitely in need of a new job. Then there were others who were holding on to their jobs for dear life amidst the change to virtual or the physical changes in their workplaces.

Now, a year and half later, the lines are not so clear. There are still people who need a new job right now but there are a bunch of other groups too. People who are fed up with their managers or are not ready to go back to the office. People who are still balancing childcare and work in a messy swirl. People who are rethinking their relationship to work and what it should look like.

Couple this with the number of jobs that are open right now and you have a challenging time for us in the recruitment world. Lots of jobs and lots of candidates but very hard to get a match.

When you are working with a recruiter, there some things to keep in mind.

Be clear on your objectives. What kind of change are you looking for? Location, bigger team, new product, more innovative – any of these are valid. If you are not sure what would be better, you might want to think on it or talk with friends outside work before starting down the interview path. You probably don’t have time to spend going in the wrong direction.

As an example, finding out the the salary is 30% less than your minimum after four interviews is heart breaking and a big waste of time and energy.

Make sure you feel comfortable with the recruiter. They are representing you in the marketplace. Will they tell your story correctly? Will they advocate in the right manner and respect your priorities?

Share what you can about your current situation. What things are you juggling in your life? How much time do you have to commit to the search? What kind of flexibility to do you have?

All of these factors affect how a search will play out whether you are a candidate or a hiring manger (or both!)

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Filed under career change, Interview, Job Search, recruiter

Dreaming of Something New?

News sites are full of stories about people quitting their jobs. It seems that as they come out of the pandemic and reflect on the not just the last 16 months but also the next 16 months, they are reevaluating their priorities.

We have been following several families who live on boats fulltime (see them here and here). https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZdQjaSoLjIzFnWsDQOv4ww/videos. They sail around the world taking videos of themselves and their surroundings. With revenue from Google, sponsors and patrons, we figure they are making more than enough money to keep themselves and their boats happy and comfortable.

There is the wanna-be author who decided to sell everything and move to a small town in a remote area. She works at a shop in town and is focused on writing her best seller.

I know a couple who moved out of the city when their jobs went remote. Now that their employers want them back in the office, they are working on finding roles that will always be remote. There is too much to like in their new commute-less lifestyle.

Think about all the people who turned to baking or meal making for comfort in the early pandemic days. First, it was just for their families, but then they started offering, trading or selling those loaves and casseroles to friends and neighbours. Now they have a legit side gig that could turn into a very satisfying living.

And finally, there is the group of people who had pushed their retirement out by a few years. Many of them are deciding that maybe retiring now would be a good idea. The Zoom era was just too exhausting.

This all adds up to challenge and opportunity. Challenge if you find yourself short handed but so much opportunity to explore new ways to spend your days. Take some time to consider what you are doingeveryday. Maybe you have some great options — you just need to look up.

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Not Everyone is on Vacation – The Summer Job Search

It is summer and the market is hopping!

It seems that the summer job market slowdown is a total myth. I have been talking with candidates who have multiple opportunities on the go.  And it’s not just in one vertical – engineering, product development, organizational development and the whole gambit.

If you have been putting off looking for something new because you believe everyone is on vacation, you can keep using that as an excuse, but be aware, it’s really just a way to procrastinate

If you really want to find a new position, do not start by looking at LinkedIn jobs.  That’s right.  Do not start there.

Start with your resume.  Get it up to date with your title, responsibilities, achievements, courses and volunteer stuff. Make it interesting and dynamic. Triple check for spelling, grammar and acronyms.

Then reach out to your references and tell them you might need them in the future.

(This gives you instant allies and a super positive network to draw on for support.

Once those things are done, then you can sit down with the LinkedIn Jobs app and see what’s going on.  Don’t use just LinkedIn.  Check out other job sites, your professional association website, local neighbourhood resources and social media. You’d might be surprised at the jobs posted on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Apply directly or network through a friend.  Many companies have referral programs that pay $1000 or more for a referred employee who “sticks”.

Find your resume and get the ball rolling.  You could still have a new job for Labour Day.

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Filed under career change, Interview, Job Search, linkedin, Networking, Resume, social media

The Best Time to Find a Great Job is when you have a Great Job

I had an interesting situation this week.  One of my candidates, who has been on a long and successful interview journey, ended up with several offers in his inbox.

He was really stressed.  He said he could not understand how this happened.  He was not even looking.  He really likes his job and his team. 

How did this happen?

First of all, he is an interesting and curious person.  When I told him about my client and what they needed to do, he thought it made sense to explore the opportunity.  He felt that it would allow him to build up his skills in a new area.

The first two interviews went really well.  He and a couple of senior managers had wide ranging conversations and he felt really good about it.

Guess what?  After that second interview, he was walking around with just a bit more confidence.  He had third party validation that he was doing some really good work in a really good way. 

It’s not as noticeable as a haircut or new glasses but that kind of confidence shows.

Seemingly out of the blue, he got a couple of networking requests and coffee invitations.  Those led to more casual conversations. Casual, because he had moved beyond “interview panic prep” mode and into “this is just a business meeting” mode.

On top of that, his boss started to let him know about some longer term projects that he would be leading. 

To be clear:  he was not a disgruntled employee complaining about things at work.  No one was trying to placate him or keep him in order to get though the busy cycle.

I suggested that he look at multiple offers as a positive thing not a stressful thing.  It’s a positive measure of how he is successfully navigating his path through the industry.

After weighing the teams, the work, the manager and the future possibilities, he made a solid choice.  I think he is going to be very happy. 

So, get off the merry-go-round of your job and take a look around.  Because looking when you are not looking may the best time to look.

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Filed under career change, Interview, Job Search, Networking

Summer Hiring is Brisk

Now that the worst of the pandemic seems to be behind us and patios are open, the temptations are everywhere.

  • One Dilly bar or two
  • Patio or office
  • Golf course or sales calls
  • Comfy shirt or pressed blouse
  • Resume or romance novel

Don’t get sucked into thinking that hiring stops for the summer.  It doesn’t. Sure it might take longer if decision makers are on vacation but the hiring process carries on. Especially in this brisk economy.

In fact, networking can be even more powerful now. When you call someone and invite them for lunch, they are more likely to be free and willing to get out of their home office to meet on a patio or go for a walk.

Meeting folks while at the cottage or on a stay-cation is pretty easy too. The last time I went to a resort in cottage country, I made it my goal to meet one new person each day. I came home with three new connections and a business lead. Awesome.

You can also do some surfing to find industry events and conferences taking place in the fall. Beat the rush and get approval now. You will look pretty motivated and forward thinking in the process.

But most of all, pay attention. Check out postings and take calls from recruiters. At the very least, you will know what’s going on in the marketplace.

You might find that  LinkedIn and  Prosecco make a great pair. But only one….. Drunk job applications are about as effective as drunk dialing – no way to start a relationship.

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Filed under career change, Interview, Job Search, linkedin, Networking

Smooth Out Your Resume

I read resumes for a living.  I read other stuff too but resumes are the main focus during the day (and sometimes evenings, much to my husband’s consternation).

It never gets boring, Each resume, like each person, is interesting and unique. People take different paths to the same role, have different educational chapters and insert more or less of themselves in their resume.

BUT

  • Spelling mistakes
  • Fonts with curly cues
  • Indented boxes and sidebars that get mangled by my software
  • Leaving out dates or titles
  • Not describing the scope and scale of an employer
  • Squishing in too much information by using narrow margins and 8 pt letters
  • 20 bullets for one role and only three for the others
  • Acronyms that are not widely understood

These are all things that take away from the positive impression that your resume is supposed to provide. It’s as if you are strolling along and you suddenly trip on the rug.  Once you recover, it can be hard to remember what you thinking about before.

So before you send me your resume, have someone read it for you.  Ask them if it’s smooth.  They make look at you funny but it will give them a constructive perspective which should generate good, usable feedback.

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Filed under career change, Job Search, Resume

Spring Cleaning for your Resume

Pandemic or not, the warm breezes of spring will arrive over the next few weeks and if you are like me, you will spend some time working on projects around the house.  Maybe switching your clothes around.  Moving the golf shirts and flower printed yoga pants to the front and shoving all the black yoga pants into a box in the garage .  Maybe cleaning up the back yard.  Those are the kinds of things we like to do in spring.

It is not just your home that should be sorted and updated.  Your resume should be refreshed too.

It may not be as important as your changing the batteries in your smoke detector, but in terms of your career, it should be right up near the top of the list.

Here are the things to consider:

Has your title changed?shirt

Has the scope of your role  changed?

Did you take any courses or workshops over the winter?

How about any special projects?

Any new volunteer committees or fund raising initiatives?

Once your resume is refreshed make sure it is stored in a place that’s easily retrievable, like Dropbox.   Once that’s done, you might want to apply the same logic to your LinkedIn profile.  Make sure it is a really good reflection of where you are and what you are doing.

And if you have a few minutes at work, find all those emails that say “thank you” and “you’re a star”.  Email them to your personal account and then print them and take them home.  You just never know when you are going to need a little pick-me-up or evidence of your great work.

So put on your favourite spring shirt and get to it!

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Filed under career change, Job Search, linkedin, Resume, social media, Uncategorized