Archive for November, 2011

Thank-You For The Interview

Intending to refresh my memory about the fine art of writing a follow up/thank you note after an interview, I found myself reading about harsh realities of job searching instead. So I have decided to incorporate the two topics, as I believe they go hand-in-hand and hopefully provide a better understanding of the competitive edge you may have if you consider a follow up or thank you note.

In Cynthia Shapiro’s book, “44 Insider Secrets that Will Get You Hired,”(2008) though it is American, it is still a useful reminder, or for some, a wake up call regarding some unfavourable job search realities. Learning to write a thank you note may be an important ray of hope and can be an effective part of your job search.   Read more…

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Survival Job To Thriving Career

The job market is tight and it is tough enough to get an interview, let alone to get past the interview process.  All the other applicants have similar education and qualifications and you just don’t stand out.  Employers are asking for experience that you can’t get when you aren’t working, and although you have some education and/or related experience, it doesn’t seem to be enough to capture their interest.

Money is running low, time is running out, and it’s time to get a survival job: a job to pay the bills while you keep looking for a job that is in your career field.  That’s all a Survival Job is for, isn’t it?

Actually, with a little research and planning, even a survival job can boost your resume, enhance necessary skills, and make you more employable in your field!  Investigate your field and find out which skills are in high demand.  This can be done through researching the National Occupation Classification, doing informational interviews and even by requesting feedback from interviewers who did not hire you.  While you learn theories and gain basic skills in school, first hand knowledge and application based skills are going to make you stand out from other applicants.

Would “A thorough understanding of factors that affect consumer buying decisions at the point of sale in the …industry” or “Comprehensive knowledge of seasonal buying patterns of … industry customers in the local region” make you a better purchaser, product designer, business executive or advertiser?  How about “A proven ability to capture customer attention through creative product displays, coupled with the strategic use of colour and lighting”?  If these are skills that you have found employers are looking for in your field, you might want to consider looking at retail positions that are directly related to your industry.

Someone who “Views all feedback, including rejection, as an opportunity to learn, and actively develop new techniques and approaches that result in increased positive outcomes from employee/client and employee/employee interactions” would certainly be useful on a Sales, Human Resources, Management, or Promotional team, and would perform well in most positions.  If you want to develop this skill, a job doing door-to-door, telephone, or other direct sales might just be for you.

Employers in most fields are looking for someone who is “Skilled at calmly and effectively handling rapidly changing priorities in high pressure situations while maintaining clear, professional communication with both colleagues and clients” or has “Successfully demonstrated ability to obtain and retain product information in order to assist customers with needs determination and product selection”?  Both of these skills can be highly developed as a waiter/waitress and in other customer service industries.

These are just a few examples of how a Survival Job might enhance your employability in your desired field.  Of course, simply doing the job won’t give you the required skills.  You have to be focused at developing your skills; by learning from, or even outperforming others who have chosen that job as a career.  In addition to developing and demonstrating certain skills, performing well can result in advancement opportunities within a company or organization, and provide you with an excellent reference for future job searches.

In other words, you could go from surviving to thriving, with a little research, smart planning and the passion to excel at all aspects of your career.  Remember, today is the day we use to create our tomorrow.  Where do you want to be tomorrow, and what can you do today to get there?

This article was written by Michael Thompson, a Career Development Practitioner at Pacific Community Resources Society.

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Katimavik: Journey From Childhood To Adulthood

Katimavik: the program that changed my life. Sounds like a cliché, I know; perhaps more accurately, it was the catalyst that transformed me from a teen living at home to an independent contributor to various Canadian communities. Nine months of living, working and playing across the country with 17-21 year old aspiring young adults will do that to you. After applying online, some paperwork, and a medical exam, I left my friends and a loving partner to begin an unforgettable adventure.

I would have never known my country as I do now, as a Katimavik alumnus. The first three months was spent in Bas-Caraquet, a French-speaking, one-road village of 1700 people with a breath-taking beach. I worked in the Parish Archives, digitizing their hand written system of tracking their ancestors and lost loved ones. I spent Christmas there with my group. The next three months we were in Estevan, Saskatchewan where I served as a Teacher’s Aide at an elementary school. My final three months was in St. Catharines, Ontario where I assisted and interacted with young teen mothers and persons with Alzheimer’s disease.

Though I only visited three small towns, I also spent a week in Regina, and a few days in Toronto. I snowboarded with grade 7’s near Brandon, Manitoba. I made a toast to good health and ate chicken strips on St. Patrick’s Day in Winnipeg. I gazed upon the silhouette of PEI from across the Baie de Chaleur, and I escaped for a weekend in Montreal.

Katimavik was not easy. I organized, cooked, cleaned and ran a group household every few weeks. I deeply missed my friends and loved ones back home. Still, I wouldn’t appreciate them as much, nor value my relationships and my beautiful home city of Vancouver, if Katimavik did not happen. If you are ready to travel, learn a second language, and make a difference in communities across Canada, go to http://www.katimavik.org. The experience looks good on a resume, but the friends and memories may be treasured forever.

This article was submitted by career development practitioner Andrew Lim. It was originally written for the BC Workinfonet Youth Site and is reposted here with permission.

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