Archive for December, 2011

How To Turn Facebook Into A Virtual Resume

Facebook has changed it up again; Facebook Timeline has been launched and the response has been well received. It’s an entirely new way to look at social media profiles and the change works in your favour. For the first time you can go back and edit your past activity on Facebook by adding life events and status updates. This means you can go back to your birth and recreate your life on social media, filling in the gaps for your friends.

This is incredibly beneficial for job seekers. There are over 800 million active people on Facebook and one of your friends may be the connection to your next job lead. Are you ready? Besides posting that you are looking for work in your status updates, you can make the most of Facebook’s current functionality by making these updates to your profile.

Edit Your About Page

There are many different boxes on your About page. Focus on updating the following:

Work & Education: Add your work experience and use the Add a Project link to describe different areas of your job. This works great for people who have eclectic job descriptions with multiple roles or those who have moved up the ladder in different positions at the same company. This is also great for the self-employed person who wants to show multiple projects and their timelines. Unlike a resume that needs to be targeted to a specific job, your Facebook About page can list all of your work and volunteer experience. This creates a complete picture for those perusing your background. Although you can list everything, try to be clear about what you accomplished through each experience. You only have about 80 characters in your description before it is cut off with the Read More link so be concise and say the most important statement first, also keep it in first person. Add your education, classes, and training and who you took them with. You can also add a description of your honours and accomplishments through each training.

About You: This is a great place to add a short bio on who you are and what you are all about. If you are currently seeking employment you can mention what type of work you are looking for and how you will benefit the companies that hire you.

Contact Information: Add links to your relevant contact information such as email, website, blog, LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube, Facebook page, and anywhere else you would like them to find out more about you. Put the most important links first.

Basic Info: No one wants to be discriminated against because of their sex, age, sexual orientation, marital status, place of origin, ancestry, place of origin, religion, political views, family status, physical or mental disability. These are basic human rights that employers may use to disqualify you for a job. You should consider censoring this information in your Basic Info and Timeline by not listing it or adjusting your privacy settings.

Edit your Timeline

Remove Content: Start by removing questionable content, including status updates, notes, photos, groups, apps, and pages that could paint a poor picture of who you are to a prospective employer.  Although you had a lot of fun at that party, content about how hungover you were the next day are not going to help you find a job.

Add Life Events: Start building your timeline by adding in your life events that you want to share. Currently Facebook includes options to add: work & education, family & relationships, home & living, health & wellness, and travel & experience. You can add photos to each life event and a short story to complement it.

Add Status Updates: You’ve always been able to delete status updates, but now you can add status updates. This is extremely useful for painting a picture of your important life moments and accomplishments before Facebook.

Edit Privacy Settings: Edit your privacy settings to limit who can view your more personal information. Remember to do this for your status updates as well as your Timeline life events.

Facebook’s new functionality has made it easier than ever for job seekers to put together their best social media profile. Visit help pages for tutorials on how to do these tasks or leave a comment below with any questions.

This article was written by Miranda Vande Kuyt a self-employed career development practitioner and communications consultant.

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6 Ways To Face Networking Fears

Networking is a four-letter word for many job seekers. Just the thought of going into a room full of complete strangers sends them running to the streets while pulling their hair out. It can be stressful but it doesn’t have to be. Below are some helpful tips to ease some of the fears around networking.

1. Web it up!

This is a great exercise because it allows job seekers to make themselves the centre of attention and expand outward. They simply place their name in the middle of the page and start writing the names of people they know that can help them in their job search. The key to this is for them to contact at least three people on the list, set up a time to discuss job search and career goals, as well as ask for referrals. Networking in this manner should always be followed up with a thank you note.

2. Social Media

In the era of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn it is essential that job seekers take advantage of these valuable networking resources. The best thing about them is that all the work can be done from the comforts of home. These sites allow job seekers to follow organizations they are interested in and join discussion groups to share their expertise while creating a name for themselves.

3. Volunteer

For a beginner, volunteering is a great way to build up contacts and get some excellent work experience. It’s a natural way to network because the focus is performing the tasks that need to be done and not stressing on the meeting people. Volunteer work can lead to reference letters, and possibly a job.

4. Talk to Yourself!

Huh? How does talking to ones self help networking? Think to Allen Iverson’s post practice press conference “Practice? You talkin’ bout practice?” Yup!

The only way to get better at something is to practice. Sitting down and writing out an elevator speech should be accompanied by standing in front of a mirror and belting it out. Over, and over, and over again. Eventually speaking in public won’t be a big deal.

5. Join a Networking Group

Why would anyone want to join a networking group when they are afraid of networking? Because, it’s one of the best ways to get over the fear of networking. Doing something in a supportive atmosphere will calm the networking phobic. Yes, it’s intimidating. Yes, it’s difficult. But if they push through, it will get easier. A great organization to think about becoming active in is Toastmaster’s. They lead and guide their participants by providing opportunities to nail down those public speaking, presentation, communication, and networking skills. Check out the Toastmaster’s website at http://www.toastmasters.org for more details.

6. What is the purpose?

Before going to the event, the job seeker should know why they are going. Are they seeking information regarding a certain career? Are they going to apply for jobs? Are they going to face their networking fears? By knowing ahead of time what their purpose is, they’ll be able to remain focused and not dwell on any fears they are experiencing.

Networking is a challenge. There is no denying that. Even the most confident, seasoned networkers get the jitters. The key thing to remember when walking into a room full of strangers is that others are experiencing fear as well. Fear is a natural response. When used for good it can produce some amazing results, especially when it comes to networking. One last tip: have fun!

For more tips on networking visit our website at http://www.myerc.ca/content/Job%20Seekers/Networking.asp

This article was written by career development practitioner Brandon Gorin.

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The Stability Seeker

“How much does that job pay?”

“Are there jobs in this field?”

“Will this career continue to have jobs in the future?”

These are the typical questions I hear as a career counsellor. For all of these questions I tell my clients where they can go to look up this information. For many who visit a career counsellor their motivation is to get help finding a career that will suit them.  However, a question that is more difficult to research is whether or not they will like their chosen career.

Yet, there is also a segment of our clientele that doesn’t care about whether or not they will like their chosen career, rather their concern is whether or not the career they have chosen is stable enough. These clients are what I like to call the “Stability Seekers”. On the surface they may seem like a career counsellor’s dream client. These are the clients that come asking the easy questions. “What is the starting wage?” “What does the typical career path for this career look like?” “Are there more jobs than job seekers in this industry?” These questions can usually be answered through the client’s labour market research and through informational interviews.

The information that cannot be found so easily for the stability seeker is how much they are willing to let stability trump passion. It’s a question that all job seekers and career explorers ask themselves. The question becomes especially important when stability is the most important deciding factor for the decision maker.

It’s important for the stability seeker to realize that passion for one’s work is not just about feeling good and being happy. Those things are important but let’s put them aside for the moment. What are the chances that a person can really excel at their job and in their career if they don’t enjoy what they do? If the job bores them, or if they don’t see the point in what they do—how successful will they really be at it? For instance, life long learning is becoming an expectation of workers in today’s workforce. For those who enjoy their career, enhancing their knowledge base and skill set comes with ease. However, if someone doesn’t enjoy their career, being asked to keep up-to-date on new software or business practices feels like a chore rather than an opportunity.

It’s harder to be innovative and grab that promotion when one doesn’t really find their job that interesting or important. Money is a powerful motivator but if they don’t really care about their career or company, it’s very difficult to fake the creativity and leadership that comes from a passion for one’s work. If one never demonstrates these traits, getting to the next level in their career can be a real challenge. The issue of competition is also important to consider. Regardless, of how good an actor one is, someone with real interest in their chosen career is going to out shine them in any interview. It’s possible to say all the right things, but the job seeker who really is passionate about a career will likely make a better impression. The reason being, the competitor has the advantage over them, they don’t have to pretend.

The stability seeker’s safest option is to become a passion seeker. This is not to say that the stability seeker needs to give up on making a choice that they feel is highly stable. As a career counsellor I encourage career explorers to investigate the labour market information on the careers they are interested in to see what risks and benefits are involved in any decision that they make. Ironically, when stability seekers ignore all the aspects of a career that make it enjoyable or interesting and only focus on stability, they lose out on the safety and security that they are seeking.

This article was written by Mike Bourke, a career/employment counsellor with Pacific Community Resources Society.

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7 Ways Employers Are Addressing Workplace Health

What does workplace health mean? A healthy workplace focuses on healthy lifestyles, occupational health and safety, and organized culture. This is an environment where you, the individual employee, and the organization share a responsibility for improving your health and work/life balance. The whole notion of workplace health and wellbeing has evolved tremendously over the last few years. Employers are noticing major results from providing a healthy workplace for their employees, including improved staff morale and increased productivity. This ultimately leads to increased profitability and long-term success for the company and their employees.Wondering how this might apply to you as a job seeker? You will want to consider if a prospective employer provides some form of workplace health. Here are a few of the ways employers are implementing healthier workplaces for their employees:

1.  Lunch and Coffee Breaks – Most employers are making sure that employees take proper breaks throughout the workday. Some employers have extended lunch breaks to be an hour long, and have provided lunch rooms that are relaxing by adding couches and other items such as televisions and even table tennis games.
2.  Employee Recognition – There are many different ways an employer can show recognition to their staff members. Some ways are providing a free lunch day or giving out gift certificates.
3.  Staff training – Many employers are looking now within their own companies, before posting job openings externally. They are willing to help pay for the training needed for staff to move into a new role.
4.  Staff Interaction – This can range from the Managers/CEO’s coming down and taking the time to talk with employees on areas not related to work, i.e. last nights hockey game, or what the employee is doing outside of work. Also many employers are encouraging staff to take a few minutes and engage in “on the floor” chat. No longer is it frowned on to stop and talk with your co-worker about their weekend.
5.  Exercise Programs – This can lead to an employer building a gym at the work place, providing gym memberships, or getting the staff to organize a walking club.
6.  Childcare – Many employers are opening up childcare facilities at the work place. Here employees can pop in and check on how their children are doing through out the day.
7.  Personal Days – Employers have realized that at times things come up in an employee’s life, which need to be taken care of during the workday. Now, instead of the employee using a sick or vacation day, they can use a personal day.

Now when you are out there researching potential employers you’d like to work for, make sure to also research on what each company has in place to increase workplace health among it’s employees.

This article was written by Tanya Foulds. It was originally written for the BC Workinfonet Youth Site and it is reposted here with permission.

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