Archive for November, 2012
It felt like -40° C outside in the middle of January. I had just moved to Edmonton, left my job, my colleagues, and everything familiar behind. I was now a stay-at-home mom and had no way to stay current in my field, or so I thought. With the dawn of social media a new way to stay in the know was emerging: webinars. I was a little nervous at first, but I thought I would give it a try. After my first webinar I was hooked. I didn’t feel alone in some snow buried wasteland—I felt like I was attending a face-to-face workshop and connecting with real people.
A webinar is a training session that takes place through the internet. People that register for a particular webinar are sent a special link and login instructions for them to access a guided presentation by experts in the topic of choice at a designated time. It requires a computer, internet access, and speakers or telephone connection. From my first webinar encounter I realized how easy it was going to be for me to meet some of my learning goals–and I didn’t have to leave my house! I made a list of topics I wanted to learn more about and then I went on the search for webinars that addressed those needs. I searched Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook for companies and professionals that offered them. With each webinar I took I learned about other companies that offered them and new topics I wanted to learn.
Some benefits of webinars are that I never have to go outside in Edmonton in January! Many of them are free or offered at low cost. A great number of them will send a recording of the webinar so those who can’t attend live can listen to it on their own when they have time. During each webinar I learned at least one standout idea that I could apply to my life and career immediately. Many webinar topics I could have learned from reading an article series or book, but I learn well from hearing someone explain it out loud, and it was a great change from the usual. I’m also quite extraverted and find I draw a lot of energy from webinar hosts and attendees. When they are excited about the topic I get excited to learn about it.
Webinars helped me meet my learning goals—maybe they will work for you too!
As children we are praised for the smallest achievement. Every new sound, movement, or trip to the potty, we are met with a round of applause and affection. We are taught that it is important to achieve our goals, to succeed, and progress. Yet as we grow into a young adult, there is a huge shift in attitudes. As teenagers we fight to do what we want, disregarding our parents and their praise, having this encouraged confidence to believe that we know what is right. As we grow into young adults this confidence decays as we make mistakes, take a tumble and realize that maybe we don’t have all the right answers. Then as we try to become responsible adults, progressing into the world of employment, the concept of confidence and over achieving becomes daunting.
We live in a culture where we are taught not to brag, where having a big ego is just flat out un-attractive. But what most people forget is that when it comes to applying for jobs — confidence is key. Selling yourself to an employer is a vital part of securing a job. Salesmen are usually met with disdained attitudes, as they try to sell us something we don’t want or need. Yet, their tactics and confidence should be admired and utilized. For an employer to believe that you are capable of doing the job, you have to show them that you have what it takes. You have to believe in yourself and your ability to sell yourself to the employer.
Most of us are aware that before we even get to the interview stage where we meet an employer, first we have to go through several filters. The predominant amount of job applications go through the internet. Finding the position and applying using your resume and cover letter. Never under any circumstances, under estimate the power of a cover letter. Your resume lists your skills, experience and what you can do, but your cover letter should be used as a device to sell yourself. Enhance the experience listed on your resume whilst incorporating the key phrases used on the job description. It’s important to use emotive language like “extensive” and “excellent” to embellish your qualifications. Don’t be scared to put yourself out there and remember that honesty is the best policy. If you confidently present your strengths it can put you apart from the competition. And even if you aren’t successful in securing the job, at least you know that you have given it your all. It’s important to remember that the employer needs you, and use that knowledge to boost your esteem. Go back to the early days of your childhood, grasp at that feeling of confidence in achievement and you will reach your employment goal. As Christopher Columbus once said “You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to loose sight of the shore”. So grab that boat of confidence and sail.
Ashley Bentley is an employment advisor for Open Door group in Vancouver, British Columbia. Whilst supporting clients reach their employment goals, Ashley is also an active part of the community. She has volunteered for several women’s organization and taken part in fundraising activities for the Scotia Bank Aids walk. Ashley enjoys swimming, attending theatre and music performances and has an avid love for cheese.
I’ve heard of crazy ways to apply for a job. A friend of mine in college wrote his entire resume in crayon… I recently read this great article by the CEO of Hootsuite about the creative ways people try to get an edge on the competition from sending cakes to YouTube videos. The article was jammed packed with ideas on how to research employers, know what they stand for, and then how to demonstrate that you’ve got what it takes. What creative ways can you show that you’re the one your next employer is looking for?
Parents often take a big sigh of relief after their child graduates from high school, and then frustration grows when winter rolls around and their child is still sitting on the couch and hasn’t taken that leap into the work force. There are a number of ways youth can explore where they fit in the workforce and one of the main resources across British Columbia is WorkBC. WorkBC is a one stop shop website that also has resource centers across the province set up to help people find their place in the workforce. From walking in the door, there is a resource room equipped with knowledgeable staff, computers, and job boards, as well as pre-employment workshops geared to give people the tools and confidence need to take the next step in their journey to work.
WorkBC is equipped with knowledgeable staff that can offer one on one support. A Case Manager is always ready to share with visitors the many government funded programs and resources available to help them find work. One of the most popular programs with youth are the paid employment programs available across the province. These programs are available to those between the ages of 15 and 30 and target different career fields. For example, there are programs geared for those who identify themselves as English as a Second Language, those who want to explore different trades and gain a forklift ticket, and those interested in customer service and hospitality who would benefit from obtaining certificates such a: World Host, Serving It Right, and Food Safe. A Case Manager will guide interested youth to the one that is the best fit for them.
Another affective way for a young person to gain experience in the work force is to look at the opportunities that may be available from their own network. This means looking at what the role models in their life do and asking themselves if they would be interested in that type of work? If so there may be an opportunity to set up a work experience placement; an unpaid experience which gives the young person exposure to a particular professional working environment so they can decide if they would like to pursue that line of work. Throughout this they have an opportunity to network among the working personnel and put themselves forward for forthcoming opportunities for paid work. Often following the completion of the work experience placement, comes with a letter of reference which is beneficial to add to ones resume.
Lastly, it is important to never under estimate the power of volunteering. Often a volunteer job can turn into paid employment, but ultimately it will provide the youth with exposure to a field of their interest. A Case Manager at WorkBC can help link a youth to a volunteer opportunity.
This article was written by Carolynn Jones, a Case Manager with WorkBC. You can contact her through LinkedIn at ca.linkedin.com/pub/carolynn-jones/32/56/a78.