Archive for category Get Ready

LinkedIn Overload: Quality vs. Quantity

full mailboxI’ve done some reading about effective LinkedIn profiles.  Ok, maybe that’s an understatement – I’ve done a lot of studying about effective LinkedIn profiles and usage.  One thing I read a while back was to make sure you have at least 500 connections, because if you have under 500 connections everyone can see the size of your network, but if you have over 500 connections LinkedIn just states your network size as “500+”.   After reading that I sent out more invitations to connections that I met through conferences, associations, education, etc.  Then I started to get invitations from people I didn’t know.  Not just 1 or 2 here and there, I mean – I started to get 10+ invitations a day from people I didn’t know.  Somehow my email address was put on an open networking list (LION) and the invitations just coming.  Within a short period I had reached the 500+ mark, but it wasn’t what I hoped it would be.  My news feed and inbox were flooded with information that held no value to me.  I started to ignore invitations and pretty soon I had over 50 invitations in my inbox that I didn’t know what to do with. I had to ask myself, “Should I have sacrificed quality for quantity?”

Here’s my recommendation to those who are struggling with the same question.  If you’re all about the numbers, then go ahead and connect with whomever sends you an invite, but hear this warning: LinkedIn may lose its effectiveness if you do so, and it will be more work for you to sift through the valuable invitations from the worthless ones.  You may be better off to send and accept LinkedIn invitations for people that meet a certain criteria (e.g., they work in your field, live in your area, are in a field that you’re interested in, etc.).  If you are going to send invitations to people you don’t know, but share a common connection (e.g., are in the same professional group, went to the same college, etc.), then be sure to customize your LinkedIn invitation to them stating how you know them and why you want to connect.  This will increase your likeliness of getting an accepted invitation.  It may take a bit longer to grow your network, but you’ll be certain your network is a valuable one.

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

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Summer and The Career Decision Wheel

Career Decision Wheel Model by Norm Amundson Image by Jody Little

Career Decision Wheel
Model by Norm Amundson
Image by Jody Little

Summer vacation is in full swing and for many that means either taking time off work to relax or finding a summer job to save for future endeavors.  For others who’ve just graduated from secondary or post secondary studies – it means finding your place in the world of work.  But, how does one do that?  Last year we did a whole series on the Career Decision Making Wheel.  Now’s the perfect time to revisit this great tool and put together your dream career path.  Once you’ve worked through the 8 sections you’ll have a clear picture of what direction you should head in.  If you’re still unsure or this whole process seems overwhelming then you can access free career planning guidance at your local WorkBC Centre.

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Cost Of Living Calculator

“Moving to British Columbia, or planning a move within B.C.? Find vital Cost of Living information using this dynamic and easy-to-use tool. Simply select your location and occupation information and the calculator will display cost of living results for that location. Our calculator will also compare your estimated expenses with your income to determine if such a move will be affordable based on your lifestyle and family makeup. The tool also allows you to compare different communities or regions to help make informed decisions.” Here’s a screen shot of the Cost Of Living Calculator on the www.WorkBC.ca website.  Try it out today!

Cost of Living Calculator

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WorkBC Tools

WorkBC is the place to get connected with government funded back to work assistance.  Take a look at this screen shot of all the “WorkBC Tools” that they have available for BC job seekers.  Also notice that they have “Live Chat Support” to answer the questions you might have.  Explore the www.WorkBC.ca site today!

WorkBC Tools

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What is Emotional Intelligence?

Cutural Small Web viewHave you heard of the term “emotional intelligence”?  This refers to your ability to recognize your emotions and those of others, understand what those emotions mean, and respond to them.  There is a lot of information available about what emotional intelligence is (also known as EQ or EI), but how does it affect your career?  Quite simply it predicts how well you perform at work.  Dr. Daniel Goleman, leading psychologist in the study of EI, suggests that EI is the strongest predictor of performance and success at work, even stronger than IQ.

Psychologist differ in what they believe makes up EI but they all boil down to four main skills:

  • Self-Awareness: the ability to identify your emotions and interpret what they mean
  • Self-Management: the ability to use and control your emotions in healthy ways
  • Social Awareness: the ability to notice and understand how others are feeling
  • Relationship Management: the ability to develop and maintain healthy relationships with others

How emotionally intelligent are you?  There are a few quizzes out there that can help you understand where you might be:

The results of these assessments might have you excited or worried.  But, don’t fret emotional intelligence is a learned skill.  It can be learned at any age and at any stage of life.  For more information about emotional intelligence you can visit these websites or try your local library for resources on the subject.

This article was written by Miranda Vande Kuyt, a blogger for the My ESC website. Find out more about Miranda through her website: http://mirandavandekuyt.wordpress.com.

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Dogwood vs. GED

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are a few different ways to become recognized for having a high school education or equivalent in the province of British Columbia.

Dogwood Diploma: The British Columbia Certificate of Graduation, also known as the Dogwood Diploma is awarded to students who complete high school and successfully meet the Ministry of Education’s requirements set out in the Graduation Program Order.  Visit the Ministry’s site for more information: http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/policy/policies/student_credentials.htm.

French Dogwood Diploma: This certificate is awarded to those who complete high school in a Programme Francophone or French Immersion and meet the Graduation Program Order requirements set out by the BC Ministry of Education.  Visit the Ministry’s site for more information: http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/policy/policies/student_credentials.htm.

Adult Dogwood: This diploma is awarded to an adult student (18 or older) who completes at least 3 courses as an adult (or through a prior learning assessment), and meets the British Columbia Adult Education Requirement Order as set out by the Ministry of Education in BC.  Visit the Ministry’s site for more information: http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/graduation/adult_graduation.htm.

GED: The General Education Development is a group of five multiple choice subject based tests.  Those who complete is successfully will be awarded the GED Secondary School Equivalency Certificate as laid out by the Ministry of Education.  Visit the Ministry’s site for more information: http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/ged/geninfo.htm.

This article was written by Miranda Vande Kuyt, a blogger for the My ESC website. Find out more about Miranda through her website: http://mirandavandekuyt.wordpress.com.

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What My Parents Did To Prepare Me For The World Of Work

Kids Prepare To WorkI grew up in the 80’s and went to high school in the 90’s.  My parents didn’t have access to the internet and didn’t read parenting books, but they did know how to work hard and they taught me to do the same.  Although I was an ungrateful teen that felt their accountability was some form of adolescent torture, I now feel fortunate that they taught me real life skills so that I could become a successful adult.  When I was composing this list I realized their focus wasn’t so much on building skills as much as it was giving me opportunities to build character, to practice being an independent, responsible adult before I had to be. Here are the highlights of what they taught me.

My parents taught me to be responsible for my own needs.  When I was 12 years old I became responsible for earning my spending money.  I used this for buying clothes, eating out, and school field trips.  I knew that I needed to make money so I could do these things.  At first I started out by not doing and having these things, but I found that lead for a boring life.  So I went to work doing some of the only jobs available for a 12 year old: I babysat, delivered papers, and did odd jobs for neighbours.

My parents taught me to manage my money.  When I started bringing home a pay cheque I had to give half of everything I made to my mom.  She took that money and put it in a savings account.  The other 50% went into my chequing account for spending money, as well as giving for charity.  At first I felt robbed that I couldn’t spend all of it the way I wanted.  But, by the time I graduated high school I had enough in my savings account to almost pay for my first year of college.

They made me find my own way to work.  When I was 15 years old I got a job working at McDonalds.  It was a half hour walk from my house. I know because I had to walk the route often.  In reality it was less than a five minute drive.  Sometimes I took the bus, other times I would hitch a ride with a friend, and sometimes my parents would pick me up.  Ultimately I was responsible to figure out how I was getting to and from work and extra curricular activities.  My parents made it clear that they were not some magical taxi drivers at my beck and call.  They were supportive but firm that I needed to be responsible for my self and figure things out.

They taught me people skills.  I used to hate it that my mother made me talk on the phone to schedule appointments for things such as the doctor and dentist.  No matter how much I objected, she made me do it anyways.  It taught me the people skills and the phone skills I needed to negotiate my first job interview.

They taught me to be a contributing member of society.  I remember washing the dishes by hand when I was 7 years old.  That was just the start of a long list of chores I learned to do over the years.  By the time I was in high school I was responsible to make dinner for the family once a week, clean the bathroom, and do the ironing.  I learned that families run when everyone pitches in, but also that I was capable of taking care of myself.  It didn’t stop there.  I volunteered teaching Sunday School, babysitting, and participating on school committees.  I learned that giving is more than giving of your money, it’s also giving of your time.  It created in me a desire to want to be a contributing member of society, that just like a family–we all need to work together.  When I started college I was the one who taught others in the dorm how to do laundry and sew on buttons.

My parents taught me about work–life balance.  School wasn’t easy.  I had to study really hard to get decent grades, but I persevered.  I joined sports teams, the school play, the yearbook committee, and more, but during different grades.  I was juggling studying, work, and extra activities.  I learned I couldn’t do it all simultaneously, but that life came and went in seasons.  When I quit my job in grade 12 so I could be in the school play (maybe fired due to lack of availability is more accurate), my parents weren’t after me to get a new job.  I lived off the spending money I had saved until the play was done and then I went back to work.  I remember how hard my parents worked and at the end of the day they would relax together.  They worked hard, but also took a break when a break was due.

They taught me to make goals.  When I wanted to go on the school ski trip when our family was going on a weeklong ski trip for Spring Break, my parents asked me to choose between them because I couldn’t pay for both.  When I wanted to go to college they asked, “how are you going to pay for that?” I remember my mom saying to me, “You’ve been given strong arms and a strong spirit so you can work for what you need.” In other words–don’t expect anyone to give you what you can earn yourself.  I worked hard, applied for scholarships, and worked some more. I worked all through college and felt a strong sense of pride and accomplishment that by the time I finished four years of school I had paid for it all by my own hard work.  My parents gave me a couple gifts along the way, but they were unexpected and I was very appreciative.

When I look back at how my parents raised me, I’m not sure how much of it was intentional, but I feel they did an amazing job to prepare me for the world of work.  Now as I’m raising my own kids and I hear myself saying, “You’re too little. Let mom do that.”  I have to remind myself that now is the time to give them opportunities to take care of themselves.  A friend once said to me, “You have to let your kids help you when they are young and it’s inconvenient, because if you wait until they’re 12 they’ll say, ‘I don’t know how to do that, and it’s easier if mom does it for me.’”  I’ve learned that now is the time when it is safe for my kids to try and fail.  That now is the time for me to raise my kids to work hard, be responsible, and believe in themselves.

This article was written by Miranda Vande Kuyt, a blogger for the My ESC website. Find out more about Miranda through her website: http://mirandavandekuyt.wordpress.com.

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