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Providing you with information on the IT and Digital marketplace.


 Changing Careers - Where to Start?

It is important to assess or clarify exactly what you are looking for short term and where you want to be long term. Remember, when changing your career, it also affects your family life and your social life. So, don't forget to include these categories in your list. Here are 8 categories to help you analyze your next career change:

  • What is your objective
  • What type of organization
  • Supervisory or not
  • Salary
  • Type of employment
  • Location
  • New technologies
  • You and/or your family

WHAT IS YOUR OBJECTIVE

Are you looking to gain new skills?

Do you want to move into a leadership position?

What technologies do you like working with the most?

Where do you want to be in 5 years and what will help you get there?

WHAT TYPE OF ORGANIZATION

Is there a specific industry you are interested in, i.e. finance, manufacturing, health, government?

Would you be interested in a large national/international company where there is room for transfers to other locations?

How about a start-up? Do you have the skills that could take a start-up to the next level? Or do you just like the excitement of new and innovative environments?

Do you like bureaucracy or are you more comfortable in a family environment?

SUPERVISOR OR NOT

Some people are made to be in a supervisory position, other people find it very challenging. There is nothing wrong with either side. It is important for you to analyze yourself and decide if you like and want the extra challenges that go with supervising people.

Do you like a challenging puzzle? If you like getting involved in a puzzle, then supervising might not be for you.

Supervising means making time for people and their problems and idiosyncrasies.

You must be tough and soft and fair.

HOW IMPORTANT IS SALARY

Is money the most important thing in your life right now? No shame in admitting this. Money makes the world go ‘round and helps you buy a house, go on a vacation, or pay off a loan.

Is learning a new skill more important than the salary?

Is this a good time to add extra experience and education to your resume and not worry as much about the salary? Sometimes a long-term career path means not necessarily going for the big pay cheque.

CONTRACT OR PERMANENT

Do you like the security of a permanent position? These can include scheduled raises, health benefits, vacation time, possibility for advancement. Your job may be like your family.

OR

Are you more comfortable being a contractor and being your own boss? Like having control of your salary and where the write-offs go? The larger salary compensates for time off between jobs. Do you like the idea of being able to take a summer off or travel for 4 months? Do you find that new people, new systems, new companies enhance your work experience, or do they give you stress?

LOCATION – TO COMMUTE OR NOT

Commuting is a big deal breaker on my list.

Do you like to drive?

Are you and the company close to public transportation?

How about the expense of car, parking, public transportation?

How long does the commute take? Are you going to be happy with needing an extra 2 hours for transportation?

Don't forget to think about those long Canadian winters when you factor in commuting.

NEW AND INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES

Are you comfortable with the technologies you are using, or do you want to train with the new technologies on the marketplace?

Keep up to date on new/emerging technologies and what companies/systems are using them.

What’s hot, what’s not? COBOL, Java, Hadoop. What companies offer training in the new technologies?

Read industry publications to keep up to date on emerging technologies.

Do you need to go back to school or take a course/certificate?

YOU AND YOUR FAMILY

Times change and so do you. Just graduated, no family ties – then long hours and travelling with your job are great. Add a family into the scenario or have an older parent you need to help with. Your needs change and so do theirs.

There is nothing more fun than coaching one of your kids at yours/their favourite sport. Will the new job provide the opportunity to get home early enough for that?

Does the new company have a day care centre?

Health Benefits can make a huge difference in your lifestyle.

Older parents, spouse’s career, are you at an age when you would like a little more time off. These are all factors that you have to analyze when you are looking for a new position.

WHAT FACTOR IS THE DEAL BREAKER FOR YOU?

Everyone has different needs. As you grow in your career your needs will change. It’s important to analyze each factor for each time in your life. Be honest! Changing careers and companies is a hard decision and not something you want to regret.

Start with these 8 factors and analyze each one.


10 Resume Tips to Help Your Experience Stand Out

Your resume Professional Experience is the most important part of your resume. This is the section where you can shine and show off all your talents and experience.  

1.  LAYOUT

Keep the layout simple and easy to read. No Logos, No Boxes. Emoticons and clipart are not needed on your resume, they’re just clutter. If you are a graphic designer, then put those in your portfolio. Dates, Company Name, Location, Title, Detail. Repeat.

2.  SECTION TITLE

It's your PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE. You are a professional at what you do. Name the section that way. It's not "work experience".

3.  COMPANY NAME

You want people to know who you work or worked for. Putting down MGS will only be helpful for people who work in the government. If you want to use initials, then put in the name as well "MGS - Ministry of Government Services". TD - Toronto Dominion Bank. IBM is okay as IBM. Hiring Managers, Recruiters and ATS systems search on specific words. Those words may relate to a specific company, like banks, ministries, etc. Use Title Structure for your company name - i.e. capitalize each word and underline. If the company is obscure or in a different country, then putting in a 2 line write up is very helpful. 2 lines explaining what the company does, specifically industry:

"A telecom company, employing 15,000 people specializing in _____”

Start Date and Company Name are on the first line.

4.  LOCATION

City, Province, or City, State is all that is necessary. If your jobs are not in Canada or the US then you can just put down the country, i.e. United Kingdom, India, etc. 

End date and Location are on the 2nd line.

5.  TITLE

The all important "what are you" title. ALL CAPS so that it stands out. Your title should be an industry appropriate name.
Make it find-able for search strings and ATS systems. SENIOR PROGRAMMER ANALYST will tell everyone what you are, HEAD JEDI is a cute funky name, and within a company can be fun but will not be found doing a search.

6.  DESCRIPTION

Duties and Responsibilities are the same thing. The key is to make sure you aren't copying down the job description. You want to put in point form the details of what you actually do on a day to day basis. The important ones, not every little detail. Start every point off with an action word, "Updated, Implemented, Created". Don't start sentences off with an "I", instead you should be using the action word. Don't put in the heading "Duties or Responsibilities" just start off with the points (or if needed the 2-sentence company introduction as mentioned above followed by your points). Don't overdo the points, 5 to 10 at the most.  

Follow the duties/responsibilities with your actual ACHIEVEMENTS. Put a heading down for your achievements after your last point. Then list your achievements. 

 "Designed and implemented the company's new webpage on schedule using ____".

7.  DATES

Start date and end date, use actual month not the number, i.e. January 2000. I put the start date on the same line as the Company name with the end date on the same line as the company location. This way the job title stands out by itself. 

8. WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU HAVE HAD MORE THAN ONE POSITION IN A COMPANY?

Your first heading shows your original start and end dates. This allows the hiring manager/recruiter to see your length of service with the company. Beside your title put your service dates for each position. The first position should be your most recent position.  

For each following position instead of putting down the company name use "Same Company". Again this helps to show longevity within the company.  

 

9.  SELF EMPLOYED VS PERMANENT POSITIONS

If you are a professional contractor then we group all your clients, projects, companies under a blanket heading of Self-Employed. Contractors can have a ton of short engagements, if they are all listed with dates down the side, first glance can make you look like you change jobs a lot. As you can see in the example below grouping them leaves no room for judgement. You are a professional contractor.

 

10.  BE ACCURATE

Don't embellish, exaggerate or LIE. When your references are called, they will be asked details from your resume. Did he/she do this? The last thing you want is your reference being put in a position to lie about what you did.