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Providing you with information on the IT and Digital marketplace.


Is There a Way to Make Technologies Exciting on Your Resume?

Let's say right off the top - Technologies are boring. Can you make them more exciting? Probably not, but you can make them less boring. I have seen resumes with a page of technologies, each one listed on a different line. By the time I am halfway through them my brain is going "blah blah blah". How do you catch the employers eye and highlight your technical skills at the same time? Try these simple tips. 

Pertinent Technologies need to stand out

If the job description is asking for a certain technology then put it in your profile.  

"Over 14 years of Java development experience including 7+ years in design, development, implementation, testing, deployment and support of Java based web applications. Working knowledge of Object Oriented Design and Programming methodology. Able to learn new technologies and applications quickly."

Highlight them in each position.  

"Complete redesign of the web application suite to incorporate recommended design patterns (Front Controller, Synchronization Token, Business Delegate, DAO, Singleton, etc.), iterative preparation of project specifications and implementation, AJAX-based modification of data entry pages, estimates per clients’ requests."

Have a Technology Section on the first page of your resume. 

1.    Group your technologies by category, ie Operating Systems, Programming Languages, Scripting Languages, Databases, Tools, Hardware, Software, Methodologies, etc depending on your skills.  

2.    List the ones that are pertinent to the position you are applying for. If it is listed on the job description then it should be in your technology section.  

3.    List the technologies that are current.

4.    List the current versions of a technology especially as they are pertinent to the position you are applying for.

5.    Don't list old versions of technologies, ie Windows ME.  

6.    Don't list old technologies - there are very few jobs that use Fortran or Cobol, they don't need to be included in the technology section. 

Do you need a Technology/Tools section for each job.  

Try incorporating your technologies into the actual detail of the position. Use them with action words in your achievements. This way you don't need an actual list of Technologies/Tools for each position. It is much more interesting to read about how you used the technology then to just list them. A Technology/Tools section is just clutter, so often you are using the same tools in multiple jobs so you are just repeating the section over and over again. It ends up filling your 1 to 3 page optimum resume size up with "blah blah blah". 

Don't Lie

This applies to every section of your resume. Don't Lie. Don't exaggerate. Your technical skills should reflect your actual abilities. Trying to learn the skill as you go will almost always backfire. If your supervisor doesn't notice, your co-workers will and if you are in a position where you are supposed to be mentoring someone - watch out for the fireworks.  

It doesn't take long for an employer to find out that you don't have the experience in the technology you alluded to. Having to do a technical test is quite common nowadays, often followed by a technical interview where you will be quizzed by professionals on the required skills. If you don't have the skill all you are doing is wasting your time and theirs.  

Technologies are boring, but it is the way you use them that can be exciting. Updating 2000 desktops with the newest version of Windows without any glitches is what an employer wants to know. The employer wants to know how and when you have actually used your skills, not just see a tedious list of every technology you have ever worked with. Remember, resumes should be 2 to 3 pages telling the story of your professional life, not just a list of technologies and education. 


Should You Ask For Feedback After a Job Rejection?

Why didn't I get the job? What was I missing? What do I need to do for next time? These are all valid questions to ask the company you have been interviewing for.

There is nothing more difficult after being rejected for a job than to find the confidence to phone the interviewer and ask WHY? You were so excited, felt the interview went great, what happened? You were enthusiastic and really wanted to work for this company and this group. What happened? You won't ever find out if you don't pick up the phone and ask.

First thing you need to do is be honest with yourself.  

Would you have taken the job if it was offered?  

Were you as qualified as you thought?

Did you have as good an interview as you thought?

Was there anything you said, or did that might have produced a negative impact in the interview?

​If you answered all of these positively then there is no harm in trying to get some feedback.

Did you get the interview through a recruiter or directly with the company? If you worked through a recruiter, than your first phone call is to him/her.

Recruiters

You have a much better chance of getting constructive feedback from your Recruiter. They are like your agent and there is nothing they want more than for you to get the position. The recruiter also wants to fill this job in the future so they want to know exactly what the company is looking for so they will be asking the company what my Candidate was missing.

Keep in mind that a Company isn't going to want to tell you or the recruiter much more than "your candidate didn't have enough experience in ....". The interviewers are employees of the organization and they owe a fiduciary duty to their employer. This means they will be very careful about what they say. The last thing they want to worry about is a lawsuit because they said something about your personality or age or sex.

Wait a few days if calling the Company directly.

Don't call right away, wait a few days. Call the interviewer you seemed to have the best rapport with. Re-introduce yourself, be positive.  

I wanted to thank you personally for interviewing me. 

I love your Company and was wondering what I could do to improve my chances for the next time.  

Is there anything that I did that prevented me from getting the job?

Are there other positions coming up that would be more suited to my experience and skills?

If you want truthful constructive criticism, then you have to be willing to listen. And don't get defensive. The Interviewer doesn't want a confrontation and you aren't going to change their mind. Getting defensive will only reinforce the fact that they made the right decision and there go your chances for a future chance. Ask specific questions:

Were my answers too short?

Did I seem confident when I answered your questions?

Was I too relaxed or too stressed looking?

What could I do to come across more effectively in the future?

What was the one thing I did best?

What could I improve on?

If it was a skill or experience, then these are things you are going to have to improve with education or more time in a junior position. Cultivate a positive relationship with the Interviewer, let him/her know that you are going to work on their recommendations and would love a chance to keep in touch about future opportunities.  

Do Mock-up Interviews

Ask your recruiter or a career coach, or at least a friend to take the interview questions and do a mock-up interview with you. Treat it like a real interview. You want to be relaxed in an interview but also hungry. Being too relaxed in an interview can come across as arrogant, being too hungry can come across as too aggressive. Finding that happy medium is very difficult, especially if it is a job you really want. If you were trying out for a hockey team you would be out there shooting pucks every day. So why not practice for an interview?

Look at the positive

You got an interview, maybe even a 2nd and 3rd. Wow - you know how many people applied for these positions. Your resume got you in the door., that's the hardest part. Take the constructive criticism and wow them the next time!


Musings about Shifting the Performance Curve

PitchBook and AngelList provide today’s headline reminders of the changing guard in global commerce.  New companies with sound management, scalable technology and great staff will become VC targets. Successful mentoring combined with VC runway cash lead to IPOs, in turn lead to growth based publicly traded companies. The secret recipe – people and the retention of your talent. The legacy corporate world’s decline is a function of attracting and retaining top talent. Top talent produces 13:1 units of productivity (superstar) or 3:1 units of productivity (star) output over average [see “Shifting the Performance Curve” – P=(SK+E)*C] talent. Legacy Corporations are still fixated on recruitment cost control using 20th century VMS strategy, resume evaluation by in-house recruiters, and inadvertent bias interviewing techniques.  The result is the retained workforce production often means to either 1:1 units of productivity (Average) or 0.5:1 units of productivity (Below Average) as the Superstars and Stars flee to companies that embrace them and their abilities. We will examine some of the specifics down the line.

IPO mania produced record exits for VCs in second quarter, PitchBook says

PUBLISHED THU, JUL 11 2019       Aditi Roy @ADITIROYCNBC

Venture capitalists have never seen returns like this. In the second quarter of 2019, the long-awaited market debuts of Uber, Pinterest and Slack, along with the surprising performance of enterprise IPOs Zoom and CrowdStrike, drove a record $138 billion in exit value for venture-backed companies, according to a report released on Thursday from PitchBook. The biggest prior period was the second quarter of 2012, when Facebook went public. IPOs made up almost 83% of total exit value in the period, also a new high, PitchBook said. Venture investors had been waiting for the public market floodgates to open for their biggest bets after an extended stretch of mega-funding rounds from hedge funds and investors like SoftBank kept companies private and liquidity locked up.

“AngelList Weekly" newsletters@angel.co - 32 fast-growing start-ups in San Francisco

The Bay Area is the center of the start-up universe. With higher salaries than most tech hubs, the greatest concentration of start-ups in the country, and the presence of most leading tech companies, San Francisco is one of the best places to build a career in tech. While job seekers shouldn't feel limited to only looking in The Bay Area, it's worth considering. We pulled together a list of the fastest-growing start-ups in San Francisco that are hiring now. We analyzed AngelList data to find which companies have added the most employees in 2019. From there, we selected the top start-ups that currently have open jobs and removed any company that didn't include the salaries/equity it's willing to offer.


Job Interview Do’s and Don’ts

Reading the story from Staffing Industry Analysts today brought my morning smile. I thought I would extract the opening paragraph from Planet's "How to take an Interview" as the Do's and contrast with some of the actual Don'ts.

DO’S: Received from -- "Planet Interviewing Handbook"

“You have to sell yourself in an interview!”

You hear this directive all the time from people who are willing to give you free interviewing advice. However, the statement is virtually never followed up with instructions on exactly how you should be doing the selling. The purpose of this guide is to fill this gap by giving you concrete, specific actions that you can take to sell yourself. It is not the intent of this guide to turn you into a professional salesperson. Instead, it is meant to introduce you to only those basic selling skills that will be the most helpful to you and have the greatest positive impact as you interview for the next step in your career. So, don’t become stressed or discouraged if you don’t think you could succeed in sales. You are not trying to become a salesperson. You just want to be better at selling yourself than others interviewing for the same position. Before I get into the meat of the subject, let’s pause and think about the implications of the advice to sell yourself. In my opinion, the statement implies that:

1. You have to know your product thoroughly, and you are the product.

2. You have to prepare yourself for each interview in exactly the same way as a salesperson would, which is:

• You have to polish your interviewing skills.

• You have to plan for each interview just as salespeople plan for sales calls.

3. You have to think and act in the interview as a salesperson would, that is:

• You have to control the interview through the skilled use of questioning techniques. An interview is not simply an oral exam where you passively answer questions that test your knowledge.

• You have to close before you leave;

DON’TS:  Received from -- "Staffing Industry Analysts" e-news@staffingindustry.com

TAKING PHONE CALLS, BEING INTOXICATED AND OTHER JOB INTERVIEW DON’TS - July 11, 2019

From taking phone calls during job interviews to showing up under the influence of drugs, Express Employment Professionals surveyed business leaders and job seekers about the most inappropriate activities they have seen during job interviews. In one case, a candidate grabbed a doughnut without asking then proceeded to eat it during the interview; another job seeker arrived wearing bunny slippers.

Here’s what the business leaders said they have seen while interviewing candidates:

85% report a job candidate “showing up late.”

83% report a job candidate with “inappropriate clothing.”

49% report a job candidate with “inappropriate language.”

48% report a job candidate “eating or chewing gum.”

39% report a job candidate “responding to text messages.”

37% report a job candidate “answering a phone call.”

31% report a job candidate “bringing a child into the interview.”

31% report a job candidate “bringing a friend into the interview.”

26% report a job candidate “bringing a parent into the interview.”

24% report a job candidate being “under the influence” of drugs or alcohol.

“Aggressive pushback is usually the most shocking,” said Janis Petrini, an Express franchise owner in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In response to a question about job history, Petrini said one job candidate said it was “none of your business.” She saw another candidate “use his phone from the moment he sat at the desk until the moment he walked out of the door. He took several phone calls, a video chat and posted to his social media — and then proceeded to rush through the rest of the interview process.”

Mike Brady, franchise owner of the Jacksonville West office in Florida, said not only did an applicant take a phone call, the applicant “even held up a finger telling me to wait.”

Job candidates reported inappropriate behavior by their interviewers as well:

63% report an interviewer “showing up late.”

58% report having an interviewer with a “lack of preparation.”

51% report an interviewer “answering a phone call.”

39% report an interviewer “oversharing.”

30% report an interviewer “asking discriminatory questions.”

28% report an interviewer “wearing inappropriate clothing.”

An interview is an opportunity for a candidate to showcase his or her full potential, candidates who show they don’t care likely won’t get the job, Express CEO Bill Stoller said. But interviewers also need to be self-aware.

“In this tight labor market, the smallest thing could turn off a qualified candidate, and that’s not something you can afford,” Stoller said. The report was based on a survey of 310 business leaders and 212 job seekers.


Website User Experience Pet Peeves

A bad User Experience (UX) on your website can cause customers to hit that back button pretty quickly. Check out these pet peeves and make your site a user friendly experience.

Red lights, people driving in the fast lane, cold french fries, dishes left in the basement, clothes left in the dryer, and the list goes on and on. It's amazing how many pet peeves you have once you start making a list. Pet Peeves can be an irritant that you can't control, such as slow drivers in the passing lane - grrr - in the long run you better get used to them and move over otherwise your pet peeve could become a tragedy. Dishes on the counter, toothpaste lids left off will probably cause a minor blow-up at your partner or kids, it will blow over and everything will be peaceful for a while and then you will need another blow-up.

If a business is irritating you, there is a good chance you will change businesses. Cell Phone providers are a great example of bad customer experiences affecting businesses. You just change carriers. Rogers and Bell have listened and now their products and programs are so alike it's hard to find any differences with them.

As the millennium approached, businesses had to find a whole new way to attract customers. The webpage and social media sites have become their first line of attracting and keeping you as a customer. Whether you are looking information up on Google or Bing, or just following a link from a Tweet or Facebook, it's important that your users not only stay on your webpage, but return to it.

I don't think of myself as being too fussy but here are 5 things that drive me crazy about websites:

Too Long to Load

High speed, high speed, high speed. I expect instantaneous results. Yes, I know this is not always the webpages fault, sometimes it is my provider but bam if that little wheel is spinning, I am out of there. Back to the search bar to the next article. There are 1000's of websites competing for your time, don't lose a customer because your website is too slow. Check the images, are they too big, are there too many? Videos are great but can be slow to load. News and sports sites are known for being slow mainly because of the large amount of information and video they are trying to provide. Check out TSN's website. It opens in a flash. There are lots of videos on the landing page, but none of them start up until you click them.

Advertisements

Everyone has to advertise but having to stare at an advertisement for 10 seconds before I even get into your site. Zap - back to the search bar. There is another website just waiting for my business. Pop-ups, banners, sometimes you can't see the story for the advertising. Make sure your priority is giving your customer value, not just trying to get more clicks.

White Papers/Phishing Articles

Twitter feeds have 1000's of tweets trying to catch your attention. There is nothing I hate more than finding a really interesting 280-character tweet, you click on it and before you can proceed to the story you have to sign up for their email newsletter and fill out all sorts of personal information. Not happening on the first date, sorry, you have to gain my loyalty before I start passing on my personal information!

Links that Hijack the Webpage

Make sure your links open in a new window or at the very least allow your user to use the back button to get back to your site. 

Mobile Friendly

Chances are if I have a favourite webpage at some point in time, I am going to want to read it on my laptop, my tablet and my phone. Scrolling up and down is inevitable on a phone but also trying to scroll side to side is a real turn off. Make your website mobile friendly. Mobile technology is here to stay and taking over the world. Don't lose all these valuable customers.

The world is a busy place and with the internet, everything we want to buy or know is at our fingertips. The Yellow Pages ad of "let your fingers do the walking" can be adapted to the internet, "let your fingers do the buying", "let your fingers do the surfing". Just make sure your customers don't bail on you because of poor website design and optimization!


 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.


The LinkedIn Summary – Do You Need It?

Do you have a LinkedIn account?  If not, you should make one right now! There are 11 million Canadian users. These are both employees and employers, which makes LinkedIn one of the best places to connect with like minded professionals. It is a great place to network and share experiences and look for a job or look for an employee. The LinkedIn Professional Profile allows you to highlight the key achievements of your professional life. It's like a resume on steroids. There isn't a future employer out there who doesn't check out your LinkedIn Profile after receiving your resume. Your resume is a 2 to 3-page document to catch the employers' eye. The LinkedIn Profile, if done correctly, will move you to the interview stage.

Let's take a look at the LinkedIn Summary, it is just one small part of your Profile page, but it can pack a big punch if done right.

The LinkedIn Summary - The 2000-word Elevator Speech

Next to your picture, this is the first thing everyone sees. It's like a "Coles notes" of your professional life. You are allowed to write 2000 words - all about you. Make them count.

Start off with an upbeat opening paragraph. Be personal. Your resume is a list of dates, positions, companies and point form notes. The Summary is the story of your professional life, make it interesting. You want to let people know who you are, not just be a list of duties and responsibilities.

You have 2000 words. That's a lot of talking about yourself! 2000 words using a 10 pt font is almost 6 pages. If you are going to use all 2000 words, then make sure you make it interesting. Break it up into different paragraphs, highlight some key points or skills. Watch out for run on sentences and paragraphs and be careful about using too much "I did", “I do", “I am", specifically when starting new sentences. Yes, this summary is all about you, but there are more entertaining ways to talk about yourself than "I I I I I". After you write it go back and edit it, if there are too many I's then try to replace them with "my" or reorganize your sentence so that the I is in the middle of the sentence rather than at the beginning. This is your first impression, proofread it just like that final philosophy exam you took to get your degree.

List your Achievements. 

This is not the time to talk about your job duties and responsibilities. Talk about your achievements. Highlight your promotions, surpassing sales quotas, improving a reporting system - how did you make a difference and improved the operation of your company?

Highlight your Leadership Skills. 

Taking your valuable hands-on skills to the next level and adding in your mentoring and leadership skills show an all-around employee. Maybe your job right now doesn't give you the opportunity to do that, then add in your volunteer work. "During the past year I organized a team of 10 people to participate in the Walk for Cancer and helped raise $10,000 through different fundraising events". Coaching, Girl Guide Leader, on a Board of Directors for a Volunteer Organization - all of these show a part of your character that doesn't come across in your resume.

Don't use overused sayings in your Summary. You know what they are, if you have a craving to put in comments like: self motivated, hard working, team player, can work independently - don't. Use some of the other 1 million words in the English language.

Remember, this is a Professional Summary. Your ultimate goal on LinkedIn is to further your career, whether that is finding the next career move or finding that star employee to bring on board. When writing your summary, keep in mind who your target audience is. Is it a Recruiter, is it in a specific industry? Try and highlight times in your professional life that will promote your chances of being noticed by the right audience. You want to get back into the financial industry but haven't been working in it for a while, you can still put down "Over 5 years financial services industry experience working in .....".

Specialties. 

A successful end to your Summary is to list your specialties. This can be done as a list: Content Marketing, managing and hosting webinars, team leadership, email campaigns, building communities, Java, HTML.

LinkedIn is a wonderful way to advance your career, to increase sales, and to network. It is a professional community, use it wisely and you may get some great tips, form some lasting relationships and receive some great career advice!


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.  


Your Tweet Can Cost You Your Job

Twitter is one of our favourite social media platforms. Keep up to date, look for jobs, engage with like minded people. But be careful, your tweet could cost you your job. 

All social media platforms should be treated with kid gloves when you are job hunting. Companies will check your social networks out before they hire you. And after you are hired, if you are too offensive be prepared to be fired or reprimanded. LinkedIn is a professional social media platform that you control, not only in your posts but also in who you let see your information. Facebook is used for more personal posts - announcements, things you like, things you don't like, etc. It again is safer because you have to allow people to connect with you. Unless someone else tags you and then voila! - you are open to their list of friends. Most Twitter accounts on the other hand are open to everyone on the worldwide web. 

When things happen on Twitter, they happen fast. Sometimes "trending" can be a bad thing. 

What types of things should you never tweet about on Twitter or post on any social media platform?

  • Your current company in a negative light

  • Your current boss, make that even your previous boss either in a negative or funny light. OK maybe he was really drunk at the Company Golf Tournament, and you took a picture - don't post it, ever!  
  • Getting a little too cosy with the boss' wife could be a deal breaker too. Just to be careful leave your phone in your purse at company functions. What seems funny at the time, might not be 24 hours later.  
  • Racist comments are always a big NO/NEVER
    • Justine Sacco a PR Exec with only 200 followers was fired over comments made on her personal account. (DailyMailUK)
  • Sexist comments.  
    • 2 Toronto Firefighters were fired over sexist comments on their personal twitter accounts. (National Post Story)  
    • Ted Bishop, a very well respected PGA of America President, until he sent what he thought was a harmless tweet. (Golf.com)
  • Accidentally posting on a company website, not only was the employee fired but Chrysler cancelled their contract with the agency where he worked. Huffington Post)


  • Don't rant on Twitter - rants should be done in the privacy of your own home, preferably when no one is around.  
  • Don't joke about bombing or hurting someone.  
  • Watch out for tweets that could be breaking your company's confidentiality rules, this could not only result in you being fired but also in a court case. 

Follow these "Rules of Thumb" when thinking about posting something:  

  • Don't post when you are intoxicated.
  • Be careful posting late at night, it is harder to call something back if you are heading into bed. Do you really want to wake up and find out you have gone viral?
  • The "24 hour" rule. If something is really bugging you, wait 24 hours to see if you calm down.
  • Funny - maybe not when you look at it later. Funny comments in the privacy of your own home stay there. If you offend someone they can mention it right then. Funny comments on Twitter will probably be found offensive by someone so be careful.  
  • If you start to write something and have doubts about how it will be perceived. then delete it.  
  • Use the "Mom Test". If it won't pass Mom, then don't post it.  

In this day and age is there anything truly private anymore? Have a little fun at your birthday party - *click* someone takes a picture. A conversation around the dining room table - someone tapes it. It isn't just affecting the rich and famous anymore. Everyone is under scrutiny. And this is especially true when job hunting. Keep your social media clean and your tweets scandal free!


Are You Using the Right People for Your References?

"Employment references are professionals who can comment on your personal character, work ethic, past work experiences and abilities to perform specific duties."

It's important to have your references prepped and ready to go as you move into the job hunting, career change stage of your life. Being given a job offer and then scampering around trying to find appropriate references and their contact information won't give a good impression to your new bosses. You don't have to hand in your references until you are asked for them which is usually at the verbal job offer stage, but they should be all ready to go.  

"Almost 60% of employers claim that they have had to withdraw an offer of employment after receiving poor references about successful applicants. " - monster.com

Who to Use for Your Professional Reference?

The first choice would always be your current supervisor. This is an easy choice if your partner has just been transferred to another city and you are relocating. A little more difficult if you are looking for a new job because you want a change, specifically of boss. Your reference doesn't have to be a "manager", it could be a more "senior" co-worker who is working with you on your current project. If your reference is from a previous position then a supervisor/manager would be the best choice.  

Start off by making a list of people you have worked with in the past and had a good relationship with. List the projects you worked on that were completed successfully and who your supervisor and co-workers were. Check out your previous performance reviews, which supervisors were complimentary towards you. If there are individuals on this list who can also relate to the new position you are applying for - great.  

Get Back in Touch

Thank goodness for LinkedIn, it has made keeping in touch with previous co-workers much easier. But finding them on LinkedIn isn't enough. You need to actually call these individuals and ask them if they remember you and if they will give you a reference. If you have lost touch, you want to reconnect and build your relationship back up.  

When you are talking to them explain the position you are applying for. Reconnect about old projects you worked on together. Give them a heads up when you get to the job offer stage, so they can be expecting the call. We all deal with telemarketers and the last thing you want is your reference thinking your potential employer is a telemarketer and hanging up on them.  

Include on your list their name, company, position and a day and night time contact number. Ask them if there is a time preference for receiving a phone call. This list should look professional, a white clean 8 x 11 piece of paper, not names on little post-its.

Prepare Your References with What Information Can Be Provided About You 

References will be called so make sure they are prepared. Large companies use reference services to do their reference checks. Companies who use Recruiters will sometimes have the recruiting company do the reference checks or the actual hiring managers will call. Either way there are only certain things they can ask in a reference check. Make sure your reference is going to give you glowing comments about the following questions:

  • Length of employment?
  • Previous job title?
  • Brief details of responsibility?
  • Overall performance?
  • Time-keeping and attendance?
  • Reason for leaving?
  • Would you re-hire this employee?
  • Keep in Touch

Follow up with your references after you start your job with a big thank you and remember to stay in touch. You never know when you may need a reference again. Or you may want to go and work for them in the future.  

Keep Your Reference List Up to Date

New references from your most current jobs, volunteer or community experience should keep getting added to your reference list with up-to-date contact information. But that doesn't mean you lose track of your older references. Network, Network, Network! You never know when you may be able to help someone from your past or they may be able to help you.


Are Interview Thank You Notes Necessary?

You've just walked out of your first, second or third interview. This is a good time to grab a coffee and take 15 minutes to make some notes from the interview.

  • What the people were like? Write a couple of points on the back of their business cards (which you remembered to ask for).
  • How did you do?
  • Any questions you forgot to ask?
  • Why you still want the job?
  • Why you are the right person for the job?

Later that same day, sit down and compose your Thank You email. Remember, if you were interviewed by a panel then you want to send a personalized email to each person. Your Thank You should be sent out within 48 hours.

Why?

You want them to read the email and remember you. And there’s no point in sending out an email after they have made their decision.

Your email should be formal, starting with, "Dear Person's Name" and ending with, "Sincerely Your Name, Contact Info".

The body of your email should be 3 or 4 paragraphs (4 maximum).

First paragraph will be a general thank you for meeting you and what a pleasure it was to learn more about your company, etc.

Second paragraph will reiterate your skills and why you now feel like this is the job for you.

Third paragraph – “I'm looking forward to hearing from you at my number/email below.”


A few final things:

  • Keep it short, sweet and positive.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread!

 

And the last thing to do - cross your fingers and wait for your job offer!


How to answer the Interview Question,

During the interview not only does the company find out about you, this is also your opportunity to find out if this is a job, position, and company that you really want to work for. Engaging with your interviewer is the first step in forming a relationship with him/her. Starting with a smile and a firm handshake and keeping upbeat during the interview process are all the basics needed for a successful interview.

THE COMPANY NEEDS YOU

You are being interviewed because the company has a need for someone with your qualifications. Answering the interviewer's questions precisely and confidently will help put you in the driver's seat. You have the qualifications. It's important to remember that an interview shouldn't be an interrogation, if it feels like that, you need to quickly try and turn it back into a conversation between 2 people who have the same goal - filling a position in the company.

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN THE POSITION?

The next step in the process is to show them that you are interested in the position and the company. Researching the company is always the first step before your interview. (Truthfully it should be the first step before you send in your resume.) Making a list of questions to ask during the interview process is all part of the preparation. The answers to some of these questions will come up as a natural part of the interview process. Now it is your turn to ask specific questions. Don't stall the interview by asking questions just for the sake of asking a question. Make sure your questions are going to help further your relationship with the interviewer. They need to be engaging and smart. Do not ask a question that is answered on the company webpage, this shows you didn't do your research. Try not to repeat questions that have already been answered. Break your list into 2 parts, questions likely to be answered during the interview and questions more likely to wait until the end.

QUESTIONS LIKELY TO BE ANSWERED DURING THE INTERVIEW

  • What would a typical day be like for the person in this role? Do different time frames affect the position? ie does the job vary at month/quarter end?
  • What is the most challenging part of this position?
  • What are your future plans for this position?
  • Is this a replacement for someone or a new position? If a replacement, was the employee promoted, transferred or left the company?
  • Is there travel involved?
  • Will I be on call? How often?
  • Who is my direct report? How many members are on the team?

QUESTIONS TO END THE INTERVIEW ON

  • What is the chance of advancement for this position? Does the company like to promote from within?
  • Is there training/education possibilities?
  • Are there team and company events?  
  • What do you like most about working for this company?
  • Are there performance reviews? How frequently?
  • What is the start date for this position?
  • What are the next steps in the interview process and when should I hope to hear from you?
  • Is there anything else I can provide you with?

QUESTIONS NOT TO ASK

Yes, surprisingly, there are questions you shouldn't ask during the interview - especially the first one below. These questions should be saved for the negotiation stage or discussed with your recruiter before hand.  

  • What is the salary?
  • How do yearly bonuses and performance raises work?
  • How much vacation would I get and when can I start taking it?
  • What are the benefits?


Interviews are stressful. Being prepared is the first step towards relieving some of your stress and anxiety levels. When you smile your whole body relaxes and smiling is contagious, so start the interview with your smile and a handshake and end it the same way with an added Thank You to all the interviewers.


5 Tips to Help Keep the Jitters out of the Interview

Interviews are stressful. Whether this is your dream job you are interviewing for, a promotion, or your first job, there are little things you can do to help ease the stress. There are very few people in the world who don't get pre-interview jitters. These jitters will be worse if you are not prepared for your interview. Here are our 5 tips for helping to get you to the interview with a few less jitters.  

DON'T BE LATE

There is no valid excuse for being late to an interview. You should plan on being there at least 10 to 15 minutes early. You don't need to check in until 5 minutes before but at least be in the building 10 to 15 minutes before the interview. This allows you to go to the washroom and check your hair, teeth, wash your hands and relax before you are called in.

DO A PRACTICE RUN

If you aren't sure where you are going or where parking is or how long it will take, then do a practice run. Schedule your practice run around the same time as the interview if you can to get a feel for traffic flow and/or public transportation glitches. Nothing worse than being on the subway and having an emergency stoppage. Find that nearest taxi stands and get going.

PREPARE YOUR OUTFIT THE NIGHT BEFORE

Yes, lay out your whole outfit. Hopefully you have picked up your suit from the cleaners ahead of time! This is also a good way to know if you must leave earlier to pick up a new pair of nylons. Are your shoes shined? Yes, people do still shine their shoes or at least get the dust and grime off of them! Remember don't overdo the cologne or perfume, if possible just don't use any. Cleanliness and hygiene is more important than your cologne.

PREPARE YOUR KIT

Take a couple of extra hard copies of your resume with you. They will ask you questions relating to your resume, so this gives you the chance to reread it before your interview. Kleenex, a couple of safety pins, a charged phone, and breath mints, can come in handy in case of an emergency. Don't forget to put in a hard copy of your references (that you have prepped ahead of time) just in case the interview goes really well, and they want to move to the next stage.

FIND OUT HOW TO PRONOUNCE THE INTERVIEWER'S NAME

In our multi-cultural Canada, it's important to verify how to pronounce the person's name. The last thing you want to do is walk in and say "Hi Mr/Mrs ........" and have them say "well my name is .........". Ask your recruiter, phone the actual company and ask for their extension - hopefully if you pronounce it wrong they will correct it for you. Write it down phonetically so you will remember the pronunciation.


Being prepared for your interview will help to set the tone for the whole interview. Let us know what little practices/rituals you do before an interview to help you start your interview off on the right foot.


Job Hunting Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

For every person who wakes up one day to a recruiting call for a perfect job, there are 100 people who must pound the sidewalk/internet for openings. Job Hunting has changed dramatically since the introduction of the internet, 30 years ago you did pound the pavement. You had 1 to 200 copies of your resumes in envelopes and you basically went and knocked on doors. "Do you have any openings?", "Here's my resume just in case something comes up". Networking was still important only it was done by word of mouth. "Jimmy's daughter is looking for a job" was a refrain through the workplace, clubs and soccer pitches. And yes my first job came from my dad's friend's girlfriend who worked for Ontario Hydro. Lucky Me!

Job Hunting might be the hardest job you ever do. You want to find the perfect job. You want to be fussy. There are 2 categories of Job Hunters and depending on which category you are can make the hunt more or less stressful.

You already have a job:

Needless to say, if you are the job hunter who already has a job but is looking for a change or upgrade, the stress you have you are putting on yourself. Maybe you don't like your boss or your job. Yes, it is time to move on, looking for a job while you have a job is still the best scenario. Because you aren't behind the 8 ball, you can wait for the perfect position. Hiring Managers will have to make you a competing offer.

YOU DON'T HAVE A JOB:

Other than maternity leaves or going back to school, being out of a job for any length of time can make that climb back into the workforce extremely difficult. Employers start to wonder why no one else has hired you.

FOR BOTH SCENARIOS DON'T FALL INTO THESE PITFALLS:

Getting discouraged is inevitable but try to focus on the positive. Negativity will come across in your interviews. Treat each interview as a learning experience.

Don't take rejection as a negative, it's not that they don't like you, it might just be that the other candidate had something extra to offer. Ask for feedback. What do you need to do to move forward with this company? If this position isn't for you ask about other openings in the company. Keep in touch with the Interviewer and Hiring Manager.

Try not to apply to every job on every job board. Chances are if you are interviewed for a job you don't want, you won't present well in the interview. Interviewing for jobs you want will make you more positive and exuberant about the position.

Don't try and trick the systems by applying to the same job with different emails and changing your name around. Yes, people do that. It clutters up databases and can make you appear desperate.

Networking still works. It can be embarrassing to be out of work, your first reaction can be to hide your unemployment. Some companies give their employees bonuses for referrals. People like helping people, let them. Even just a referral to their recruiter will help you get the door open and pass the 1000's of resumes that recruiters receive in their inboxes. Don't hide. Put it up on LinkedIn, mention it to the parents at your child's hockey game, everyone knows someone who knows someone. You never know where your break will come.

Forget that times change. Systems are updated, there are new languages. You may just have to bite the bullet and go back to school or upgrade those certifications. If you have been out of work for a while, be prepared to lower your expectations both re salary and management positions.

Highlight your achievements when job hunting. Looking back on your career, pick out the key times when you really made a difference. Duties are boring, make your career a story that people want to read and add a chapter too.

Keep in mind there are some great resources out there for job hunters, from government programs to internships to using a professional recruiter. Take advantage of their expertise and remain positive your door will open.


What To Expect When Working With a Recruiter

Recruiting Companies started making strides into the marketplace in the 70's. They were probably one of the first outsourcing practices large companies moved to. Also known as head-hunters, they were known as just a step above a used car salesman. This all changed when large companies like IBM, Ontario Hydro and the Banks realized they were being inundated with resumes for every job they posted.

Remember every resume back then was paper, yes, I said "paper". Delivered in the mail, gasp! The mail room, to the HR secretary to the actual HR Managers were being drowned in paper. Not only did they have to manually screen (no ATS systems) each resume, they also had to reply - yes, gasp, again by paper and stamp. HR Departments were being clogged. Great candidates were being missed. Hence the rise of the "employment/recruitment agencies".

These agencies also had to change the way they did business. Companies didn't want them sending over 100 resumes, they wanted 3 to 5 for each position. The agencies now had to screen all these resumes and find the best candidate. Just like buying a house, the companies attitude was "find me the right candidate or I'll go to another supplier". Keep in mind the agency was only paid if the client hired a candidate. Recruiters had to become experts in their field (technology, finance, administration to name just a few). They also had become experts in the interview process.

Over decades, the recruitment process has changed. Which leads us to the question, "What to expect when working with a Recruiter?"

Industry/Company Knowledge

Recruiters tend to specialize, so if you pick the right one they should be a wealth of knowledge about their field. If you have hooked up with the wrong one the first thing they should do is direct you to an expert recruiter in the field you are looking for. Take advantage of the Recruiter's expertise in the company. Ask them detailed questions about the company and industry. Start with a few simple questions:

  • Company culture - will you fit in, is it a stuffy company, is it too relaxed, does it promote from inside, is training available?
  • is the company expanding?
  • is the company doing lots of hiring?

Expertise in Their Field


Live Jobs

  • Recruiters sign contracts with companies for specific live jobs. These positions could be exclusive to one or more recruiting agencies. They aren't available on the company webpage. This gives the Recruiter you are working with direct access to the hiring manager. Part of this relationship includes knowing what the hiring manager is looking for, and what kind of candidates they have liked in the past.

Resume Help

  • Yes, I said Help. Because of their expertise, they know what the company is looking for. Most companies don't want to see 10-page resumes. Your recruiter will help you to discard the superfluous information and leave in the information the company is interested in for that particular position. Be prepared for them to reformat your resume. Move education from the last page to the first. Highlight the key technologies. Resumes with "I did, I was", "John changed, John has" will be rewritten to use prominent action words. Expect this from them, they are experts in having their candidates (you) get to the next step.

Interviewing

  • Screening Interview: after receiving your resume, be prepared for a screening interview. This interview is basically to make sure you are available, do you have the education and technologies, finds out if you would be willing to do the commute or relocate if necessary. This interview can be done by a Junior Recruiter.
  • Telephone/Video/Face2Face Interview: Prepare for this just like you were being interviewed by the company, with a little less stress. The recruiter's job is not only to find out if you are capable and experienced enough to do the job but also to help you to interview well. They will be looking for your accomplishments and helping you to present them in a relaxed manner. Your "elevator speech" will be fine tuned. Practice your questions and possible interview answers with the recruiter.

Salary/Benefits 

  • The Recruiter will discuss the salary/benefits with you. You don't have to worry about it being discussed in the actual company interview. The Recruiter is your salesman, after finding out what you are expecting they will present this to the Company and help find the perfect match. This will include not only salary negotiation but also vacation, benefits, bonuses, start dates, etc.

Job Offer

  • This will be presented to you and explained. And then you will take it home and read it over again. If you have any questions - call your Recruiter.

Feedback

  • Why didn't you get the job? The recruiter will have feedback from the Company and they should explain to you why you didn't get the job. What were you missing? Was it experience? Education? Too nervous? Too cocky? What can you do to improve? Was your salary expectation too high? Remember they want you to get a job so it's to their advantage to help you improve and analyze what happened.

References

  • This also falls under the bailiwick of the recruiter. Depending on the company the Recruiter will call your references. That doesn't mean they will lie for you so make sure your references are up to date.

Resigning

  • This can be very stressful especially if you have been with the company for a while. The Recruiter will help you through this step. They will offer advice on how the company may make a counter offer and whether you should take it or not. Although their client is the company they also want you to be satisfied in your decision. Recruiters love repeat customers.

 

Do you only get in touch with a Recruiter if there is a specific job you are interested in? Definitely NOT. Recruiters can help you with career changes, re-education advice, getting back into the work force, etc. They are a job hunting resource, use them and form an honest and fulfilling relationship with them.


Every interview is different. Each Interviewer uses different tactics. Most interviews start with trying to put you at ease by asking a little about yourself. There are the technical questions - you better be able to answer these questions – “you stated on your resume that you had the technical skills to be able to do the job.” Then come the off the wall questions - "what superhero would you be?"

 

"What strength would you bring to the position?" This is a standard question that you will be asked in most interviews. The best way to be prepared for this question is to sit down and write down your strengths from a previous position, or if you are a new graduate then experiences from school. Below are a few examples of strengths that can be expanded upon with your experience as they fit the job description:

  • Team Player
  • Time Management
  • Good at managing people
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Always finish my tasks
  • Good listener
  • Deal well with difficult customers/situations
  • Able to see the big picture
  • Good with detail
  • Pick out a skill from the job description, ie “With my strong web design, creative writing, phone skills, etc”, then expand on this strength.
  • Problem Solver
  • Able to juggle more than one task at a time
  • I am very good at listening and putting people at ease, this allows me to deal effectively with difficult situations. In my previous position there was a customer/employee…
  • Although I am a detail orientated person, I am also able to see the big picture, in my previous position (or while at school) I was assigned the task of…
  • My creativity has been tremendously helpful in designing web pages over the last 5 years. One particular webpage was just not… and I…

If you are having a hard time coming up with a strength, then ask your family, friends and co-workers. You will be surprised at what they come up with. Just don’t get too bloated from all the accolades, it is important to be a little humble with this question. You don’t want to come across as having an “I’m GREAT, I’m a STAR” attitude.


Don’t stress about this question, you have applied for the job because you know you can do it. Now tell them why and how. Be a "star".


10 Simple Tips to Remember As You Prepare For Your Interview

Sometimes it's the simple things in life that can make a difference. You can practice the answers to your interview questions until you can say them without a pause. You can research the company so that you know everything there is to know about them. And life throws you a curve ball. As you get ready to sit down you notice your fly is open. You go to shake hands and you drop your purse on the interviewer's foot. All that great preparation flies out the door as you try to calm yourself down and relax.

These are our 10 simple tips to get you through the door and sitting down feeling comfortable, relaxed and as confident as the person in your resume says you are:

Keep your dress professional

Seems pretty basic, but you would be amazed how many people show up for interviews realizing they had forgot to pick up their shirts at the drycleaners. Pick your outfit out the night before and make sure it is:

  • clean and crisp
  • a suit for men
  • a skirt and blouse, or basic business dress for ladies  
  • No sundresses or shorts

This is an interview not a date - don't overdo the makeup or wear too much jewelry. Gentlemen, do you shirt buttons up, and no gold chains hanging out. Polish or at least dust your shoes off.

No Perfume or Cologne 

Have a shower, put on some deodorant, nothing else is necessary. Why? A lot of companies/businesses are "no scent" zones. Imagine what would happen if the person who is interviewing you is sensitive to scents and has a reaction to your latest Hugo Boss cologne. They’ll reschedule if you are lucky!


How do you get to the Interview

Google it, and do a test run if you aren't sure. If you are driving make sure there is parking nearby. 9am and 5pm interviews mean rush hour. Be prepared for it to take 30 minutes longer to get there. Check the weather - rain and snow can add extra time to your trip. Be prepared!

Never be late for the Interview

It goes without saying that being late for an interview starts you off on the wrong foot.

And yes, there can be extenuating circumstances, but you better be able to prove them. "The dog ate the directions" won't work in the business world. And you'd better have called to at least let the interviewer know.

Be polite to everyone

That older lady in the elevator might be "mom" going to visit her son the interviewer. You don't want her saying anything negative about pushy people in the elevator. The person blocking your way into the bathroom might be one of the interviewers. Be polite to everyone all the time. It is a good road to travel down.

Verify how to pronounce the Interviewer's name

We live in a very multicultural country, let's try our best to pronounce names properly. Ask the recruiter or phone the company. Write it down phonetically and practice.

Keep your right hand free

Your right hand is needed for shaking hands as you enter the interview. Move your portfolio, purse, or extra copies of your resume to your left hand before you enter the office.

Just before you get to the Interview

Turn off your phone and tablet.

Chemistry is a very important part of the interview

It starts as soon as you enter the room. Smile, firm handshake, and speak clearly. Relax and take part in the conversation.

Tell me about yourself

This question is totally about relaxing you. Take your elevator pitch and expand it "a bit". The Coles Notes version versus the Game of Thrones version. Keep it professional.


Don't let a little thing muck up your interview. Be prepared for every aspect of the interview process. Remember they liked your resume - you look good on paper - now is the time to shine in person.

Good luck job hunting!


How to Survive a Video Interview

To think that 20 years ago every interview was set up as a F2F (face to face). That's right you went into the office, dressed to the nines - suit, skirt/dress, shined shoes all freshly scrubbed. There weren't any telephone interviews. Skype wasn't even invented. And now we have video interviews.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION.  HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR A VIDEO INTERVIEW?

Check your Equipment

You don't want your battery to run out before your interview is over so make sure everything is running smoothly. Clean the lens on your camera, nothing worse than a fingerprint showing up in the middle of your face. Practice with a friend so you can find the appropriate volume for a normal speaking voice. You don't want to have to yell and you don't want to miss the question because you can't hear the interviewer properly.

Where are you going to set up your Interview?

Find an area that is quiet from distractions. You don't want to hear the dog barking as people walk down your street. Make sure the area is clean and clutter free. If you are doing it in your bedroom you don't want the Sports Illustrated Bathing Suit calendar showing up in the picture. Empty or full beer bottles on your counter won't set a very good example.

Dress like you were meeting in Person

Dressing professionally makes you feel more in control and self-confident. So put your dress or suit and tie on, make-up, hair, shave. All the things you would do if you were heading to the office to meet the interviewer. Try not to wear white as it can look very bright through a camera, also busy patterns can be distracting.

Camera

Have your camera set up at a level so you are looking up just a little bit. This will emphasize your face more than your body and will make you look a little slimmer. It also helps to stop the camera from looking up your nose if you do a bit of a stretch. REMEMBER - don't look down or the interviewers will be looking at the top of your head. Look directly at the camera, maintain eye contact and smile.

 

Cheat Notes

Yes you can use cheat notes, perfect for writing down your interview questions, but remember that rustling paper can be picked up by the microphone and is very distracting. You also don't want your eyes roving around the room or looking down, leaving the interviewer looking at the top of your head.

Truthfully it isn't that much different than a F2F.

  • Be prepared - practice those interview questions and research the company.
  • Sit up tall and don't wiggle around too much.
  • Relax and speak clearly.
  • Remember to thank everyone for their time.

 

Don't treat a video interview lightly. You have to have the qualifications and you have to be able to sell yourself. All you are doing is using a different venue. So, Take 1 and wow them the first time.

 

Good luck job hunting!


Your Resume Checklist

 

Before you submit that resume, have a 2nd and a 3rd look. Once you send it there is no way to get it back, so proofread, proofread, proofread! Verify everything you need is mentioned in the resume. Below are some do's and don'ts to help you with your resume submission.

  • Your name (first and last) is bolded on the first page, followed by contact information (town/city, country, phone, email, LinkedIn) in a smaller font. On subsequent pages include your name, email and phone number in a smaller font at the top of the resume.
  • Do not include personal information like: marital status, children, father's name (yes I have seen it on resumes), passport number or SIN number.
  • How long is your Professional Profile? Keep it to 1 paragraph, 5 to 6 sentences and possibly a couple of bullets. Make sure they highlight the skills you have that match the job you are applying for. A 1-page profile will lose the interest of the recruiter after about the 5th line. Keep it short and concise.
  • Is your Education listed with the highest degree on the top, followed by certifications and training in reverse chronological order?
  • If you are applying for a technical position. This is a good spot to list your most current technologies. Needless to say if there are specific technical skills in the job ad and you have them, then put them in here so they will stand out.
  • The next section should be your Professional Experience. Again, the jobs should be listed in reverse chronological order, with the most current position first.
  • Do your achievements start with action words: Develop, Create, Built, Performed, Managed, Coordinated, etc. Here is a webpage with 100's of action words: http://jobmob.co.il/blog/positive-resume-action-verbs/ or just type "List of Action Words" in Google.
  • NEVER NEVER NEVER start a sentence with "I" or "your name". "John created a test plan and test cases" or "I created a test plan and test cases" should become: Created a test plan and test cases.
  • Put your keywords from the job ad in your achievements as often as you can. If the job is looking for someone who has worked on an "on-line banking system" then say so. Created detailed test plans for the CIBC On-line Banking System using Mercury Tools.
  • Tell them how much you enjoyed the interview and that you are looking forward to their call.
  • If you notice that it is taking you a long time to read your resume, then it is probably too long, cut it down to 2 or 3 pages. You can always put in a line that says: Detailed job information from 1999 and back is available upon request.
  • Hobbies - not needed on the resume. This is a question that may come up at the interview to get the conversation going. Be careful what you tell them. Reading, Golf, Skiing, etc are probably good topics of conversation. Telling your interviewer that you like to go to the casino every Saturday night might set off some warning bells for him/her.
  • References - don't go on the resume, in fact don't even put in the line "references available upon request", that's a known.
  • Take out the graphics, logos, graphs, pictures.
  • Don't include a letter from your mother, yes it has happened.
  • Don't lie on your resume, this is a legal document.
  • Have someone proofread it, have them read the job ad as well. You want to make sure your points address the job description.

Resumes can be adapted to different jobs/positions that you are applying for. But remember to always tell the truth!


What should you do after your Interview?

 

Interviews come in many shapes and forms. The telephone interview, the video interview, the first interview, progressing hopefully to the 2nd, 3rd and job offer stage. There are things you can do to help you through each stage and give you an advantage when you get the call for the next interview. As you leave the interview, smile, shake hands, ask for business cards, make sure to ask the always important question of "When do you expect to make a decision?" and then head over for a coffee to help settle those interview jitters. Don't just bask in the warmth of your favourite coffee (go ahead add extra sugar and cream) get out your phone, tablet or good old fashioned note book and start making notes about the interview.

WHAT WAS YOUR OVERALL IMPRESSION OF THE INTERVIEW?

  • How long did it last? First interviews should last between 30 minutes and an hour.
  • Were you relaxed? Did something happen that flustered you? It could just be a little thing, maybe you had your hard copy of your resume in your right hand which made it awkward to shake hands. Great next time you'll know to keep your right hand free. Were you running a little late? Nothing worse than running into your interview without a chance to catch your breath or take a minute to pat down your subway blown hair or check your teeth for broccoli.
  • Did your elevator pitch work? Was it too short, no personality, did you talk too fast. These are all things you can correct for the next step.

DID YOU PROVE YOU ARE QUALIFIED FOR THE JOB?

  • Did you do well on the technical and job description related questions? Write down the questions you can remember. Grade them – which ones need improvement, which ones you could expand on and how you could improve your answers for the next interview. Highlight your strong points and make sure to mention them in the “Thank you Note”.

DID YOU DAZZLE THEM WITH YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE COMPANY?

  • You already have your questions written down that you asked them about the job and the company (RIGHT). Again, grade them, which ones impressed the interviewers, which ones were not answered to your satisfaction (ie future growth, training, etc).
  • Do you need to do more research on the company, especially on their plans for the future and where their growth is?

WRITE A THANK YOU NOTE

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.

  • After you have analyzed how the interview went go home and write a professional but personal thank you note.
  • Thank you for their time.
  • Expand on why you are a good fit for this position and the company. Be specific, don’t just generalize. “My background in leading and mentoring a team of 7 developers while at … will …..”
  • Tell them how much you enjoyed the interview and that you are looking forward to their call.

CONNECT/NETWORK

  • Should you connect on LinkedIn? Check them out for sure, if they have 500+ connections then go ahead and request a connection. If they only have a few connections then wait until you get the job. Should you connect on LinkedIn? Check them out for sure, if they have 500+ connections then go ahead and request a connection. If they only have a few connections then wait until you get the job.
  • Definitely follow their company accounts, ie Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • Stay away from their personal accounts.

ARE YOU WORKING WITH A RECRUITER?

  • Call them after you finish your notes. Let them know what you thought of the interview and whether you want to pursue the job. Most recruiters have a good rapport with their clients and are able to get a good idea of how you did in the interview. What they liked about you and what you need to improve. These insights will help you in future interviews.

Every job interview is a learning experience. Be critical, be positive. Don't wing it. At the end of the interview, you need to decide do you want the job or not. Is this a company I want to work for, is it the environment I want to spend 5 days a week working in. Your notes and your analysis will help you make educated decisions in finding and attaining the right position for you.