Supercharge Your Social Media for Job Search

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

Last week a colleague of mine was headhunted through LinkedIn — again. Not surprisingly, his profile is focused and robust, laden with great keywords and featuring a fabulous profile picture in a striking red cardigan. But although job searchers are using social media with more frequency and sophistication than a few years ago, many I talk to are not getting scouted, nor are they confident they’re creating content that is truly leveraging their job search and wowing potential employers with bang-on headlines and profile information.

On Tuesday, September 16th, the Central Library is hosting How To Supercharge Your Social Network for Your Job Search, a program designed to answer these questions. From 9:30 – 12:00 in the Library Theatre, three speakers, including Melissa McCluskey, VP of Communications for Mark Staffing, have been invited to address issues such as:

  • What information you should be posting online and where you should be posting it?
  • Are wondering how (or if) a potential employer uses your information they find online?
  • Are confused about what social media sites you should have your profile on, so potential employers can find you?
  • What kind of information is acceptable and what kind of information is dangerous?

Register for this free event online, or call 403-260-2620.

I recommend you adopt this brave strategy: invite coworkers and friends to view your accounts and offer honest feedback. Does your profile picture make you look weary? Is your Twitter feed sending out positive, professional messaging? Would they show your Facebook page to their grandmother? And if you are still stuck, the Calgary Public Library has a steady stream of new social media books, ebooks and articles to inspire and challenge your assumptions.

Beancounters Aren't Boring

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

Based on last year’s inaugural success, the Alberta Accountants Unification Agency is hosting its second annual Accounting and Finance Career Expo. I met with Nancy Green, Manager of Career Services with the AAUA, to chat about strategies and tips for this January’s event, which has attracted 30 employers:

Nancy, Robert Half and other surveys are showing steady growth in the accounting and finance fields. Are there any current hiring trends that job seekers need to be aware of?

The forecast is good for the industry, but companies are being careful with hiring decisions. While technical skills are important, they’re also focusing on soft skills such as critical and analytical thinking, leadership qualities, and the ability to develop and bring forward recommendations. It’s important that candidates think about these skills before the job fair, and to be open to looking beyond work experience to draw out these qualifications. Remember that you can pull out transferable skills from other areas of your life.

Nancy, we heard that last year there were still participants who could have been better prepared for the event. Do you have any suggestions?

For those who have registered online (do it soon!) we email you tip sheets and information prior to the event, and you are strongly encouraged to read them. As for tips:

  1. Know yourself and your skills, and be ready to speak to them
  2. Dress business casual or formal. A collared shirt is a necessity for men
  3. Come prepared by researching the company and developing specific questions to ask company representatives. Remember not to monopolize their time, and keep your interaction to 5 minutes
  4. Bring your business cards, notebook, pen and resume
  5. If you are offered a card or contact information by an employer, remember to follow up with them within a week. A simple thank you is a good first step
  6. Smile, be genuine, and have a firm handshake
  7. Leave the backpack at home!

You mention that job seekers can bring their resumes. Are all the companies accepting them?

Expect that most companies will refer visitors to their website or job boards. This doesn’t mean you can’t use the opportunity to talk to recruiters about the range of career paths within their company, or the key skills required for the jobs you are interested in. And remember that this is a great networking opportunity to talk to professionals in your industry.

Nancy, does your agency provide support to job seekers trying to improve their employment readiness?

Yes. If a job seeker is a registered CGA, CMA or CA member in Alberta or is a student registered in the CGA, CMA, CA or CPA programs in Alberta, they should email me at ngreen@albertaaccountants.org to see what services we have that can help, such as interview preparation or resume advice.


Need more networking tips? Calgary Public Library has a big selection of books loaded with inspiration and practical tips.

Need help finding them? Call our friendly staff at 403-260-2782.


Keeping Your Head and Nailing the Interview

by Roberta

A nice, fresh batch of career books recenty arrived, and there are some very solid reads in the bunch. Here are some of my favourites, and reasons why:

Keeping Your Head after Losing Your Job: How To Survive Unemployment, by Robert Leahy

The buzz: Advice and strategies to help boost your self-esteem and confidence, decrease anxiety and feelings of helplessness, and develop resilience and strength during unemployment. Dr. Leahy’s thesis is that by keeping your head and learning how to deal with your situation, you can learn how to live your life more effectively when you get a job.

What I love so far: How to accept uncertainty, challenging your reasons for worrying, dealing with unemployment as a family.

The Everything Job Interview Question Book, by Dawn Rosenberg McKay

The buzz: Strategies for hundreds of interview questions to increase your confidence, along with help on handling inappropriate questions, advice on questions to ask employers, and tips on handling remote interviews.

What I like so far: Behavioural interview questions, guidance on how to communicate what you can bring to the company, and follow up advice.

The Subversive Job Search: How to Overcome a Lousy Job, Sluggish Economy, and Useless Degree to Create a Six-Figure Career, by Alan Corey

The buzz: A narrative, unconventional, self depricating and humourous little book full of career advice and Corey’s sly techniques on how to create a lucrative job.

What I like so far: How he recovered from “financial implosion”, his boldness, and his “subversive job tips.”

The Essential Job Interview Handbook, by Jean Baur

The buzz: Offers detailed interview strategies and solid insights into the logic behind the questions, while encouraging thoughtful and extensive preparation

What I like so far: A Good, Better and Best strategy for examining questions, years of professional experience to back up the advice, and lots of pull out tips for quick reference.

21 Days to Success Through Networking: The Life and Times of Gnik Rowten, by Ron Sukenick and Ken Williams

The Buzz: Written to help you meet and prepare for the reality of successful job hunt by presenting scenarios through the perspective of a fictional character to learn how to extend, deepen, and effectively use your personal and business networks.

What I like so far: His method of pulling out critical and “Aha” moments to drive home important networking concepts, and a quick and effortless read that prompts contemplation.

Paying and Powering it Forward

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

Odette helps a customer with their resume Career Coaching at the Central LibraryVolunteers power two of our most popular programs for job seekers at the Central Library, Strategic Networking and Career Coaching. Drawing from years of experience as recruiters, human resource managers and career practitioners, this dynamic group brings energy, expertise and practical advice to our sessions every Thursday evening. With 2000 volunteers throughout our organization, the Library understands and highly values their vital role.

Recently I was asked: Can volunteering help or enhance one' s job search?

The founder and president of Act Three, a Cincinnati-based firm that helps women get back into the workforce, believes so. In a recent article, Julie Shifman elaborates on her top seven reasons why, including volenterring is important:

  1. You acquire new skills.
  2. Volunteering can show you're staying engaged in the work world and learning new skills.
  3. You improve your LinkedIn profile.
  4. You make new contacts.
  5. You’ll get a feel for today’s work environment.
  6. You gain an in-depth knowledge about a specific cause.
  7. Your self-confidence will grow

The last point rings especially true to me, as I have seen the effects of a protracted job search on morale and self worth. Isolation, rejection and frustration can take its toll, and giving back is one of the easiest ways to help shift a mindset.

Calgary based Propellus (formerly Volunteer Calgary) has made it easy to search for positions that suit individual needs and talents. Its online database helps secure suitable matches, which can often result in longer placements and greater satisfaction on both ends.

Ready to take that next step? Join us this Thursday November 28th at 5:30 p.m. at the Central Library, as our Strategic Networking host Lidia invites a speaker to discuss their views on volunteering in the community, and its potential to help job seekers.

And if you have ever dreamed of being a mascot, or helping bring reading and books back into the lives of Calgary's seniors, have a peek at the wide range of volunteer opportunities right here at the Calgary Public Library.

Mistletoe and Mingling

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

As this is the season to mix and mingle, we are featuring our popular interview from last year with local management consultant Lisa Dare about networking strategies during the holidays. Here is some of what she had to say:

Lisa, we have heard that contrary to popular belief, Christmas holidays are actually a promising time to secure a new position. Do you agree?

That’s a great question and yes, it is a myth that holidays or quieter times of business aren't a good time to be looking for work. Consider that most job seekers mistakenly assume that activity slows down in companies and therefore decrease their search efforts. By virtue of that thinking, this creates less competition and easier entry into speaking with potential employers. At the moment, the job market is pretty hot as I spoke with several HR recruiters from the oil & gas industry last week who have not seen any decrease in their workload. Also, while people may not secure a position right away at this time, it’s still a good idea to have informational interviews and gather market information on various industries as people generally tend to be in a much more receptive frame of mind around the holidays.

Is it quantity over quality during big parties? Should the goal be to connect with as many people as possible?

I would always choose quality over quantity. There is a tendency towards thinking that the higher the number the better the odds. However, from a strategic point of view, it is important to consider the best use of time and resources. Are you better off handing out your business card to 50 people whom you may not remember, or speaking with 5 or 6 people with whom you made a strong connection and then continuing to build those relationships? People will also find that by investing time in cultivating those relationships, the numbers will come—that’s the power of networking combined with strong relationship building skills.

What about party etiquette when someone is networking? For example, is it wise to stay clear of the rum and eggnog?

It’s important to remember that in these types of events you are always “on.” Be aware of what type of image and impression you are conveying to the public. It is not to say that you shouldn’t be yourself but depending on the context of your situation, it might be wise not to over imbibe as you want to be able to put your best self forward and not an altered version of yourself. There are many an office party story that has resulted in unfortunate outcomes for both staff and managers alike—you want to steer clear of becoming one of those characters.

Do you have any other networking advice over the holiday season?

While it is important to continue your efforts over the holidays, don’t forget to take time out for yourself. Ensure that you have sufficient time to attend to yourself and those around you as well as continuing with your job search. Look for different opportunities and events that are connected to what you are looking for. In addition, volunteer opportunities, community events, spousal parties and events within your network may also hold possibilities so be open to all opportunities. Most importantly—stay positive. This is the season to reflect on what we are grateful for and look forward to greater possibilities.

Lisa Dare is a management consultant, leadership & executive coach, and facilitator. She is also the incoming president of the Calgary Association of Professional Coaches and a volunteer with the Central Library’s Strategic Networking program that runs every Thursday evening at the Central Library. She can be reached at ld_assoc@telus.net

New Rules: Applying to Job Postings

by Roberta

Debbie Mastel, from Devon Energy, literally lit up the Central Library during Strategic Networking during Stampede week. Her flashing red, rhinestone, cowgirl hat set the stage for some rousing discussions regarding recruiting trends. Debbie caused a stir when announced that the old rule of having 80% of the posted qualifications before applying for a job is no longer the standard. She stressed that applicants should have the qualifications from the first 1 - 2 bullets in the job posting before they consider applying. The employer wil usually rank qualifications in order of importance to the job. She suggested that one great way to highlight those skills is to use the T format cover letter, something she urged everyone to do. Here were a few more pointers:

  1. Don’t e-mail your network just to say “hi.” She spoke about the volumes of resumes, e-mails and phone calls that recruiters get and she used herself as an example. On her day “off” last week, she spent 13 hours straight answering e-mails. Make sure you have a point or question to your e-mail before sending it.
  2. Don’t ask to pick someone’s brain or ask for general advice. Recruiters aren’t career coaches. People need to do their homework before contacting recruiters. Asking a recruiter to review your resume and then tell you where you’d fit in to their organization is not a good strategy. Candidates need to take advantage of services offered by places like the library to figure out where they envision their next career move to be. It’s difficult for a recruiter who doesn’t know a candidates passion to make suggestions on where they would fit in an organization. Keep in mind that companies aren’t looking for people to fill jobs, companies are looking for candidates that are passionate about what they do as well as their interest in the company.
  3. Don’t be rude. This seems like an obvious one but when someone is under a lot of pressure from a job search, it can really start to show. Make sure when you’re starting to get frustrated to take breaks. During a job search, nobody is there to pat you on the back when you do a great job (like getting an interview) so you have to be your own cheerleader. Make sure to reward yourself often to keep yourself motivated.

Strategic Networking continues all summer, a particularly great time to get out and meet new people. Our group of rotating volunteers lead discussions that offer new strategies for job search and for making meaningful connections in our community. VisitCalgary recently created this list of Calgary events that will keep you motivated in a city brimming with activity.

Enhancing Your Job Search through Social Networking

by Janice - 0 Comment(s)

source: MBAonline (click on image for full infographic)

Accelerate Your Career 2012

Saturday, May 12, 2012, Central Library

Enhancing Your Job Search through Social Networking
10:15–12:15pm • Basement Room #2 •
Register online or call 403-260-2620


 

Enhancing Your Job Search through Social Networking is a popular program offered at the library in partnership with Bow Valley College (BVC) Career Connection. We asked Jill, a BVC Career Coach who will be presenting the program during our all-day Accelerate Your Career 2012 event, a few questions about how social networking can be used to find work.


 

Jill Nikiforuk, BVC Career Connection1. Why is it important that job seekers embrace social media?

Social media can boost the job search process by adding exponential value to the all-important networking component of job searching. Networking is the number one way to find a new job opportunity! Job seekers can very easily reach out to and research potential networking contacts through social media before making face-to-face contact. Social media also gives the job seeker access to vital information from the industries and companies of interest. While social media is most useful as a networking and informational tool for job seekers, many employers also post jobs this way—with Twitter being the best place to find up-to-date job postings.

2. Can you tweet your way to a job in Calgary?

Yes! This micro-blogging type of social media can boost the job search process. Twitter allows job seekers to follow experts in their field and to follow companies they are interested in, which in turn, keeps them up-to-date in their target industries. Job seekers can also professionally contribute to twitter conversations that can draw positive attention from potential employers. It is very impressive in an interview if a candidate can show that she or he has been following the latest news a company has posted.

3. How are employers using LinkedIn to find candidates?

Employers are using keywords to search potential candidates on LinkedIn. This allows recruiters and hiring managers to pre-screen candidates and search potential employees worldwide. (Like resumes, LinkedIn profiles should be laden with keywords that describe career-specific skills and personal characteristics.) LinkedIn profiles also can be more detailed than a two-page resumé, therefore giving additional information to hiring personnel.


 

Jill Nikiforuk is a Career Coach at Career Connection, Bow Valley College who offers guidance for career planning, and teaches clients how to sharpen their job search marketing tools and skills. Career Connection is a free career service for all under-employed and unemployed Albertans.


Accelerate Your Career 2012

Saturday, May 12, 2012, Central Library

Career Conversations • 11am–3pm • Main Floor • Sign up during event
Resume Help • 11am–3pm • Main Floor • Preregister: call 403-260-2782
Career Serving Agencies • 10am–3pm • Main Floor • Drop-in
Interview Strategies and Techniques • 10:30am–12:30pm • Third Floor • Register online or call 403-260-2620
Company and Employer Research • 1–2pm • Third Floor Open Area • Register online or call 403-260-2620
Power Networking • 2:30–4pm • Third Floor Open Area • Register online or call 403-260-2620
Enhancing Your Job Search through Social Networking • 10:15–12:15pm • Bsmt Rm #2 • Register online or call 403-260-2620
Work Search on the Internet • 1–4pm • Third Floor Learning Lab • Register online or call 403-260-2620

The T-Cover Letter Strikes Again

by Janice - 2 Comment(s)

Last week we blogged about the T-Cover Letter—a cover letter style that is enormously popular with hiring managers. Our Strategic Networking volunteer Debbie Mastel has forwarded us another example of how one of our customers used the T-Cover Letter format to successfully find work:

"The T Cover letter is the most effective cover letter I have come across in my entire professional career. It was introduced to me by Debbie in one of the strategic networking sessions I attended at the library. From the time I heard about it, it really did strike me and I know it was the correct formula I needed to grab employer attention. By that time I was around just 5 weeks in Canada and everything was new to me. I was quick enough to change my formats to T letter and also customize my resume to go with that.

Within a week I got an interview at a Big Oil & a Gas Company, and another one at a IT company. I almost got the Oil & Gas job, and the Hiring manager was complimentary of my cover letter. After about 2 weeks I got an interview at DeVry University and now I am working there.

I am glad to say I attended that networking session and met Debbie, where I learned all about the best secret in finding employment—the T cover letter. Thanks to it, I am now working in less than 12 weeks from moving to Canada. I think it’s a great tool and many people should start using it, it also helps you focus and identify your suitability to the job and helps you easily focus on applying for a specific job target rather than being too general."

Have you had success with the T-Cover Letter? We want to hear about it.
Click HERE to post your experiences in the comment box below.


See the previous blog post for more examples about the T-Cover Letter format: The T-Cover Letter.

For more information about our Strategic Networking program that runs on the Third Floor of the Central Library every Thursday evening from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. or other examples of cover letters or resumes contact us:

Central Library
Third Floor
403-260-2782
busn@calgarypubliclibrary.com

The T-Cover Letter

by Janice

Debbie MastelThe style and formatting of excellent resumes and cover letters can vary depending on geography and industry and change over time. The T-cover letter is a newer format that is tremendously popular with hiring manager and recruiters. Debbie Mastel, one of the library's Strategic Networking program volunteers, answered a few of our questions about the T-cover letter:

When should someone use a T cover letter?

DM: It doesn’t matter if you’re using transferable skills or an exact match to a posting, the T cover letter should always be used. If you don’t have a posting then you can do some research to figure out what you think the requirements for their organization would be. This can be done by getting old postings or postings from other companies. This style is also difficult when writing a cover letter in to an e-mail instead of an attachment so I recommend people have templates for the letter that can easily be used in either Word format or e-mails.

Do you prefer the format? Why?

DM: Yes, I do prefer the T cover letter format, as I believe it serves three main purposes:

  1. It assists the recruiter, especially if they’re junior and working on technical roles. It allows applicants to clarify acronyms, or similar systems they may have worked on.
  2. When a recruiter is using key words to score resumes. Because of volume, sometimes recruiters rely on systems to rate resumes. According to Right Management, 94% of the top 500 U.S. companies are now using computer programs to evaluate resumes. Canada is sure to follow suit.
  3. When you’re using transferable skills to obtain a position. Countless times I’ve received resumes from people clearly using transferable skills but I can’t make the connection. I remember a colleague of mine once getting the resume for a fellow who groomed ski hills and had mentioned she didn’t see him fitting anywhere. Luckily it was brought to her attention that he might be a fit for a Heavy Equipment Operator position. We ended up hiring him as that but other people aren’t so lucky.

Recruiters don’t have time to figure out where you fit, that’s your job. The t-letter cover letter makes you articulate why you are qualified for the role. This is what you’re asking for, this is what I have.

Would you suggest that any job hunter should use this format for their cover letters? Are there any instances in which you wouldn't prefer the T cover letter?

DM: The only time I can think of that this format may not work is for Academics or people that need to submit a CV instead of a resume. I’m not that familiar with this area but that’s the only example I can think of. I would welcome comments from others if they have reasons this cover letter wouldn’t work for them.

Can you give one or two anecdotal examples of people you've hired or Strategic Networking customers who have found that the T cover letter opened doors that may not have otherwise been opened?

DM: I asked some job searchers to share their feelings about the usefulness of the T-cover letter. Here is one response:

The reason I believe the two-column T cover letter worked well for me in the past was because it was significantly different than writing three or four paragraphs as in a standard cover letter.

The T cover letter was simple to use. First, I underscored the keywords or phrases in the job description’s requirements and qualifications sections that fit my background, experiences, and skill sets. Then, I filled out the position’s key requirements in the table’s left column and aligned them with my matching skill sets or experiences in the right column.

The concisely-worded bullet points in two column format immediately captured the hiring manager’s attention without him having to read longer paragraphs. My T cover letter intrigued and interested him. I was able to zero in on the value I could provide that related to the hiring manager's and position's needs, and, consequently, the hiring manager continued with reviewing my resume. In summary, the T cover letter helped me to (1) focus my reply, (2) save time, and (3) avoid responses to inappropriate job postings.”

March 19: Debbie sent another response from someone who had great success with the T-Cover Letter:

"The T Cover letter is the most effective cover letter I did come across in my entire professional career. It was introduced to me by Debbie in one of the networking meeting I attended. From the time I heard about it, it really did strike me and I know it was the correct formula I was looking for to grab employer attention. By that time I was around just 5 weeks in Canada and everything was new to me. I was quick enough to change my formats to T letter and also customize my resume to go with that.

Within a week I got an interview at a Big Oil & a Gas Company, and another one at a IT company. I almost got the Oil & Gas job, and the Hiring manager was complimentary of my cover letter. After about 2 weeks I got an interview at DeVry University and now I am working there,.

I am glad to say I attended that networking meeting and met Debbie, where I learned all about the best secret in finding employment—the T cover letter. Thanks to it, I am now working in less than 12 weeks from moving to Canada. I think it’s a great tool and many people should start using it, it also helps you focus and identify your suitability to the job and helps you easily focus on target than be general in applying. Thanks Debbie.”

For more information about the T-cover letter:

A template of the T-cover letter: Workopolis Sample of the T-style cover letter.

Thoughts from another recruiter on the T-cover letter: The "T" Cover Letter—The Only Type Worth Sending.


Debbie Mastel volunteers with the enormously popular Strategic Networking program that runs on the Third Floor of the Central Library every Thursday evening from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Debbie is a Critical Talent Specialist with Devon Energy Corporation in Calgary.

Which Sex is Better At Networking?

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

In one of her recent articles in the Globe and Mail, career management consultant Dr. Barbara Moses pondered this question and talked with colleagues:

The Networking Gender Gap, and How to Bridge It

Moses argues that women are better at networking and build community while they work the room, while men are more likely to get right to the point. Others argue that women are less willing to actively promote their skills and often don't commit enough time to the process. While opinions vary widely on the topic, networking is still the most effective way to discover job leads, make meaningful connections and share contacts with others.

The Calgary Public Library has books, dvds, E-books and online courses to help develop these skills and collect new ideas and strategies for your next opportunity to meet and connect. And don't forget about the Central Library's Thursday night Strategic Networking sessions, where you can drop in and hone your schmoozing skills.

The Networking Survival Guide by Diane Darling

Networking for People Who Hate Networking by Devora Jack

12Showing 1 - 10 of 14 Record(s)