Thursday, May 29, 2008

Résumé formats

I got into a discussion recently about résumés. It was about which style of résumé is the best one. How about the style that gets you the interview, or the style that best presents your skills and accomplishments as they relate to the job you are going after. It is also about understanding who the receiver is. Many recruiters want to see a chronological résumé. They like to see everything laid out exactly the way you have been working. They might want to know if you have been recently doing the type of work they are trying to fill.

A lot of employers want to know that you have the ability to do the job they need done, so a skills based accomplishment résumé or functional style might work. The best advice I can give someone is find out ahead of time. Make connections with people who do the hiring in the industry you are interested in and ask them what they want to see. Tell them you are updating your résumé and will follow up next week with a new one and perhaps get some input or a crtique.

Now you have another reason to go back and continue networking with this new contact.

Glen Slingerlands Skills 101/ Job Development

Monday, May 26, 2008


The other day I was thinking about the whole concept of networking and how it often comes off a little self centred. Let’s face it, the reason we are networking when we are out of work in the first place, is to hopefully connect with someone who will lead us to our next job. The problem with this approach is that if every time you to talk to someone and you ask if they have heard of any openings lately, each connection is about you.

It is important to cultivate mutual relationships during the networking phase. Connect with people and talk to them about them. Find out what is new in their life. Every once in awhile check in with people in your network and don’t even mention your job search. This way you will come off as being a little more multi-dimensional and not so Me! Me! Me! Your comments are welcome.

Glen Slingerlands Skills 101 / Job Development

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Find Balance

It is important to find balance in your job search. If the only jobs you are applying for are advertised positions in the newspaper or job bank, chances are you will be in for a long job search. Most advertised positions come with a lot more competition. However, if you can find balance between postings and networking there is a real good chance your search will be shorter. By networking we mean talking to people to find who is looking to hire people with your skills. For most employers their favourite way to hire is someone they know, or someone who comes highly recommended. Actually, their absolute favourite way to hire is from within but since you are not within, your mission should be to become someone they know or is recommended. Don’t ignore the newspaper or job banks; just make sure you include a daily balance of face to face contact.

Glen Slingerlands Skills 101 / Job Development

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Self Esteem and the Job search

Self Esteem is usually the first thing that needs lifting up when you find yourself unemployed.

Self-esteem is the way you feel about yourself. Many who lose their job feel as though they have lost their identity. They know they need to get out there and network, but find it very difficult when they feel so down.

Some people use this time and take a break or go on holiday. When they return they feel refreshed and ready to start again. Some get out there right away, mix with employed friends and make contacts. There are those who try to analyze “What happened”, often blaming themselves, and thinking negatively about their performance. They will sometimes take too long a break and then find they are not comfortable being around people or in social situations. They may even shy away from friends and turn down invitations. Having low self-esteem can turn into depression if left too long.

Now, with warmer weather on the way, BBQ’s are going to be plentiful and you may be invited to one. Fear of the question “So what do you do?” is no reason to stop mixing with people or networking. Now is the time to look for support from wherever you can find it. It’s amazing how when you meet other unemployed people in a room of 12, how much everyone has in common. By taking the time to rediscover your good qualities and strong skill sets you will feel your self-esteem changing.

Building up your self-esteem is a daily process and cannot be changed overnight.

If you feel your self-esteem is low and you really want to go to that next BBQ feeling confident in answering the “ So what do you do?” question, contact your local Employment Counsellor and attend a workshop for some moral support, and informative information.

You may even find it fun and rewarding, and besides you never know where you will meet your next potential employer.

Lesley Anderson / Job Coach / Facilitator - Skills 101

Monday, May 12, 2008

Lots of jobs. Where?

They were talking on the radio today about the low unemployment rate in our province (BC) and how easy it is to find work. However if you were to ask someone out of work how easy it is to find a job, they might have something else to say about that. Depending on where you live and the type of work you are looking for, it is not always that easy. Jobs in hospitality and retail may be abundant, but an out of work graphic designer trying to find work in a smaller community, or a job with less of a commute, may be finding it a real challenge. An out of work Woods Supervisor for a logging company might be wondering if he will ever find work in his industry again. The view of the employment or unemployment situation really depends on your vantage point.

The unemployment rate also has very little to do with a person’s ability to connect with work. Anyone who has been in the work force for a long time and ends up out of work has often lost touch with the job search process. Self esteem might be a little low, or the whole thought of getting out there and looking for work may seem overwhelming.

Fortunately there is help, good help at no cost by trained professionals. The first step is determining exactly what type of help is needed. Start with a trip to one of the local employment services agencies in your area. Whether it is fully supported job search assistance, or a self directed job search, there are excellent resources available that could seriously shorten your quest for work.

Glen Slingerland - Skills 101 / Job Development

Friday, May 9, 2008

New Immigrants + Skills 101 + Resume = Road to Success

Anyone who has come to Canada or Chilliwack recently from any English speaking country and looking for employment should read this carefully.

If you are legally allowed to work in Canada we can assist you in Canadian-izing your Resume and Job Search at no-cost. This may speed up the time it takes to connect with work.

There is so much opportunity however employers are picky.

There was a way you knew how to find employment back in your country and there is the Canadian way, accept the fact that you are now in Rome (Canada); Do what the (Canadians) Romans do!

We all have barriers to something, some people just do not like to admit to having barriers and some people don’t know they have barriers to employment and that’s the biggest barrier of all! Kudos to those who do know and are doing something about it!

What is a Barrier?

A barrier is something that is stopping you from getting what you really want.
A barrier can be attitude, age, not able to sell your skills, not knowing your skills, having no transportation, thinking you know it all, not having the correct certificate or license, education or telling the employer what you cannot do or have not got!
Not focused on your Resume. No cover letter. Not aware of how to carry out a proper Job Search or how to answer the dreaded interview questions correctly. All can be a barrier if you let it!

So, begin now by really focusing on what you want and try to find out what is stopping you from getting it. If you can give me three weeks of your life (mostly in the mornings 9:00-12:00) I can help you get started on the right Road to Success.

If you are a new English speaking immigrant to Chilliwack, there is a monthly meet every second Friday of the month (May 9, 2008) in Decades Coffee Club on Wellington, Chilliwack, come for a coffee and pie and a chat with other new immigrants.
We welcome new members and it’s all free.

Lesley Anderson / Job Coach / Facilitator / Skills 101- CES

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Résumé + Results = Interviews

Some people go ten or fifteen years between writing résumés. During that time a lot happens, and trying to get it down on paper is a challenge. Part of the problem is putting value in what we do. When we go to work and do the same, or similar thing, day in and day out, we become so good at it we can do it in our sleep. Then, when it is time to write a results driven resume, our first question is, "What did I do everyday?" My answer to that question the first time around was, "I didn't do ANYTHING. I just went to work and did my job. A monkey could do my job!"

Your chance of securing an interview with a résumé highlighting " a monkey could do my job" is very slim. Start by writing down everything you did during a typical workday. Include the skills you needed to perform each job. It is important to zero in on the skills and recognize the things you needed to know to complete each task. If a monkey could do your job there would be tire swings and the sweet smell of discarded banana peel throughout the office. Your job was so vital to the company you worked for, that somebody, somewhere along the line, decided they needed to hire someone to handle the responsibility. Even if the job doesn't exist any longer due to technology or cutbacks, you have to get in touch with the job's value before you can start writing your résumé.

Every job has purpose and so long as you were the person doing it, you were the expert. You knew what it takes to do the job. You knew what tools were needed and how to operate them. You knew how to recognize when the job was well done. These are the points to get across in your résumé.

Here is an example I use in my workshops. The electrician goes to the contractor to apply for a job. The contractor hires electricians all the time. He (or she) knows exactly what electricians do, so he doesn't need to see a résumé listing tasks. The one thing the contractor doesn't know is what happened when the electrician did their last job. The résumé that gets attention every time is the resume that focuses on what happened, what were the results. What is unique about how the electrician did the job? What makes this electrician better than the other electricians applying for the same job?

A simple way to think about results is to think about what would happen if the job weren't done properly. One gentleman said all he did was sweep and clean up the job site and he didn't think it was important to the over all project. So we started taking it apart. I asked him if he didn't sweep up the job site what would happen. He answered it would become extremely messy and unorganized. Then I asked what would happen if it was left messy and unorganized. His response, someone might trip and hurt themselves. Right there we had his first result, which was "ensuring a safe work environment for other trade workers."

You will make a better impression with results and accomplishments, and leave the duties and tasks to the monkeys.

Glen Slingerland - Skills 101 / Job Development

Monday, May 5, 2008

Target, Target, Target

I am one of those people who truly believe you have to do a full meal deal job search when looking for work. That means not relying on any one single method as a way of looking for work. Internet, newspaper, networking, it’s all important and it all ads up. People who tend to only look for work using one method are often on an extended job search.

Then out of left field I meet Cindy (the name has been changed to protect her identity). Anytime Cindy looks for work she only uses the internet. She looks for the work online, researches the company online and applies online. Never leaving the comfort of her home office or venturing out to meet and greet employers. She also has an extremely high ratio of call backs and interviews per application. I witnessed her receive ten call backs out of twelve applications. She may attend as many as six interviews before deciding on which position she will take. For her the deciding factor will be the people, the environment and the distance from her house. Hey, gas is expensive.

Why is she is so successful while others send out hundreds of applications and not hear a thing? She knows how to target her résumé and cover letter to each position. She also knows exactly what her skills are and which job matches those skill sets. She never applies for a job she thinks she can do. When she applys, she KNOWS she can do the job. That is the key. Too many people apply for positions they think they can do without having the right skills to be applying for the job in the first place.

Secondly, her cover letter and resume are well written. When you are applying online the job search becomes a level playing field. However the one thing that can set you apart is making sure your application is well written and error free.

Glen Slingerland - Skills 101 / Job Development

Friday, May 2, 2008

Unemployment - Not just a job, an adventure

Very few look at unemployment as a job. We've all heard the expression "your new full time job is finding a job". It's true. Your ability to find a job in the shortest period of time is in direct proportion to the amount of effort you put into it. Very few adventures start with rolling out of bed and "half past whatever", strolling out to the kitchen at around "quarter to whenever you feel like it". Then, thinking about having a relaxing bath at about "quarter after Oprah".

Approach the job search from the perspective of the true adventure it is and each day takes on its own flavour. One day you are exploring new companies, the next day you might be working on creative ways of getting your foot in the door.

The other facet to the adventure is the fact you are working on a clean canvas. You now have a chance to create an employment environment that could potentially bring you even greater job satisfaction. It could be a better job in the same line of work, or, training for a completely new career in a new line of work. It's your canvas, what type of picture do you want to paint?

Focus your job search safari on places you would like to work as opposed to where the work is. Obviously you can't lose sight of potential job openings, just remember job postings will mean you are in for serious competition. When there is no opening there is also no competition. By focusing on places you would like to work, whether they have openings or not, keeps you in control. You picked the company, you found out who the decision makers are, and now you get to go in, and make another determination as to whether you would want to work for them or not. During your investigation you might discover everyone in the organization is a little left of centre, and it may not be the right environment for you. Or, you might discover you have similar interests with one of the people within the hiring process and there is potential there to develop a good contact for future opportunities.

New places, new faces, make for a job search adventure. The people who look for work by wandering into an Employment Insurance office to see the latest job postings and then meander out grumbling because there was nothing on the board that interest them, are missing out on the fun. A relatively small percentage of jobs are actually found as a posted position.

Start your adventure by thinking about the types of businesses you would like to approach. Think about people who might be able to point you in the right direction or people you should follow up on. Write out a daily to-do list. You probably followed some form of a to-do list when you were working. Daily to-do lists during a job search will give you a gauge to measure your results and no one will yell out you for not getting everything done. On the other hand, the more you accomplish the better you feel about yourself. When you feel good about yourself it comes through in your attitude, the main ingredient to any job search. Attack your job search with the right attitude and it will BE an adventure.

Glen Slingerland - Skills 101/Job Development

Our first entry

Welcome to Chilliwack Employment Services new Blog. We felt it was about time someone dedicated a little space on the WWW to job search insights, tips, leads or whatever else we can come up with that would be specific to the Chilliwack Job Market. You might stumble across items written by one of our staff as well as contributions by people in the area who want to share their job search stories, challenges etc.

All we ask is that this space not be used as a place to bad mouth employers. You wouldn’t bad mouth a previous employer during an interview so that applies here as well. However, should we come across a local employer who is looking to hire, we may pass along their name. Got a question about the job search process, feel free to post it here. Chances are one of our job search specialist will have an answer for you. Of course if you’re really having difficulties connecting with work you can always drop by our office to discuss your problem. Chances are there is an excellent solution to that problem available to you right here in our fair little city.

So- let the blogging begin.

Glen Slingerland- Skills 101/Job Development