Tuesday, September 30, 2008

No No No, Don't make me write my résumé

Anytime someone presents me with their résumé and asks me what I think, I ask them if it has been getting them interviews. If the résumé is getting interviews it is doing exactly as it is supposed to and what I think doesn’t really matter. Lots of résumé writers will tell you that the last person to write your résumé did a horrible job. Hey, it’s an ego thing. Résumés and cover letters can be so subjective. What one person thinks is great will be thought of as garbage by another.

Most people dread the thought of writing their résumé for a number of reasons. First, there is the fear of writing. Then, there is the fear of having to make ones self sound good, combined with the "not believing they were very good at what they did in the first place". If they were so good at it they wouldn’t be out of work, right? There are also those who simply say it is just too hard.

The first thing a person has to do before they write their résumé is get in touch with exactly how good they really were at whatever it was they were doing. If you were proud of what you did, it will be a whole lot easier to tell someone. A résumé is not about bragging, it is about selling “you” as the right person to interview for the job.

Having a good understanding of your job’s purpose and what happened when you did it, sets you up to write an awesome résumé.

Now go write your résumé. Besides, the last person to write it probably did a horrible job.

Your comments are welcome.

Glen Slingerland Skills 101 / Job Development

Thursday, September 25, 2008


During the mock interviews in our employment services workshops, we often ask the question what important things are you looking for in a job? It got me thinking about values. Anytime you are about to embark on a job or career search it is important to think about your values. What sparks you? What motivates you to the point where you can not wait to get to work in the morning?

Making lots of money may not be your number one motivator, although we all want to make enough to live on. Maybe a job that gives you some sort of purpose is what really matters. This process can take some serious soul searching and time. Sometimes whatever it is that sparks us is something we have already been doing as a hobby or in a volunteer capacity. If that is case, the next step might be to find out of there is away to make a living at it.

After working briefly for a large chain furniture store it soon became important to me that I work in a field where nobody gets rich from the sweat off my back. From there, I zeroed in on the world of not-for-profit. I soon discovered there were lots of jobs that pay decent salaries and give you the opportunity to work for causes that often make our world (community) a better place.

Now, I will not speak ill of the “For Profit Environment”. Most of my working life was in that world and 90% of it was a lot of fun and paid very well. The message is, take the time to think about what is important to you. It can make getting up in the morning a lot more fun.

Your comments are welcome.

Glen Slingerlands Skills 101/ Job Development

Monday, September 22, 2008

Over Qualified

The first time a person is told they are over qualified for a position, they may actually feel pretty good. “Hey, I am too good to work there.” By the third or forth time a person hears it, they may start to believe there is a problem. The over-qualified card can be dealt for a number of reasons. If there is too much information or education on your résumé that goes beyond the job you’re applying for, you may be disqualified as being over qualified.

Sometimes being over qualified can be handed out during the interview. At that point the reason may be more about fit than anything else. The interviewer may not believe you will fit in with the group. Being over qualified is a very easy out for any interviewer.

If you suspect you are not getting positions or interviews for this reason there are a couple of steps you can take. Firstly, ask yourself if you truly are over qualified, why are you going after this job? When it comes to the interview you will need a good explanation that sells the interviewer on the value of hiring someone with your skills and squash any fears they may have that you will be bored with the position after a week. The interviewer will also need to believe you are a team player and not coming in to upset the apple cart or have your own agenda.

Showing up in a three piece suit for a job where the dress code is blue jeans may also get you over qualified.

As for the résumé, it should only contain the information needed to show you are the right candidate. Be careful with your previous titles. They may not want to hire a customer service agent who is a former District Manager.

Your Comments are welcome.

Glen Slingerlands Skills 101 / Job Development

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Seasons They Are A Changin'

Ahhh.. Nothing like a “change in the season” to motivate a person to look for work. Being unemployed during the summer is not a problem, no Paycheque can be a problem but for the most part another day without work is another day at the beach. Then, welcome to fall. This is a time when a person might start to wonder of they have enough nuts stored for the winter.

Fall is a time of year for change and thinking back over the years the larger percent of my career changes took place in the fall. If your job search is just beginning, now is an excellent time to get connected to your networks and take advantage of the employment services in your area. Employment counsellors, résumé assistance, job search help, there are numerous no-cost services available to you to help you on the road to employment. If you don’t know where you start, try the phone book, or if you are in the Chilliwack area simply go to our website www.cesbc.com.

Your comments are welcome.

Glen Slingerlands Skills 101 / Job development

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Networking without a résumé

Networking is an art. Some people are good at. Some aren’t. People who are really good at networking can find employment without a résumé. Now before you start muttering to yourself that everyone MUST have a résumé I want you to tell you about the “days of old, when knights were bold and résumés weren’t invented.” You see, back in the “olden” days, when a person wanted a job they would go around banging on doors to find out who was hiring. Sometimes they might have to bang on the same door more than once. Each time they went back to the same door, the person on the other side of the door was getting to know them, often on a first name basis.

Well guess what? Not a lot has changed. People get hired without résumés because they are hired by someone they know. Employers have always preferred to hire people they know, and networking is really about getting to know more people. I will often recommend people network without a résumé. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, why would you give anyone a résumé until you know exactly what it is they are looking for in the way of skills and experience, after all that is one of the reason you are networking in the first place. The other reason is that it takes the pressure of you and the person you are networking with. If you are networking properly you are not asking the person you are networking with if they have a job for you. You are trying to find out who IS hiring. The other reason to network without a résumé is, you will always have a reason to go back.

Your comments are welcome.
Glen Slingerlands Skills 101 / Job Development