6 questions

This blog post provides a set of questions that if answered honestly, provide an opportunity for self-assessment.

Camosun/VIATeC Trades & Technology Career Fair

Camosun/VIATeC Trades & Technology Career Fair Thursday, April 9 @ Interurban Campus, Technologies Centre, 10am-2pm Sponsored by VIATeC and presented in partnership with the School of Trades & Technology, this year’s Trades & Technology Career Fair will bring together specialist employers who want to connect with you and share career options in their organizations. You’ll have a chance to hear presentations in areas such as renewable energies and learn more about trends in the trades & technologies workplace. This is your chance to mix and mingle with employers and secure your career future in your chosen field of study.

Here for details

What’s in a name ?

Think about the last ten jobs you applied for. How many of them were of the on-line variety ? I’m guessing almost all of them. Unless the organization you apply to has their own unique resume creation and submission system (like UVIC), your email and resume is going to sit in an in-box until they get around to clicking on it.

This article at Career Hub reminds us that the filename we choose to give our resume represents a marketing opportunity – one that should not be ignored.

… your first and last name always be included in the file name. It is also a good idea to include a word or short keyword phrase that describes your main skill set or industry (for example, CFO, Marketing Executive, etc.). It is important to keep the keyword phrase fairly short, so as not to create an unwieldy file name that extends beyond fields in a database or beyond the edge of the reader’s window or screen (such as on a Blackberry). A further recommendation is to separate words with hyphens for readability. I have found that underscores (_) also work well for this purpose.

Following is a sample structure for an effective file name:

It’s a tiny detail to be sure but sometimes the small things make all the difference. Besides, we can’t afford to pass up a marketing opportunity – especially one like this that takes almost no effort.

Multicultural events

The Greater Victoria Public Library website now has a page that lists upcoming multicultural events. Check it out here.

The passive job search

This blog post includes from Fortify Your Oasis, looks at some economic issues but also discusses the various paths toward finding a new job. Typical job search activities normally include:

  • Waiting for the phone to ring
  • Print advertisements
  • Online advertisements
  • Placement agencies
  • Cold-calling employers
  • Personal contacts and your wider network
  • These are listed in order of how passive they are. The most passive approach is simply waiting for an employer to call us. This rarely happens but if you talk to many job seekers this is the approach that is commonly followed.

    If you look at this list and find yourself spending time doing things at the top of the list rather than the bottom then it is likely that your job search approach is simply too passive in nature.

    If you want to be an proactive, efficient  job seeker focus 90% of your energy and time on the items at the bottom of the  list.

    Interviewing 101

    This article in the Seattle PI serves as a reminder that it is the little things in a job interview that make all the difference.

    If you aren’t making it past the first or second interview rounds, you need help figuring out what isn’t working. The No. 1 complaint given by employers in a USA Today survey about job candidates during interviews was “poor communication skills.” Career coaches can help you with preparation, practice and professional, unbiased and expert perspective. You need to be prepared for the tough questions: Why should we hire you? What is your greatest weakness? Have you ever been fired? How you answer matters greatly. The “deer in the headlights” response will only get you back out pounding the pavement.


    Job growth ?

    Today’s Times-Colonist features an article that looks at various job sectors on Vancouver Island and their potential for growth. I feel obligated to read these types of articles. They help me to understand the small and larger trend shifts that happen in our labour market. Anybody who is interested in career management or searching for work should seek out this type of information.

    The cold truth of the matter is that these type of articles, even one like this one that is based on economic analysis from a private consulting firm are inherently flawed. For example the construction sector has been placed in the vague “Declining at least in the short-term” category. I guarantee you that as recently as ten months ago there were projections about the construction sector that forecasted strong and ongoing demand for workers. What was this based on ? An inventory of large scale commercial construction projects, continuing strong demand for residential housing and an aging work force.

    What has happened since then ? Obviously a lot has changed in the last ten months. There continue to remain large-scale construction projects in the pipeline but many are now dependent on infrastructure funding from various levels of government. How long will governments be able to maintain deficit budgets while they attempt to stimulate the economy ? Unclear. The demand for residential housing has had a large drop-off.  Many new condominium projects in the Capital Region feature unsold units. The average construction tradesperson is nearing retirement age. But given recent stock market and mutual fund losses in the 20-30% range how many of them will retire ? Again, unclear.

    So if these types of articles are inherently flawed why do we give them our attention ? By acquiring information about short-term trends in the labour market we are able to connect this information to larger national and global trends which can help to guide us. Projections are a “best guess”. We don’t use them to make major decisions about our careers but as a tool to understand the bigger picture.

    Healthcare Career Fair

    The Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) is holding a career fair on March 9th. VIHA is one of the largest employers on Vancouver Island with over 15,000 workers. Beyond medical professions they hire tradespeople, administrative and other non-medical support staff.

    For details on the career fair see their poster(pdf).

    Also check out their public job postings.

    What Not To Do

    An email enquiry to an employer should be as formal as the traditional business letter it sometimes replaces. You wouldn’t write something like the following, would you ?

    i would like to put an ap in are u able to fax me a ap i didnt do up a resume yet i am working on it u think we could work somthing out thank you!

     But apparently at least one person on the planet thinks this is an appropriate way to contact an employer. Check here for the source of this misguided missive and for further clarification on the need for polished and professional communications.