Universal emotions

According to this interesting blog post there are seven emotions that are universally common. During a job interview it could be important to be aware of this and to know how to identify these emotions through facial cues and body language.

This article (pdf)looks at the issue from a sales perspective but much of the information applies to job interviews as well.

Job search safety

Technology has changed how we live our lives and how we look for work. Because most of us were not raised in an era where this type of technology was prevalent we may not be aware of some of the risks involved in using the Internet to look for work.

This article does a nice job of detailing how you can protect yourselfand your identity while you look for work online.

3. Know how to spot bogus job ads.
Job-related identity theft scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Despite the best screening efforts used by career sites, scammers always find a way in. You might be looking at a fake job ad if it:
o Offers considerable pay with few to no duties
o Promises payment of wages in cash
o Contains no physical address or contact person
o Requires you to open a new bank account or accept company checks to “test” a wire transfer service

Craigslist has many local job listed but I believe you are better off ignoring postings that are anonymous.

Now Hiring

132 Victoria employers want your resumes

Cover letter tips

Let’s start off the week by looking at some articles on cover letters which will give you lots to think about.

Top 5 Tips on How to Create an Effective Cover Letter
Keep Negative Info Out of Your Cover Letter
10 Reasons Why this Cover Letter Rocks

Non-anglo names barrier for job hunters: Study

Some of you may have noticed this high-profile news story from yesterday. A new study indicates that job applicants with English-sounding names on their resumes are 40 per cent more likely to be called for an interview than those with Chinese, Indian or Pakistani names.
You should read the whole study(40 pp. pdf)if you are curious about this or want more information but I would like to point out a couple of items of interest.

Even when applicants had identical Canadian work experiences and educational backgrounds, every 100 resumes with English names resulted in roughly 16 calls from employers. For every 100 resumes with Asian names, only 11 generated calls from employers. That means a resume with an English name was 40-per-cent more likely to generate a call back.

Leaving apart the obviously distressing implications of the above paragraph this confirms the conventional wisdom about sending in resumes for posted jobs. The call-back rate from employers is very low (16% and 11%) in this case. If you are not networking and meeting employers this would mean you would only get between 11 and 16 call-backs for every 100 resumes you send out. Only sending out resumes to posted jobs is a very passive approach.

The other item I wanted to point out from the study was this interesting point about Canadian work experience:

Employers valued experience acquired in Canada much more than if acquired in a foreign country. Changing foreign resumes to include only experience from Canada raised callback rates to 11 percent.  Among resumes listing 4 to 6 years of Canadian experience, whether an applicant’s degree was from Canada or not, or whether the applicant obtained additional Canadian education or not had no impact on the chances for an interview request.

 This underlines the importance of gaining work in your field. Employers seem to value this more than gaining further credentials in this country.

Growing your network

This excellent blog post has 37 tips for building you offline and online network. Check out the whole article but I want to highlight a few important tips below:

1. Get an easy-to-remember email address. A good format is firstname.lastname@webmail.com where “webmail” is Gmail, Yahoo Mail, etc. Use this address for job search/work purposes only.

3. Prepare an elevator pitch. In 30 seconds you need to be able to describe who you are and which problems your expertise can solve. Practice until it comes naturally. Tweak as you go, judging by listener response.

28. Find a mentor or mentoring community. You want people who have achieved your goals and can help you achieve similar success. Take your mentor out for lunch and pick their brain.

The in-demand programming skills

Software Engineers and Programmers will want to take note of this postfrom the Career UpShift blog which identifies the skills tech employers are looking for.

Companies are looking for specific skill sets: Anything that is hard core algorithms, pattern recognition, statistics — applying algorithms to real world data. If you have these skills you are likely to have a better chance to find an opportunity. You may even find you’ll get multiple offers.

Other timely skills: AJAX/Javascript, Objective C, Java, PHP or Ruby on Rails. Demand for iPhone programmers…

Listen up

This blog post about finding and keeping a job in a shrinking market is worth your time to check out. I want to highlight this interesting section:

Interview with your ears. Eighty-five percent of all job seekers talk too much in the interview. Listen closely to what the employer needs then respond as someone who can satisfy those needs. An open-ended question such as “Could you please tell me more about that?” will elicit additional information from an interviewer as well as clearly demonstrate your interest in learning more about the position.

I don’t know where the 85% number comes from but it rings true to me as many people see conversational opportunities as a chance to speak but not to listen. This probably holds true for interviews but whatever the percentage the message about listening attentivley is worth noting. Truly understanding and responding appropriatly to a question is one way we demonstrate to employers that we are suitable for a position.

Picture this

Here’s why you don’t need to include your picture on your resume.

You and your references

Having an employment reference on our resume who doesn’t remember us or who gives a lukewarm reference can mean a lost job opportunity. While doing some research I stumbled upon this page (pdf) that does a good job of summing up the ins and outs of references.

Key points:

  • Check in with your references to get their permission and let them know you are still looking for work (especially if you haven’t talked with them in a while)
  • Make sure the contact info (email addresses and phone numbers) are correct