Talent Development Centre

All posts by Dan Gasser

What Independent Contractors Need to Know About Canada’s Anti-SPAM Legislation (CASL)

Dan Gasser By Dan Gasser,
Marketing Specialist at Eagle

What Independent Contractors Need to Know About Canada's Anti-SPAM Legislation (CASL)Canada’s Anti-SPAM Legislation (better known as CASL and often pronounced “castle”) officially came into force on July 1st, 2014 and is enforced by the CRTC, Competition Bureau and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. Its primary objective is to protect Canadians from unwanted, harmful electronic messages and computer programs or software. What you may not know is, thanks to this legislation, you may be missing out on job opportunities!

What Exactly is CASL?

In its simplest form, CASL requires that anybody sending a Commercial Electronic Message (CEM) must first obtain consent from their recipients. All CEMs sent must then also include their complete contact information and a functioning opt-out mechanism, where opt-out requests must be honoured within 10 days. These CEMs extend beyond email, and include text messages as well as other electronic communication mediums, like a LinkedIn or Facebook message.

Why Now?

As already mentioned, CASL was introduced in July 2014, but it included a transition period that ended on July 1st 2017. During that transition period, companies could continue emailing contacts with whom they had a relationship before 2014 without requiring further consent. In addition, although the government agencies were enforcing the new law, many believe they were still ‘testing the waters’ and now that the grace period has ended, enforcements will become more rigorous.

These two factors (as well as a now-suspended Private Right of Action that would have allowed individuals to sue spamming companies) are why you may have received a high volume of emails from companies this past Spring, asking you to consent to receiving further emails from them. Most organizations have always taken CASL seriously, but with the grace period ending, they wanted to ensure they were doing their due diligence to guarantee compliance.

How Does CASL Affect Independent Contractors?

Although the basic concept of CASL is clear, there are some “grey areas” of the law that is open to interpretation. Perhaps the most subjective piece as it pertains to job searching is when it comes to receiving job opportunities. Depending how you read it, job opportunities sent by recruiters may be considered CEMs and this naturally makes many staffing agencies cautious.

You may have already learned that some recruitment agencies are lenient in their interpretation, whereas other recruiters will push you aside if they do not have your consent to email you. Sure, they’re allowed to call you (but do you really want your phone ringing off the hook from recruiters, especially when you are working on a client site?), but without your consent, you may not receive any jobs opportunities or related material by email or text message.

The simplest way to ensure you’re getting information about jobs when you’re on the market is to provide express consent to all of the agencies with whom you want to work. By applying to a job, posting your email address to a job board or social network, or contacting a recruiter directly, you are giving implied consent; however, this expires over time. If there is an option somewhere to receive electronic communications, or if a recruiter asks for your permission to continue sending you emails, remember to say yes. You can always opt-out when you’re no longer looking for work.

What If You Want to Opt-Out of Recruiter Emails?

Perhaps you’re no longer looking for work, or maybe there’s an agency who you’ve decided is no longer the right fit for you. All companies are required under CASL to provide an opt-out mechanism in all of their CEMs. Keep in mind, though, just as express consent does not expire until you opt-out, opting-out does not expire until you opt back in. If you opt-out today and are looking for jobs again in 5 years, be sure you update your preferences.

If 10 days after you opt-out you’re still receiving what you believe are CEMs, your next step should be to call your recruiter directly to ask to be removed, and escalate as necessary. You may have not realized that opting-out of one thing (for example a newsletter) did not automatically opt you out of their job opportunities as well. Also, if a company’s opt-out mechanism is malfunctioning for any reason, they will appreciate your tip, given the fines for a CASL infraction can get up to $10 million. If after enough attempts, you still feel you’re being harassed with electronic communications, then you can report it at the Government of Canada’s SPAM Reporting Centre.

A plethora of content and documentation has been created about CASL over the last three years by various organizations, and they all have some different interpretations. If you’re unsure about anything, or would like more information you can visit the official CASL information website at fighspam.gc.ca.

MS Word Tip #7: How to Eliminate Tables in Your Resume

Organizing your resume with tables may help it look better, but can actually create complications when submitting it to an agency.  For example, an applicant tracking system may not be able to read it properly or it may cause extra work for a Proposal Writer trying to submit you to a client.  Regardless of the reason, if you have tables in your resume, you may want to remove them.  It may seem like a daunting task, but this video in the MS Word Resume Tips series provides some quick and easy ways to get rid of those tables.

MS Word Tip #6: Keeping Consistency in Your Resume

Dan Gasser By Dan Gasser,
Marketing Specialist at Eagle

Independent Contractors work on numerous projects throughout their career. In good practice, most contractors will keep their resume up-to-date, adding new project information as they’re completed.  As time progresses, though, it’s easy for the resume to be filled with inconsistencies in spellings, fonts, or formatting.  In this MS Word Resume Tips video, I go over a few very simple and fast ways that you can bring consistency back to your resume.

MS Word Tip #5: Spicing Up Your Headers and Footers

Dan Gasser By Dan Gasser,
Marketing Specialist at Eagle

Adding a professional touch to the resume you submit to an agency or client can really separate you from all of the other applicants.  A simple way to do this is by including a light header and footer, possibly including your name, contact information, and page numbers. This fifth video in the MS Word Resume Tips series discusses the basics of using headers and footers, as well as some information about easily adding page numbers.

MS Word Tip #4: Using Breaks in Your Resume

Dan Gasser By Dan Gasser,
Marketing Specialist at Eagle

Over the last few weeks, I shared some videos in the MS Word Resume Tips series.  Today’s video discusses breaks. Not the kind that involve coffee, but much more exciting breaks, like line breaks, paragraph breaks, page breaks and section breaks! If you’re not excited yet, or more importantly, if you’re not familiar with these breaks, take a look at this video and see if you can use them improve your resume today!

MS Word Tip #3: Setting Tab Spaces in MS Word

Organizing items horizontally can be a great way to clean up a resume and present it in a professional manner, especially in header information.  Using “creative” ways to achieve this can wreak havoc when trying to reformat a resume. In the last video of the MS Word Resume Tips series, I discussed some simple tools found in the paragraph menu.  As promised, this video explores the Tabs option, and explains how you can easily space items horizontally, as well as add leaders between the items.

MS Word Tip #2: Leveraging the Paragraph Menu

Dan Gasser By Dan Gasser,
Marketing Specialist at Eagle

Take advantage of this Microsoft Word menu to improve your resume

A couple weeks ago, I discussed some of the simplest and most favourite formatting tools in Microsoft Word. These are great tools for any professional, but it’s when you understand the more advanced formatting techniques that you can really impress somebody with your resume. In this second video of the MS Word Resume Tips, I take a look at some tools in the paragraph menu, including setting paragraph spacing, line spacing and indents.  Master these and you’ll easily be able to format a clean looking resume.

The Basics of Formatting a Resume in Microsoft Word

Dan Gasser By Dan Gasser,
Marketing Specialist at Eagle

The last few months have featured a series of articles in the Talent Development Centre with feedback from Eagle’s recruitment team on what they like to see in a resume. One of the most common pieces of feedback they have for independent contractors lies in formatting and structure. To help you out, we’ve put together a series of videos with tips and tricks for using Microsoft Word to create a recruiter-friendly resume.

In this first video, I go over some of the basic formatting features Word offers.  Most you likely already know, but there may be a few new tricks in here that will help you next time you update your resume. If there are any extra features you’d like to learn about, let us know in the comments section below!

All About an Independent Contractor’s Business Cards

Dan Gasser By Dan Gasser,
Marketing Specialist at Eagle

Do you have business cards? If not, you could be hurting your business. It may be something that’s been on your to-do list for a while, but you’ve been holding off because it’s a hassle, or maybe you don’t think it’s worth the time or the cost.  Let’s put that train of thought to rest and look at the Why, When, Where, What and How of business cards (the “Who” is pretty obvious).

Why should you have business cards?

  • It makes it easy to hand out your contact information
  • It shows that you’re serious and professional
  • It’s another tool to help differentiate you as an independent business in the eyes of the CRA
  • It’s a differentiator to both recruiters and clients
  • It’s a chance to get creative and complement your personal brand

When and where do you want to hand them out?

All the time and everywhere. Never leave home without at least a few cards and hand them out like candy in these situations:

  • Recruiter and client interviews
  • When you’re onsite with other contractors on your team
  • Networking and industry events
  • Tradeshows
  • Any time there’s the slightest chance of running into a potential client or referral

What should be included?

  • The obvious contact information: Business name, your name, title, phone number, Sample Business Cardmailing address and email address
  • Your fax number could be relevant, but it’s often unnecessary
  • Include your certifications, but only the relevant ones that really separate you.  Almost every professional today has a basic post-secondary education.
  • An online profile. That could be LinkedIn, or a professional website.  Check out this past post for more details about your online resume.
  • Branding.  Do you have a logo?  At the very least, what about a consistent colour scheme?  Check out Adobe Kuler help find your brand’s colours.
  • Keep it simple and remember to leave plenty of white space.  Nobody likes clutter.
  • Think about what you want on the back.  Some say you can get creative to make it fun memorable, while others will tell you to leave it blank and non-glossy so it’s easy to take notes.  That’s your choice.

How are you supposed to do all of that when you’re so busy?

  • Go to a local business supply store and find some business card template paper (for example Avery brand has many options and is available in most stores). You can find some pre-designed blank cards that will already match your brand. They usually come with Microsoft Word templates so you just type in your information, print at home, and you’re set!
  • If you’d like them printed more professionally, take a look at Staples Copy & Print or Vistaprint.  They have hundreds of templates that make it easy for you to design your card quickly.
  • Want to print your own design?  Staples and Vistaprint will do that too. They produce professional cards, but you’ll need to submit professional files. Avoid using a word processor like Microsoft Word to design them. Instead use Adobe tools like Illustrator or Photoshop if you’re familiar with them, try this simple business card creator from Canva, or get the help of a professional designer.  Sites like Freelancer, eLance and maybe even Fiverr can provide some cost-effective options.

Do you have your own business cards?  How did you create them and how do you use them?  Share your tips and suggestions below!

Improve Your Online Presence with Your Online Resume

Dan Gasser By Dan Gasser,
Marketing Specialist at Eagle

If you’ve managed your Eagle profile recently, you probably noticed the field titled “Link to Public Profile”.  The question is, are you taking advantage of it?

What is your public profile

The link to your public profile can lead to anywhere you keep your experience up-to-date.  Rather than providing a resume, you just provide us a link.  When a Recruiter wants your updated experience, they simply follow the link.  If other companies have this option, you can use the same link for them.  This means that you no longer need to make sure everybody has your most recent resume, you simply need to keep this one profile up to date.

Your LinkedIn Profile

You’re probably already on LinkedIn.  If not, we recently published some posts that will LinkedInhelp you get started. If you’ve keep your profile up-to-date, it will act as a perfect resume.  Your LinkedIn profile includes experience, project details, education, and references.   To view another person’s profile, generally you need to be connected with them.  But did you know your LinkedIn profile also has a public link you can share so anybody can see your experience?

To find the link, log into your LinkedIn account and go to your profile.  Below your profile picture and above the “Background” field, you’ll find your link.  If you’re in Canada, it probably starts with ca.linkedin.com/pub/your-name.  Note: if you start giving away this link, you may find more recruiters want to connect with you on LinkedIn!

Your Website

A recent post talked about how independent contractors can create a public website for their business, including experience, profiles and a blog.  Again, as long as you’re keeping this up-to-date, it’s a great resume.  It may even be better than a resume because it gives more insight into you, your technical abilities, and your creativity.  Be careful, though, if your website gets too personal, it may deter potential clients.

Shared Folders on the Cloud

There are many free services across the Internet where you can save files on a cloud server to keep them safe and secure.  For example, Dropbox and Google Drive are easy to set-up and come with a generous amount of storage at no charge.  From there, it’s easy to save files so you can work on them in another location or share them with other people.

When you save a file in Dropbox or Google Drive, you can set security settings and decide who can see your files.  One of those settings is to allow anybody to see the file as long as they have a link.  That means you can write your resume, save it to the cloud, and send that link off to Recruiters.  If you keep that file up-to-date and as long as they have that link, they’ll always have access to your up-to-date resume!

Online resumes and public profiles just may be the future of job searching and recruiting.  If you adopt early not only will you save time in resume management, you’ll also be perceived as an innovator in your field.  Would you agree?  Are there any other innovative ways you can share your resume with recruiters?  We’d love to hear them!