Talent Development Centre

All posts by Eagle Talent

12 Ways That Music Makes You More Productive At Work


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Although rarely the same taste, everyone has at least one musician or genre of music that gets them into the perfect mindset. We’ve all had those situations when we’re caught singing and/or dancing on our own because of getting lost in a song.

Do you want to add more music in your life, specifically at work? According to this infographic from ZING Instruments, you should! It provides 12 reasons why music will make you more productive while you work.

12 Ways That Music Makes You More Productive At Work

Can This Decision-Making Strategy Work for You?


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Should you take the job? Which agency should represent you? What solution will you recommend to your client? Independent contractors have to answer these and more questions to make decisions every day. Often these choices will impact your contract or your entire career. It’s crucial that you make the best decisions for your company and they often need to be made quickly.

This video from The School of Life explains the various forces that impact decisions we make and provides strategies to manage those influences and come to the best decision.

5 Reasons Staying in Shape Benefits Your Career (and how to get better at it)


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5 Reasons Staying in Shape Benefits Your Career (and how to get better at it)There is no doubt that regular exercise and staying in shape has significant health benefits. People who are fit generally live a more active, longer and happy life. Of course, people who are not in as good of shape also tend to be happy, and may not see a reason to make it a priority. If that sounds like you, would you make it a higher priority if you knew being healthier can make you more money? According to this post from Salary.com as well as this article from Time, those who are in better shape have a higher salary.

We get that money isn’t the end-all-be-all definition of success, but if you want to do better in your career for any reason, exercise plays a crucial role. Here are 5 reasons why:

  1. You’ll Sleep Better. Better sleep is known to have so many benefits, including being more productive and more focused. If anything, it makes you less irritable and more able to deal with that useless team member, jerk client or annoying recruiter. Exercise is a proven way to get better sleep, as backed up in this article from the Huffington Post.
  2. You’re More Productive. Partially due to that better sleep, but also the fact that exercise brings you more energy and alertness, people who are in better shape are more productive. That means completing projects faster and better, taking on more projects, impressing more clients, and building a well-known positive reputation in the industry.
  3. Your Brain Gets Sharper. Not only do muscles get stronger when you exercise, but so does your brain. As this article from the Huffington Post explains, exercise leads to increased blood flow and oxygen which has significant benefits to the brain. It’s known to boost brain cell function and create new brain cells which help improve memory and learning.
  4. You Take Fewer Sick Days. Naturally, when your health is better, you’re not going to be off sick as often. Independent contractors don’t have the benefit of paid sick days — when you’re not working you’re not making money. Exercising has proven time and again to keep people healthier, both physically and mentally.
  5. Your Networking is Better. Some would argue that even networking events are more successful. Staying in shape gives more energy to deal with some of the boring events, and also gives you more confidence to approach people and start a conversation. As well, people can unfortunately be shallow and often make better connections and feel more comfortable with those who are more physically in shape.

How a Busy IT Contractor Can Stay in Shape

That all sounds great but how can you possibly exercise when you’re juggling contracts, updating resumes, managing accounting and spending time with your family and friends? The simple answer is to make time (watch less TV, wake up earlier, etc.) but that also may not be realistic. Consider other simple options that don’t require a time change such as changing your diet, taking the stairs or biking to work.  If you’re having trouble getting motivated, talk to others to create a group of people who work out together and encourage each other.

Are you in as good of shape as you’d like to be? If so, how do you make sure you do you make it a priority? Do you think it has helped your career? Please share your advice in the comments below!

More Resume and Job Interview Advice from Recruiters


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There is no better place to seek job search advice than from the recruiters who have made a career out of helping people find work. In the past, we've surveyed Eagle's recruiters to bring their insight into how to successfully write a resume and get through a job interview. Of course, there are countless recruiters around the world who are also ready to offer their advice. A recent Glassdoor article provides a last-minute checklist for submitting your best tech resume. It recognizes that searching for jobs in the IT industry is unlike any other industry. As such, it's not possible to follow a lot of the common resume advice and you need to adapt to your surroundings. In the end, it asks 3 simple questions to answer before applying to your next IT job: 1. Does your resume match up with your LinkedIn profile? 2. Is your resume full of quantifiable, concrete, professional achievements? 3. Is your resume easy to read? Even if you've mastered the resume and get yourself in for an interview, the work is not over yet. You have to get past some of the annoying questions that recruiters like to ask and the only way to do so effectively is to practice. To get you started, Business Insider collaborated with 14 real recruiters to come up of this list of their favourite interview questions: 1. Tell me about a time when you were a champion for change or a change agent? 2. Why are you memorable? 3. Tell me about a project you're proud of. 4. What would keep you engaged in this role? 5. What defines success? 6. What sets you apart of other candidates? 7. Can you paint me a picture of the role you'd leave your current position for? 8. Tell me about the people you've managed and where they are now. 9. What do you like about your job? 10. What do you know about our organization? 11. Why did you select this profession? 12. Can you give an example of a time when you solved a complex problem with little or no information to start? 13. What 3 adjectives best describe you? 14. What factors would cause you to consider leaving this role? Many of the questions above are more suitable for a permanent career than an IT contract position; however, they all provide insight into the priorities of a hiring manager and a recruiter. Rather than understand your technical competencies (as crucial as those are) they like to know what motivates you and how committed you will be to your client. Do you have any other specific resume or interview questions? Leave them in the comments below and one of our recruiters will gladly respond!There is no better place to seek job search advice than from the recruiters who have made a career out of helping people find work. In the past, we’ve surveyed Eagle’s recruiters to bring their insight into how to successfully write a resume and get through a job interview. Of course, there are countless recruiters around the world who are also ready to offer their advice.

A recent Glassdoor article provides a last-minute checklist for submitting your best tech resume. It recognizes that searching for jobs in the IT industry is unlike any other industry. As such, it’s not possible to follow a lot of the common resume advice and you need to adapt to your surroundings. In the end, it asks 3 simple questions to answer before applying to your next IT job:

  1. Does your resume match up with your LinkedIn profile?
  2. Is your resume full of quantifiable, concrete, professional achievements?
  3. Is your resume easy to read?

Even if you’ve mastered the resume and get yourself in for an interview, the work is not over yet. You have to get past some of the annoying questions that recruiters like to ask and the only way to do so effectively is to practice. To get you started, Business Insider collaborated with 14 real recruiters to come up of this list of their favourite interview questions:

  1. Tell me about a time when you were a champion for change or a change agent?
  2. Why are you memorable?
  3. Tell me about a project you’re proud of.
  4. What would keep you engaged in this role?
  5. What defines success?
  6. What sets you apart of other candidates?
  7. Can you paint me a picture of the role you’d leave your current position for?
  8. Tell me about the people you’ve managed and where they are now.
  9. What do you like about your job?
  10. What do you know about our organization?
  11. Why did you select this profession?
  12. Can you give an example of a time when you solved a complex problem with little or no information to start?
  13. What 3 adjectives best describe you?
  14. What factors would cause you to consider leaving this role?

Many of the questions above are more suitable for a permanent career than an IT contract position; however, they all provide insight into the priorities of a hiring manager and a recruiter. Rather than understand your technical competencies (as crucial as those are) they like to know what motivates you and how committed you will be to your client.

Do you have any other specific resume or interview questions? Leave them in the comments below and one of our recruiters will gladly respond!

How “The Cloud” Has Developed Over 10 Years


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According to Google Trends, “Cloud Computing” began picking up popularity in early 2008. As people became curious, more were searching the term and the curiousity peaked around mid-2011. Since then, as the Cloud became a standard part of technology, search trends also began to even out but have hardly disappeared.

There are a number of reasons that we may have seen these trends over the years, and they all relate to how the technology has progressed. This infographic from Sonian Is a very nice summary of the complete history so far. It takes you through the Big Cloud Moments, Changing Cloud Perceptions, Cloud Growth and Adoption, Terminology and its Pioneers.

How “The Cloud” Has Developed Over 10 Years

12 Signs Your Computer Has Been Hacked


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No matter how diligent we are with computer security, sometimes mistakes happen when we’re in a hurry or not thinking and we make our computer vulnerable to a hack. The results of a hack can be devastating, from breached client files to a damaged social media reputation all the way to stolen funds and identities.

When the worst happens, it’s critical to identify a hack as quickly as possible and get it fixed. This video from Bright Side provides helpful tips to do just that. If you’re an IT Security professional, there may be nothing new to you here, but we can almost guarantee that you know at least a few people who could benefit from this video (they probably call you weekly with questions about their home computer). Share this post with them in hopes it will prevent a stupid mistake that you’ll have to fix… over the phone… on a Sunday… at 9:30pm.

How IT Contractors Can Track and Improve Social media Success


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An independent contractor's online presence is a valuable way to improve your professional image, gain attention from recruiters and clients, and ultimately get more work. Strengthening this snapshot of yourself, especially on social media, is an opportunity to demonstrate that you are up-to-speed with the latest, relevant trends in your field, something particularly important to organizations who require competitive IT teams. It is also what will take a recruiter from "This person could be qualified, I'll try calling them" to "I need to meet this professional so I can present them to my clients". Knowing that you need to improve your online image and social media presence is one thing, but doing it can be an entirely different challenge. As with any strategy in business, you need to start with a plan and, once it's carried out, measure the results to ensure it's working. What exactly should you track to ensure you're taking the right steps on your social networks? Tracking Your Social Followers The first and obvious number people like to follow when evaluating their social success is the number of people who follow them -- friends on Facebook, connections on LinkedIn or followers on Twitter. It is an easy item to watch and see trends if you're successful, but in reality, does not give a proper snapshot of your success. Take a look at your list of followers. How many of them are going to help you get a job? Are they even in your industry… or your country? Having a lot of followers makes us feel good about ourselves, but it doesn't necessarily mean your network is valuable. Tracking your social followers is often referred to as tracking a "vanity metric". Tracking Your Engagement on Social Media The real metric you want to track is engagement. This includes clicks, likes, shares and comments on the posts you share. It is how you know if your network is finding value in what you post, or if you're just sharing a bunch of spammy articles that become clutter in a news feed. These could be considered misleading vanity metrics if the engagement is from irrelevant people; but at the same time, even a share from somebody who is separate from your profession may get shared again and seen by your future client. Overall, engagement is what you want to strive for. Engagement is also more than just the clicks, likes, shares and comments. More valuable are the conversations that may result from your social presence. When evaluating your success, ask yourself if anybody struck up a conversation based on something you shared. Or did a connection contact you out of the blue for some sort of advice? Another tool to understand engagement is a combination of a personal website and Google Analytics. When sharing a detailed opinion, why not make it a blog post and link to a website that also has your resume? You can then use Google Analytics to understand how many people are visiting your page and where they're coming from. Improving your Social Media Engagement If you start tracking your engagement and realize it is not very positive, nor is it showing signs of improvement, there are a few simple tasks you can try: •	Engage as well. Like every conversation in life, social media is a two-way street. Remember to respond to comments and engage with other people's posts. •	Track what was successful. Review the posts that saw the most engagement and identify trends in topics or the time of day it was shared. Continue to build from that momentum with similar posts. •	Encourage people to follow you. Add a link to your social profiles everywhere, including signature blocks, business cards and resumes. Just remember to leave off the networks where you don't always portray a professional image or you share political posts (ex. Facebook and Pinterest). Over the last decade, businesses, governments, and charities have proven over and over that a successful social media presence results in major success. Many independent IT contractors have also jumped on board and no longer need to search for work, the work finds them. When you will begin?An independent contractor’s online presence is a valuable way to improve your professional image, gain attention from recruiters and clients, and ultimately get more work. Strengthening this snapshot of yourself, especially on social media, is an opportunity to demonstrate that you are up-to-speed with the latest, relevant trends in your field, something particularly important to organizations who require competitive IT teams. It is also what will take a recruiter from “This person could be qualified, I’ll try calling them” to “I need to meet this professional so I can present them to my clients”.

Knowing that you need to improve your online image and social media presence is one thing, but doing it can be an entirely different challenge. As with any strategy in business, you need to start with a plan and, once it’s carried out, measure the results to ensure it’s working. What exactly should you track to ensure you’re taking the right steps on your social networks?

Tracking Your Social Followers

The first and obvious number people like to follow when evaluating their social success is the number of people who follow them — friends on Facebook, connections on LinkedIn or followers on Twitter. It is an easy item to watch and see trends if you’re successful, but in reality, does not give a proper snapshot of your success. Take a look at your list of followers. How many of them are going to help you get a job? Are they even in your industry… or your country? Having a lot of followers makes us feel good about ourselves, but it doesn’t necessarily mean your network is valuable. Tracking your social followers is often referred to as tracking a “vanity metric”.

Tracking Your Engagement on Social Media

The real metric you want to track is engagement. This includes clicks, likes, shares and comments on the posts you share. It is how you know if your network is finding value in what you post, or if you’re just sharing a bunch of spammy articles that become clutter in a news feed. These could be considered misleading vanity metrics if the engagement is from irrelevant people; but at the same time, even a share from somebody who is separate from your profession may get shared again and seen by your future client. Overall, engagement is what you want to strive for.

Engagement is also more than just the clicks, likes, shares and comments. More valuable are the conversations that may result from your social presence. When evaluating your success, ask yourself if anybody struck up a conversation based on something you shared. Or did a connection contact you out of the blue for some sort of advice?

Another tool to understand engagement is a combination of a personal website and Google Analytics. When sharing a detailed opinion, why not make it a blog post and link to a website that also has your resume? You can then use Google Analytics to understand how many people are visiting your page and where they’re coming from.

Improving your Social Media Engagement

If you start tracking your engagement and realize it is not very positive, nor is it showing signs of improvement, there are a few simple tasks you can try:

  • Engage as well. Like every conversation in life, social media is a two-way street. Remember to respond to comments and engage with other people’s posts.
  • Track what was successful. Review the posts that saw the most engagement and identify trends in topics or the time of day it was shared. Continue to build from that momentum with similar posts.
  • Encourage people to follow you. Add a link to your social profiles everywhere, including signature blocks, business cards and resumes. Just remember to leave off the networks where you don’t always portray a professional image or you share political posts (ex. Facebook and Pinterest).

Over the last decade, businesses, governments, and charities have proven over and over that a successful social media presence results in major success. Many independent IT contractors have also jumped on board and no longer need to search for work, the work finds them. When you will begin?

There’s One Simple Way to Thrive as an Independent Contractor


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There's One Simple Way to Thrive as an Independent ContractorWe repeatedly say throughout the Talent Development Center that “Independent contracting isn’t for everybody” and “There are things you should know before taking the leap.”  While it’s not intended, this can make new IT professionals nervous to making that leap, as it makes the change seem daunting and overwhelming.

The truth is, becoming an independent contractor does require extra work but it does not have to be scary. There is one very simple way to ensure you are successful: Don’t do it alone. Of course, that encompasses many small items like engaging a lawyer and accountant, working closely with recruiters, and attending learning from experienced contractors who have already been through the hurdles.

We recently came across this article that Melissa Thompson, an accomplished entrepreneur, wrote for Inc. about freelancing. In it, she provides advice based on her experience to help contractors get hired. She lists four specific tips:

  1. Freelancers need to take initiative
  2. Networking is still important
  3. Build an outstanding profile
  4. Be prepared for variable income

You can read the article here for all of the details on the advice. Or, if you’re already an experienced and successful freelancer, could you add anything else? If so, please share it in the comments below.

What Kind of Learner are You? Use the Flow Chart to Find Out


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Learning new skills and keeping on top of your current ones is one of the main recommendations we give to independent contractors to remain competitive in the technology space. This industry advances quickly and clients are always seeking IT professionals with the best skills and knowledge to help them advance and compete.

For some, learning new things is a breeze. They can pick up a book, read it once, try it a couple times, and they’re already approaching “expert” level. For others, this is far from reality. If you find you have trouble learning, or you hate having to do it, perhaps it’s because you’re not fully understanding your learning style. This infographic from PoudPlace provides a flow-chart to help you identify what kind of learner you are, as well as some tips for you based on the results.

What kind of learner are you? Did the outcome surprise you?


Courtesy of: Pound Place

Are You Prepared with this One “Critical” Skill?


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Some will say our post secondary institutions do a good job at preparing students for the world; however, there are critics including Freedom in Thought who believe some specific skills are not being taught, including critical thinking.

According to Freedom for Thought’s video, there are two types of thinkers — Critical Thinkers and Passive Thinkers — and it’s the critical thinkers who are most able to think rationally and succeed as a leader or teammate. Furthermore, the video argues that these thinkers are more creative and able to learn better.

IT contractors are constantly working in teams, leading others, and solving multiple problems, so critical thinking would naturally be a valuable skill in this field. Do you think you can improve yours?