Talent Development Centre

Category Archives: General

All general Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technoloy contractors.

There’s More to Excel Than Charts!

How Independent Contractors Can Leverage Microsoft Excel to Impress Their Clients

Seriously, knowing your way around Excel is the easiest way to convince people in an office that you’re a wizard.” That’s one of the most recent comments underneath this infographic when we found it on imgur.com. And it’s true. So many people only use Excel to organize a table, add a border, shade it in and, if they’re really good, create a pie chart. But there’s so much more you can do!

STL created the infographic saying it includes great tricks to impress your boss, and we’d go one step further to say they’d impress a recruiter or client and enhance your productivity. It also complements one of their other infographics we shared last year with some Excel tricks for office workers. If you work with Excel and want to enhance your skills, you should review this infographic. If you don’t work with Excel because you don’t think it could help your job, you need to see this infographic. You may be surprised by what it can do!

There's More to Excel Than Charts!

10 Reasons to Take a Face-to-Face Interview with a Recruiter

Brendhan Malone By Brendhan Malone,
Vice-President, Central Canada at Eagle

10 Reasons to Take a Face-to-Face Interview with a RecruiterA recruiter asks you to come in for an interview but you have so much on the go. What do you do? Should you blow them off? After all, you’ve already sent over a resume and had talked to them over the phone about what kind of work you want. What more could a face-to-face interview possibly do for you?

Face-to-face interviews with recruiters are more than you may think! Here are 10 reasons to take that interview and increase your chance of getting the next job you’ve been wanting.

  1. Your Recruiter Will Remember You in the Future. Science shows that we remember faces far easier than we remember emails.  🙂
  2. Face-to-Face is Second-to-None. There is simply no technological replacement for face-to-face interaction… including Skype/video interviews!
  3. Get Across What Your Resume Can’t. Communication is over 90% non-verbal.
  4. Your Recruiter Will Better Understand You. Inevitably an unknown skill or strength of yours is going to come out in a face-to-face meeting.
  5. It Will Help Your Recruiter Sell You. Recruiters are not only interviewing you, but also working to provide the strongest presentation of your skills and attributes to the end client. You have a mutual objective.
  6. Its great practice! In today’s business market, IT skills are not enough.  We should use every opportunity available to hone communication and networking skills.
  7. It’s Efficient. Relationships are built more quickly, strongly and efficiently in face-to-face meetings. Recent surveys have shown that it takes five Skype/video meetings to equal one face-to-face meeting.  It’s a safe leap to surmise that the number of emails required to do the same would be incredibly high, and very likely still not reach anywhere near the same level of rapport.
  8. Build Trust. Face-to-face meetings foster a greater sense of trust and commitment to honesty. People are able to “dehumanize” written email communication.  Most people are committed to doing right by others, face-to-face meetings foster relationships which allow for the humanization of the communication, therefore resulting in more people doing the “right thing”.
  9. You will learn something valuable. It is almost impossible for two professionals to communicate without learning something. Recruiter and contractor meetings/interviews offer a great opportunity for each to learn about the others profession and craft.  We are working together in the end!
  10. Meeting with people is FUN! Approach these sessions positively and with enthusiasm and hopefully it will be remembered as a very positive experience.

Facebook and LinkedIn Groups for Contractors (Part 2)

Part 2: What Types of Social Media Groups Should You Join?

Why Facebook and LinkedIn Groups are Perfect for Independent Contractors in Technology (Part 2)In a recent post, we shared information about groups in social networks and did a high-level review and comparison of group functionality on the two most popular platforms — LinkedIn and Facebook. We concluded that both networks have their strengths and weaknesses, as well as promised more information about how to take advantage of groups, regardless of the network you choose.

There are an infinite number of topics and categories of groups and which ones you join will depend on your unique interest. For the sake of this post, we’re looking at three specific types of groups that would be valuable to almost all technology professionals: Subject Matter Expert Groups, Recruiter Groups, and Team Groups.

Subject Matter Expert Groups

If you have a specialty, no matter how niche it is, there is a high likelihood that somebody has created a group about it. These groups are filled with like-minded individuals who are dying to give their opinion or advice on a specific topic. It’s also a place where people doing research into a topic may come to ask questions from SMEs. As an independent contractor, joining these groups will allow you to grow your network, raise your own professional profile and learn about new job opportunities. You may even find yourself a project for a company on the other side of the world. Technology recruiters are known to frequent these groups, so the more active you are and value you contribute, the more likely you are to be contacted with opportunities from a staffing agency.

Recruiter Groups

As just noted, Recruiters are known to join SME Groups when they’re looking for a technology professional with a specific skillset, and they also frequently create their own groups. For example, it would be very simple to find a LinkedIn group owned by a recruiter and dedicated to technology jobs in Canada, or your specific region. While these groups will appear to be filled with a recruiter’s self-promotion, they are also the best way to connect with new recruiters and learn first-hand about new job opportunities in your area. The well-managed groups will have unbiased job search tips and independent contracting advice, so you can increase your odds of finding a new IT contract with any recruitment agency.

Project Team Groups

Finally, you may find value in creating a private group just for your current project team. It’s a place where you can all shoot around ideas, share information, and have casual conversations on the side. The benefit of using a social network’s group in addition to your client’s communication technologies is that you can continue the conversations after the project has ended. This is especially beneficial when you finish a project with an exceptional team.

These are just three examples of social media groups that can be helpful to an independent contractor looking to advance their career. If you’d like to join one but can’t find one, then create a group. The process is free and easy, but remember to properly manage it to ensure a steady stream of engagement. What do you think of groups? Are there any types we missed that you recommend? Share your thoughts below!

Can You Solve the Counterfeit Coin Riddle? (Video)

Are you one of the many Canadians preparing to head into a long weekend? If so, you may be seeking ideas for conversation with friends or activities with to do with family. Look no further than this video from Ted-Ed!

The Counterfeit Coin Riddle will leave some people scratching their heads and confused yet be a breeze to many others.  It may only fill a few minutes of time, but it will force you and your friends or family to think a little bit before returning to a more relaxed state of mind.

2016 in Review: Videos for Procrastinating

The TDC is packed with helpful business information, tools, and advice, but we’re not always about business. Sometimes, especially Fridays, we like to share some fun videos that add a bit of distraction to your day (and yes, we’re aware that it’s counter-productive to the time management rules we often push). To finish off the “2016 in Review” series, we thought it would be fun to share some of the top videos from last year that have absolutely nothing to do with business and everything to do with procrastinating.

If you’re any sort of a geek, you’ll appreciate these videos

If you want a laugh, check out these videos

(you still need to be a bit of a geek for some of them):

And if you love a good brain teaser, have a look at these

Please don’t waste your entire day on these, but a small break never hurts and in fact, can increase your productivity! We hope you enjoyed this “2016 in Review” series.  We’ll be back Monday with plenty of fresh content for everyone. Have fantastic Friday and a great weekend!

Top Posts of 2016

The Top Posts of 2016As quickly as they arrived, the holidays are already starting to come to an end. Similarly, there are only a few days left of 2016 — a year that flew by! Naturally, as time goes by quickly it’s easy to miss a lot, including great content on your favourite blogs like the Talent Development Centre.

We’re all about helping you out, so starting today and over the next few days, we’re once again featuring our year in review series. Throughout it, we’ll showcase the top posts in some specific topics. To get things started, here’s an overall look at the 10 most popular posts over the past year:

  1. The Ontario Government Mandate That Will Affect Independent Contractors across Canada
  2. Do Your Part to Have a Successful Job Interview (Infographic)
  3. 5 Rate Negotiation Mistakes Independent Contractors Sometimes Make
  4. Update: The CRA, PSBs and Independent Contractors
  5. Calgary Job Market Outlook: The New Normal
  6. How to Create a Personal Logo That Makes Your Friends Jealous (Infographic)
  7. 7 Speaking Habits That Will Make You Sound Smarter (Infographic)
  8. 5 Minute Resume Tricks That Can Land the Job You Want (Infographic)
  9. 3 Secrets to Applying for IT Contracts in a Fast-Paced World
  10. LinkedIn – The Ultimate Cheat Sheet (Infographic)