Talent Development Centre

Category Archives: Job Searching

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to job searching.

2016 in Review: Resumes

Year in Review: ResumesYesterday we summarized the top job search tips that were shared on the Talent Development Centre throughout 2016. You may have noticed, there was a very important element missing: resumes!

Every job search must start with an outstanding resume. Here are just a few of the many articles we posted in the past year on this topic:

Plus these ones, which were written with direct input from Eagle’s Recruiters and Management Team:

Are there any specific resume tips you’d like to see in the Talent Development Centre in 2017? We’d love your feedback. Please let us know in the comments below.

2016 in Review: Job Searching

2016 in Review: Job Search AdviceA job search has a number of aspects to it and nobody understands that better than an independent contractor who’s always looking out for new opportunities. Beyond knowing how to spruce up your resume and ace an interview, to be really successful, you have to understand the ins and outs of job search strategies.

For starters, here are a few basic job search tips:

A major milestone in your search is the job interview. Here are the top posts we shared this year on that topic:

Finally, here are some posts with insight from Eagle’s own Executive Team:

Does a Great LinkedIn Profile Really Matter?

Frances McCart By Frances McCart,
Vice-President, Business Development at Eagle

Does a Great LinkedIn Profile Really Matter?100% YES!  I wrote a post several months back about the importance of a good LinkedIn profile and how to get noticed.

Recently, I was at a client meeting to discuss some upcoming needs and potential candidates we had sourced for a role.  We brought copies of the resumes for reference.  Much to our surprise, the client looked at the candidates’ resumes and immediately went on to LinkedIn.  He pulled up the first candidate’s profile and started to read the candidate’s credentials on LinkedIn, rather than the resume!

I asked the client how often he did this when reviewing potential candidates for an opening and he said he always checked LinkedIn first, prior to even considering the resume.

We walked through the candidate’s Linkedin profile and I asked him what he thought of the candidate.  The first thing he said he looked for was to see if they had a picture.  He felt that candidates who did not have a picture had something to hide.  We further discussed that determining a candidate’s skills and trustworthiness was linked to not only having an updated picture but also to the following

  1. Picture quality and professionalism of the picture
  2. How much information they had on their profile, including dates
  3. Who endorsed them
  4. If there were any common connections

The client also looked to see if the data on the resume was consistent with the data on LinkedIn.  I asked the client if the LinkedIn profile had a lot of impact on whether or not they would interview the candidate, and they said that it absolutely had an impact.  If the online profile does not match what is on the resume, the candidate is quickly discounted.

As mentioned in my previous post, it’s essential to invest the time to create a professional profile and ensure that it is kept up to date.

Surviving the RFP Process

Melissa Bryanton By Melissa Bryanton,
Proposal Manager at Eagle

Surviving the RFP ProcessA Recruiter has contacted you to discuss a new opportunity they are working on. The Recruiter goes over the qualifications their client is looking for and it sounds like a great match for your skillset. You start to get excited and then you hear the Recruiter say “RFP” and “government client”. If you have gone through the Request for Proposal (RFP) process with a staffing company before, you may understand what you are getting yourself into. If not, you are in for an interesting ride full of red tape and unexpected twists and turns.

Any independent contractor that has undergone the rigorous process of having their profile presented in a formal proposal knows that this is no easy task. A good professional staffing company should have a Proposal Team to help guide their Recruiting colleagues, and in turn, their candidates through the RFP process. Here are a few words of friendly advice from the Eagle Proposal Team if you are interested in entering the world of government contracts and are asked to prepare your resume for a proposal:

  • The long haul – the RFP process will be lengthy for you, the candidate, and for the Recruiter. Pulling together the proposal will take a lot of time and effort on both sides. Then you will wait, and wait, and wait some more for the client to evaluate all of the proposals and finally award a contract. This often takes months rather than weeks. Try to be patient and trust that your Recruiter will provide updates as soon as they receive any news from the client.
  • Form an alliance – Remember that the Recruiter is on your side and will do everything they can to help you win. So when they ask you to be more specific when describing your experience, or re-write parts of your resume, it is because they believe you are the right fit for the role and they want you to get the job!
  • Ask questions – If the job qualifications do not make sense to you, ask your Recruiter for clarification. If the Recruiter also finds the requirements confusing, they can have questions submitted to the client to get a better understanding of the qualifications.
  • Mandatory = Must Have. No Exceptions – Understand that if a qualification is referred to as Mandatory that it must be met. Government clients use Mandatory Requirements to quickly disqualify candidates during the evaluation process. The Recruiter will work with you to draw out the specific details the client will be looking for in your resume. The Proposal Team will conduct a second-level review of your resume and identify any areas where the resume requires more specific detail.
  • Honesty is key – Most RFPs include Point-Rated Criteria in addition to the Mandatory Requirements. Be honest with your Recruiter when comparing your experience to the Rated Criteria and assigning yourself a score. Again, any experience claimed has to be validated and will be reviewed by the Recruiter and the Proposal Team before your resume is submitted as part of the proposal.
  • Less is more (sometimes) – Now that you have been asked to edit, re-write and add to your resume and make everything as detailed as possible, here is a curve ball – a 40 to 50 page resume does not benefit you or the people reviewing it. If you have several projects that you worked on concurrently, keep the stronger ones that closely match the requirements. If the role you are being proposed for only calls for a maximum of five years within the last ten years, drop any projects that are more than ten years old. Cut your resume down as much as possible while leaving in the relevant detail and projects that demonstrate how you meet the client requirements.

The government RFP process is unique and demanding. Always remember that your Recruiter and their Proposal Team are there to support you throughout the process. Buddy up with your Recruiter and settle in because it’s going to be a long race to the finish line!

Should You Share Your Compensation History with a Recruiter?

Alison Turnbull By Alison Turnbull,
National Delivery Manager at Eagle

Should You Share Your Compensation History with a Recruiter?I came across an article recently that was quite interesting to me personally, and it certainly seemed to be a contentious topic with 488 comments, 6200 likes and 1364 forwards in a few short weeks.  Apparently, (and previously unbeknownst to me), Massachusetts recently passed a new bill preventing employers from requiring salary histories from job applicants.

As a recruiter with 20 years of experience, most of that in permanent placement (in both retained and contingent firms) I found the commentary very interesting.  Most who commented very passionately agreed that recruiters had no right to ask for compensation history, and felt that the ask was ‘unethical’ and a means to get a candidate to the lowest salary possible.

It is very rare that I have had a candidate flat out refuse to share their compensation information with me, but it has happened on occasion.  It always makes me very reluctant to represent them as I find it difficult to effectively negotiate on their behalf, and it often leads me to wonder whether they are looking for a substantial increase over their current compensation that may be outside of the norm.

I always explain to candidates that the initial compensation conversation is between us, and how I choose to position that to an employer can and will be discussed and agreed upon with their input.  As much as I’m unwilling to just throw out an employer’s ‘range’, I’m as unwilling to invest the time in representing someone to a client without having a full understanding of their motivation, expectations, and employment history (including compensation).

It is not unrealistic to expect a substantial increase in some cases and if it is justified, particularly if there are extenuating circumstances like relocation, being long tenured within one organization, niche areas of expertise, an imminent increase or bonus, or just being a passive job seeker who is completely content where they currently are.  If someone’s expectations are beyond what would be considered standard, I can justify that to an employer if I have a full understanding of all considerations involved.

Obviously, it’s important for a recruiter to understand that your expectations are in line with an employer’s range before time is invested on all sides, but should the history of what you have earned be a factor of consideration?  Or should the market rates, your experience and the employers range be the only criteria?  I welcome your thoughts/input below.

7 Signs Your IT Resume is Outdated

7 Signs Your IT Resume Is OutdatedYour resume is the most important tool that you have in your job search arsenal. It’s your ticket in the door to an interview, and without one, you might as well just give up on finding a job.

Yet all too often, IT professionals rely on resumes that are outdated, poorly formatted, or full of irrelevant information, and then wonder why they aren’t hearing back from employers. If it’s been a while since you updated your resume (i.e. more than a year or two) or if you’re still relying on the format you learned back in college during the 1990’s, there’s a good chance that employers are ignoring you because of it. In a field like IT, where having the most up-to-date skills is a necessity, an outdated resume sends the wrong message.

If you are embarking on a new job hunt and still using the same resume that landed you your current job, you need to spend some time updating — and that means more than just adding your current position to your work experience. In fact, you might need a complete overhaul, especially if you spot any of these problems.

  1. You Have an Objective Statement

Perhaps the biggest indication that you haven’t kept up with trends is the fact that you have an objective statement highlighting your career goals at the top of your resume. Simply put, no one does this anymore. Employers don’t care that you want a challenging position or want to grow in your career. They want to know what you can do for them. Replace the passé objective with a short value statement and summary of strengths, showing employers what you can do for them.

  1. Your Certifications Are Old

Most employers want to hire IT professionals with the latest certifications, but if your resume doesn’t reflect your most recent achievements, you aren’t going to land the interview. Make sure that your resume accurately reflects all of your current certifications; if you are currently working on additional certifications by completing CISSP preparation or other coursework, mention that with an expected completion date. You want to demonstrate your commitment to growth and development, and be sure that your qualifications are obvious and relevant to the position you want.

  1. You Focus on Tasks, Not Accomplishments 

How do you describe your previous work experience? Do you list your responsibilities and rehash the job description? If so, you aren’t telling employers what they want to know. Employers want to see accomplishments, and how successful you were in your previous jobs. Instead of listing your day-to-day activities, highlight your successes using quantifiable data. If you can’t quantify your achievements, use quotes from testimonials or other accolades.

  1. You Still Have Unrelated Experience Listed

If you have been out of college for 15 years, but still have your college job at the supermarket listed on your resume, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. Typically, resumes should focus on what you have done in the last decade or so, and be highly focused on related experience. If you are just out of school and don’t have much experience, including unrelated jobs is fine if you can show transferrable skills, but as you get more experience, those jobs should fall off the resume.

  1. You Aren’t Keyword Focused 

Most employers use applicant tracking systems to scan resumes for keywords, and then rank candidates according to how many keywords appear. Therefore, if you don’t include the right keywords, your resume could be rejected even if you are the perfect candidate. When revising your resume, then, you should review job postings for your ideal jobs and incorporate the same language used by the employer; for example, if the employer asks for “strong knowledge of computer science fundamentals,” you should include “knowledge of computer science fundamentals” somewhere in your resume to ensure a match.

  1. Your Resume Doesn’t Highlight Technical Competencies

When applying for IT jobs, you need to clearly demonstrate your technical competencies and your skills. Don’t make employers search for that information or guess what you can do. Spell out your technical skills in a specific section. If you have any special achievements in these areas, include that information as well.

  1. You Don’t Highlight Transferrable or Soft Skills

Finally, many employers are looking for IT professionals with specific soft skills, such as teamwork, communication, and time management. Make these connections throughout your resume, including information about how you have demonstrated these skills when you discuss your achievements.

These are the major red flags that your resume is outdated and needs a makeover. Others include noting that references are available (employers know this), listing basic skills in your skill summary (we hope you can use Microsoft Office by now), and using an old email address from AOL or your university. If you make these changes, you’ll have a much better chance of landing the interview, and the job you want.

Author bio: Tiffany Rowe is a marketing administrator who assists in contributing resourceful content throughout the World Wide Web. Tiffany prides herself in her strong ability to provide high quality content that readers will find valuable. She enjoys connecting with other bloggers and collaborating for exclusive content in various niches. With two years of experience in blogging, Tiffany has found herself more passionate than ever to continue developing remarkable content for all audiences. http://www.seekvisibility.com/

5 Minute Resume Tricks That Can Land the Job You Want (Infographic)

On average, you will spend about 25 years of your life sleeping, 4 eating, and 10.3 working.

In total, that’s about 40 years or half of your life doing nothing more than eating, sleeping, and going to work. That’s why it’s important to do work that you love doing.

That advice may sound like a motivational quote embroidered on a pillow at your Nana’s house: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life,” said Confucius. But in the end, a lot of people do want meaningful or, at the very least, entertaining work.

So, with so much of your life tied up doing other things, here are 9 tips to help you figure out how to make a resume  that will get you that dream job. And the best part? You will only have to spend about 5 minutes of your life following these tips.

Liar, Liar…

Morley Surcon By Morley Surcon,
Vice-President, Western Canada at Eagle

Liar Liar

Shocking news — people lie!

There are many, many sources on the web showing how prodigiously people fib on their resumes and social profiles.  One such article suggests that over half of resumes and job applications contain falsehoods.  Misrepresentations can range from job titles and dates of employment to out-right lying about where one has worked and the education that they have… and everything in between.

In a slower economy, where there are more applicants than jobs, staffing agencies have witnessed a greater “stretching of the truth” by some independent contractors.  For example, something that our company has been calling “resume blurring” becomes much more common.  This is less of an outright lie, but more of a stretching of the truth.  Resume blurring comes into play when people re-write their resumes to broaden the types of roles for which they might be a fit.  For example, an IT contractor who has been a Project Manager might now have a resume that appears that they’ve got a lot more Business Analysis experience than they really do, or vice versa.  As the two roles work so closely hand-in-hand, it is often difficult for clients and employers to weed out the candidates that kind of know the job versus the ones that have actually been doing the job and are experts at it.

Other times the deceptions are even more blatant.  We have seen instances where contractors actually “buy” resumes and other people take phone interviews for them to win them the job.  We’ve even had someone complete a skype interview for another person!  (That’s a harder one to pull off)  Regardless of what the falsifications are, it comes down to the fact that there needs to be a much deeper level of due diligence completed by recruiters.  Honest contractors deserve a fair shake and the only way this is going to happen is through deeper background and reference vetting.

Again, when the economy offers fewer jobs than there are qualified applicants, companies often feel that they don’t need the services of employment agencies as they can gather more than enough resumes on their own.  But given the propensity of some people to embellish or outright lie on resumes/applications, this is the time when they really need a good staffing agency partner the most.  At Eagle, over our 20 years in business, we have come to know a large percentage of the independent contractors in the market. We’ve tracked their careers and we have relationships with many that span years.  We know these technology professionals, we know what they do and have done, we know that they are the “real deal” and we share this information with our clients.  And for contractors that are new to us, we complete a series of interviews, background vetting and reference checks before sharing their information with our clients; in this way, we get to know them and ensure they are what they claim to be.

For the reasons listed in the paragraph above, honest and professional contractors should make it a point to build strong relationships with their recruiter partners as we can be the voice of reason helping you to compete with the desperate people (or outright charlatans) in the market.

Have you witnessed any new or innovative ways that some people try to fool their way into jobs?  I encourage you to share your stories below!

 

 

5 Common Rate Negotiation Mistakes Made by IT Contractors (Video)

Every independent contractor wants to secure the best rate for before going into a technology project. Especially since the ethical professionals know that once a rate is agreed upon, it can’t be changed, you want to ensure you’ve done everything you can to get the highest pay.

Recruiters at staffing agencies understand that and work hard to get you a fair, market-value compensation. At the same time, it’s also their job to ensure the client is getting the best deal possible. In the end, your final rate may come down to your negotiating and when it’s done well, everyone is satisfied.

Unfortunately, all too often we see independent contractors make some mistakes while negotiating, which, at best, can see them not get the rates they want, and at worst, can see a contract get cancelled or relationships get damaged. Here are 5 common mistakes we see that can help you improve in this area.

Hobbies & Interests – Who Cares?

Hobbies & Interests - Who Cares?The Talent Development Centre features a lot of resume advice, and often directly from the mouths of recruiters. For example, we’ve told you what recruiters say independent contractors must have in their resume, what recruiters hate about your resume, and how they suggest you should format your resume. One common point that each of these posts had is that the Hobbies & Interests section included by many IT contractors is of zero interest to recruiters.

We went back to recruiters and asked them for some more specific thoughts about this controversial section. While one was quite positive, and noted that an applicant’s unique accomplishments demonstrate personality and make them more memorable, most had comments similar to the following:

  • “They should never have them on there.”
  • “Hobbies and Interests should be banned from resumes.”
  • Usually I see people with a small list of “safe” hobbies (most of them include golf, working out, and camping) and it doesn’t really add anything of value.
  • I really don’t pay attention to that too much as it’s not really relevant.
  • Never put hobbies or interest… nobody cares!

Ouch! As for those memorable Hobbies and Interests, here are the 4 most unique ones Eagle recruiters have seen on IT contractors’ resumes:

  1. Skydiving
  2. Nights Out
  3. UFO Chasing
  4. Photo-bombing

Do you keep a Hobbies & Interests section on your resume? If so, what do you list? Do you think they add value? Leave your opinion in the comments below!