Talent Development Centre

Category Archives: Job Searching

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

Make Twitter Part of Your Job Search Strategy

Although growth is declining and it is not the most popular social network, Twitter is still far from joining Google+ in the social media graveyard. HootSuite shows that there are 326 million users every month contributing to an average of over 500 million new tweets each day, and they range across all demographics. In addition, most businesses are on Twitter, making it a hot spot to potentially connect with new clients. So, if you’re on Twitter, are you leveraging it to improve your job search?

This infographic by CRH Americas collects some quick tips to “tweet your way to a new job”. While we would never recommend using Twitter as your only job search tool, or your primary one for that matter, it can absolutely be a valuable complement to your job searching strategy. Take a look and see if you can leverage Twitter to land your next contract.

 

Make Twitter Part of Your Job Search Strategy

If You Don’t Upload a Resume, Nobody’s Going to Call You

The title of this post seems like an obvious statement, but we’re shocked at the amount of candidates who apply for jobs without uploading a resume for recruiters to evaluate. Or, they do upload a resume but it lacks the detail required to determine if a candidate is qualified for a job.

Why You Must Submit a Quality Resume to Recruiters If You Want a Job

If You Don't Upload a Resume, Nobody's Going to Call YouThe days of having one copy of a brief, generic resume and submitting it to every company are long gone (assuming they were ever here). In the last 20 years, online job boards have changed the entire game of job searching and resume writing. Yet some people, aside from embracing online tools, are still playing the game like it’s the ’90s.

As job boards continue to focus on candidate experience and make the application process easy for you, keep in mind, they’re making it easier for every job seeker. When it’s easier, more people apply. When more people apply, recruiters are receiving more applications. When recruiters have more options, they ignore bad resumes, and they especially ignore the candidates who don’t submit one at all. Just because you wrote a compelling cover letter, a recruiter is not going to call you for more information. It all must be available to them right away. Anything less gives a perception of laziness, apathy, and just not caring.

This, of course, is assuming a recruiter even finds you. Automated applicant tracking solutions, complete with artificial intelligence, are increasingly more affordable and accessible to companies of all sizes. Even the smallest staffing agencies and employers are taking advantage of these screening tools, ensuring that busy recruiters and hiring managers only review resumes that a computer deemed valuable. When your resume does not include enough details and explanations about your experience, it will fail to pass a preliminary screening and sit in a database never to be seen again.

Furthermore, low-detailed resumes are often the reason you keep getting phone calls from recruiters for jobs that do not match your skillset. If you barely put in details explaining what you do, when your name does appear in a recruiter’s search, it will be for job opportunities irrelevant to your actual experience and job role.

A link to a public profile is also a great compliment to an uploaded resume, particularly when a resume is dated as it allows a recruiter to find more recent experience. However, as a stand-alone, the information detailed in the link will not be uploaded to a database and the chances of getting found for a particular position are significantly decreased.

We Understand, Badly Uploaded Resumes Are Not Always Your Fault

Yes, there are a few lazy IT professionals out there who are submitting useless resumes, and most independent contractors do put hours of work into their resume. So why do recruiters still complain about too many bad resumes being submitted?

In some circumstances, an applicant wants to apply to a job when it is posted, but because they’re on a phone, tablet or the wrong computer, the right resume was not available. In other cases, an error occurred that you were not aware of. Some resume formats are not readable by automated resume screeners and other times, though much less frequently, technology does what it does best and a glitch prevents your resume from being submitted properly.

How Can You Guarantee Your Detailed Resume is Submitted and Reviewed by a Recruiter?

First, double-check to ensure it is actually as detailed as you need it to be. The old rule of keeping a resume under two-pages is less significant today. Computers can read hundreds of pages in seconds, so if you need to add a few to ensure your experience is clearly explained, go ahead and do it.

Next, keep your resume in a simple format. That means Microsoft Word (even PDFs can cause headaches) and skip out on the fancy fixings. Tables, text boxes, images and locking can all prevent an automated resume screener from interpreting your content.

Finally, be patient at the fact technology has its downfalls. Return to your online profile to double-check that your resume was uploaded how you want it to be. If a recruiter does contact you for a copy of your resume, accept that there may have been an error, and politely email them the version you uploaded, including any updates they request.

Your resume is your number one selling tool as an independent contractor, and that cannot be understated. Automated resume screeners, artificial intelligence and other technologies (including their errors) are reality and that cannot be ignored either. Embracing these facts are a crucial first step in successful job applications.

Quick Poll Results: What do you look for in a recruiter?

Last week, we shared a post rounding up advice to how to attract recruiters, get past their initial 5-second scan, and ultimately make them want to meet you. In the same way, recruiters are always wanting to understand what is most important to job seekers so they can also improve and be more sought-out.

Last month’s Contractor Quick Poll set-out to learn just that. We provided some common traits contractors look for in a recruiter and asked you to tell us the most important one. Here are the results…

What is the most important trait you look for in a recruiter?

How to Prove that You Actually are “Detail-Oriented”

If you’re going to use a buzzword to describe yourself, at least make sure you can back it up with examples. One of the most common terms we see in resumes and social media, or hear in interviews, is “detail-oriented”.  What does that even mean? If everybody’s claiming to be “detail-oriented” is it really a differentiator?

Perhaps you actually are somebody who pays attention to every little detail and is dedicated to perfection. If that’s the case, you need to be aware that others have hi-jacked your word. It’s no longer enough to tell a hiring manager or recruiter that you’re detail-oriented because they’re numb to it. You must back it up in everything you do.

Not sure what we mean? Check out this video. It goes through an IT contractor’s entire job search process and provides insight on where you can pay a more attention to detail, and back-up your use of an overused buzzword.

Here’s What Recruiters Do and Do Not Want to Hear from You

Here's What Recruiters Do and Do Not Want to Hear from YouThe key to selling anything, including yourself, is having a clear understanding of the client. In the case of an IT contractor’s job search, that means knowing your recruiters. Hiring professionals spend every day of their careers evaluating candidates — great ones, mediocre ones and terrible ones. Naturally, it does not take them long to know what they do and do not like.

For example, this article from Inc. reveals buzzwords often found on LinkedIn that recruiters despise reading. It states that you should avoid words that are vague, boastful, or too quirky because they detract from your actual accomplishments. The article also notes that these terms should not appear in a resume or pop-up in job interviews:

  • Growth Hacker and other cute or too creative job titles. State your job title as it is — Developer, Project Manager, etc. Other examples of annoying job titles include futurist, thought leader, champion and influencer.
  • Words you wouldn’t use in a job interview or face to face. For example, nobody would call themselves authentic or a visionary while in-person and expect to maintain credibility.
  • Strategic and innovative. The author’s opinion is that these are over-used words used by lazy people. Elaborate if you’re going to include them.
  • Any word you don’t own. These are classic buzzwords we love to use but don’t know what they mean. For example: synergize/synergy, tribe, game changer, silo, snapshot, bandwidth, traction, cutting edge, granular, omnichannel, paradigm shift, ideation, deliverable, digital transformation and touch base.

So how do you attract recruiters? This article from U.S. News has four helpful ideas and techniques you can use when setting up your job search that will make recruiters a little more eager to give you a call:

  • Play passive. The article suggests keeping your resume off of every job board and not applying to every This way, recruiters don’t perceive that you’re interviewing at 100 other places.
  • Convey your pain. “Pain” may not be the right word, especially for an IT contractor, but instead “interest” or “motivation”. Ensure to the recruiter that you are invested in the opportunity and will not jump ship.
  • Be flexible. The article states that respecting the recruiter’s process and timelines shows goodwill and a desire to work with them, but we will add to that. When working with many clients in the IT contract world, deadlines are real and failure to comply means you cannot be submitted. Flexibility is not about pleasing the recruiter, but complying with the job requirements.
  • Recommend good candidates. If for any reason you are not up for being submitted to the job, help a recruiter by recommending somebody who is interested. When successful, you’ll be helping the recruiter and your friend. Good karma is sure to come your way!

Recruiters evaluate thousands of candidates and, unfortunately, it is not possible to do in-depth research on every applicant they receive. Instead, they rely on their instincts and experience based on what they see in the first few seconds. Being armed with the right knowledge will help you pass that 5-second test so you can completely sell your skills when they dive into your resume.

First-Hand Advice for New Immigrants to Find an IT Job in Canada

As one of Canada’s largest IT staffing agencies with a wide national presence, it’s no surprise that we hear from skilled technology professionals from around the world. The majority of Eagle’s clients require applicants that are already in Canada and legally able to work here, so unfortunately, there is little we can do for applicants that don’t to meet those requirements.

Coming to Canada from another country and finding work is no easy task. There are hundreds of details to get through, including completing paperwork, organizing your family, arranging living and, of course, the job search. A number of resources are in place to help get settled and find work in Canada, but perhaps one of the best strategies is learning from somebody who has already been through the experience.

Sim & Sid’s YouTube channel is only a few months old, but already contains over a dozen videos with valuable advice. Together, they share their experiences of coming to Canada and answer questions about common challenges. In this video, Sid shares his job search experience and provides first-hand advice for immigrants looking for an IT job in Canada.

5 Ways You’re Screwing Up Your Job Search

5 Ways You're Screwing Up Your Job SearchThere are many reasons a job search may not be going your way, and you can blame different people, circumstances and even the universe for it. However, if you’re a talented technology professional with a solid track record and you’re still having extended difficulties landing your next IT contract, it’s time to reflect on yourself. Here are 5 possible ways you’re screwing up your job search, courtesy of a few of the world’s most popular blogs and publications:

Your resume is out-of-touch

Back in January, Glassdoor published an article to “age-proof” your resume, noting that competing for work against the younger generation is a regular challenge for older workers. Some of the points suggest limiting the length of your resume or only focusing on recent experience. As we’ve discussed before, though, IT contractors can benefit by showcasing their lengthy experience and older skills, plus longer resumes are less of an issue when computers do the screening.

The rest of the points in the article are relevant to professionals in any age category. That’s because they focus on updating your resume so it meets the latest trends and fits into how a recruiter wants to see your work experience. For example:

  • Optimize your resume with keywords (make it easy for computers to identify that you’re a fit)
  • Upgrade your email address (thejohnsons@randomISP.net doesn’t cut it anymore)
  • Join the LinkedIn bandwagon (include the link to your profile in your resume)
  • Focus on achievements, not tasks (show how you bring value to clients)
  • Ditch the objective statement (replace it with a value statement or profile summary)

You’re not prepared for new interview trends

Hiring managers regularly experiment with new ways to screen candidates and ensure they’re talking to the best people. For example, this Glassdoor article discusses job simulation, the types of exercises used in interviews, and how you can succeed at them. In the IT space, simulations typically come as whiteboards and coding problems, and the article goes more in-depth to discuss types of assignments, online exams, role playing and virtual simulations.

Before going into an interview, discuss with your recruiter and research the client to find out if their interviews tend to use these techniques. It’s also wise to look into common forms of simulations for your specific role and the client’s industry. Finally, a Google search can help you find some practice assessments and prepare.

Your interview responses are too cliché

Fast Company is another source that provides great job interview advice, including this piece with 6 phrases that make hiring managers roll their eyes. When you look carefully, you’ll notice they’re all clichés and do not differentiate you from other candidates. If you can’t back-up these statements with specific examples, make commitments to your performance and explain how it will bring value to your client, don’t bother blurting these out:

  1. I’m an overachiever
  2. I give 150%
  3. I really love this company
  4. I’m hardworking/a team player/committed
  5. I’m extremely detail oriented
  6. I feel like this is a place where I can learn and grow
  7. I really love this company

You’re coming off as a narcissist

That’s a Inc‘s polite way of saying “the hiring manager or recruiter thinks you’re an arrogant jerk” and many job seekers do this accidentally. As the article says, nerves are a common cause of over-selling yourself in a way that makes you unattractive to the interviewer, but being aware of the risk is the first steps to avoiding it. Three examples they provide are:

  • Acting like a pushy sales person (instead listen to what the hiring manager has to say);
  • Claiming you don’t care if you didn’t get the job (instead follow-up and ask the recruiter for feedback); and
  • The interviewer thought you were over-qualified (that may be a sign you spoke too much or provided too much detail – try coming across as humble and emphasizing how much you still have to learn).

You’re not respecting yourself

The final job search mistake we recently came across has nothing to do with how you search for the job, but whether or not you choose to accept a position that does not deserve you.

A viral story swept the world early this year when a job seeker in England shared a brutal job interview experience. Olivia Bland was called back for a second interview where the company’s CEO spent the entire time talking at her and telling her how terrible she was at everything. Shortly after the interview, the company offered her the job.

Blant ended up declining the offer and shared her response to the company in a Tweet. Her courage is a crucial lesson to all job seekers to recognize red flags in an interview and don’t accept a position where you know the environment will be toxic for your mental health.

You are destined to mess up a job search at least once or twice throughout your career, but hopefully these tips will help you avoid one of these slip-ups. Can you help our readers avoid mistakes by sharing your experiences? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Job Search for the IT Contractor

Searching for an IT job in a competitive job market is never easy. You need to understand your target companies, including those that are looking for technology professionals, what skills they specifically need and their projects. You also need to ensure you have a solid understanding of yourself, what kind of work you want, and how that will affect your job search.

A common misconception among new IT contractors is that a job search is a job search. As long as you keep submitting your resume to different job postings and show up at interviews, you’ll eventually get a job. To an extent, that’s true. But when you go from being a permanent employee to an IT contractor working on your own, there are changes you can make to your job search process that will significantly improve your chances of keeping a steady stream of work. Specifically:

  1. The Places You Look for Jobs,
  2. The Way You Communicate; and,
  3. Your Business Mindset (because you’re now running a business)!

Check out this video for more details…

Contractor Quick Poll: What’s the Most Important Trait You Look for in a Recruiter?

Working with the right IT recruiter(s) is imperative to getting the best IT jobs but also to ensuring you get the best overall contracting experience. The right recruiter affects everything from searching for a technology gig to your time working on the project.

There are a variety of signs to look for in an ethical recruiter and many questions independent contractors should ask their recruiters. In this month’s contractor quick poll, we want to know the number one, most important trait you look for in a recruiter when deciding who to work with.

Motivation and Opportunity: Entrepreneurship, Career Change in Canada’s Female Workforce

Guest post by Gloria Martinez of womenled.org

Motivation and Opportunity: Entrepreneurship, Career Change in Canada’s Female WorkforceA recent study of Canadian workers by the recruitment agency Hays Canada has revealed that half of the working professional population are unhappy in their current jobs. And unhappiness among female workers appears to be at an all-time high — 54 percent of Canadian women fantasize about quitting their jobs with many claiming they want more money, while others put the blame on a bad culture fit.

For many Canadian women, happiness at work didn’t happen until they made a career change. Many chose to follow a private passion rather than fight their way along a difficult and frustrating career path to advancement in companies that showed little interest in cultivating and promoting in-house talent. The fact that Canadian women are starting businesses at a higher rate than women in any other G20 country is a positive and encouraging indication that many are seeking personal happiness through entrepreneurship.

Opportunity and pay

Many have gone out on their own having grown tired of too few opportunities to take advantage of their education and experience. Canada’s gender pay gap is one of the largest among industrialized countries, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Pay inequity has led many Canadian women to seek better options in other fields, including finance, construction and civil engineering, and take advantage of hot new job markets, such as computer and information systems, medicine and human resources.

A new career

One of the most positive life changes you can make is deciding to turn a passion into a career and start enjoying the prospect of going to work every day. Former Toronto advertising exec Jane Canapini decided to start a travel blog after a memorable hiking trip to Greece and Italy. Andrea Raco left the insurance business to become a personal success coach. If that sounds appealing, decide on what happiness and success mean to you. It could lead to anything from starting a dog-walking service to designing commercial websites or writing online marketing content for a broad range of clients.

Emphasize personal strengths

Becoming an entrepreneur can mean embracing radical change, like working from home or working a second job while getting a new business idea off the ground. Phoebe Fung of Calgary gave up a career in the oil and gas industry to pursue her passion for wine to open Calgary’s first wine bar. Despite struggling to find financing, within a decade Fung’s Vin Room had opened three locations in the Western Canadian city. The appeal of doing what she loves was strong enough that Fung was willing to forego a salary in the first two years according to the details of the financing deal she was able to secure.

Refreshing your resume

For anyone wanting to sell their strengths and experience to a prospective employer or seek funding for a new venture, an updated, well-written and attention-grabbing cover letter and resume are essential. Remember that a good resume should strike a balance between brevity/concision and compelling information, while a solid cover letter will be written toward the industry to which you’re applying.

If your resume needs a good overhaul, check out online resume templates for appealing designs/layouts and color combinations. A potential employer in a different industry will want to see evidence of initiative, creative thinking and resourcefulness; in other words, evidence that you would make a good addition despite having come from a different field.

Today, women in Canada are heading financial technology companies, philanthropic organizations, fashion companies and boutique bakeries, while organizations like Women in Communications and Technology seek to encourage greater female participation in the digital industry. An increasingly tech-savvy and agile workforce is helping create new – and, in some cases, unforeseen – opportunities.