Talent Development Centre

Category Archives: Job Searching

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

Be More Competitive with Certifications


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Most IT contractors understand the importance of certifications in their profession. Having certifications and keeping them up-to-date ensures that recruiters and clients trust you and your abilities, and immediately puts your qualifications ahead of others without certifications.

A recent IT World Canada article explored the importance of certifications, specifically when it comes to cyber security. They offer three strong arguments for obtaining a certification and we would agree they move beyond just cyber security and are relevant for any certification:

  • The certification gets you to the shortlist
  • A certification is a quick way to fill gaps in an employee’s skill set
  • Certifications can indicate strengths and passion

There are plenty of certifications available and to receive each one would be nearly impossible, given time and cost factors. Instead, IT professionals should choose based on which ones fit their career path as well as which hold the most clout in the industry. According to Glass Door, there are 14 certifications that impress recruiters most – 11 that are role-specific and 3 software certifications. They may not all fit for Information Technology, but they’re still worth being aware of:

Top Role-Specific Certifications

  1. PHR & SPHR (Human Resources)
  2. SHRM (Human Resources)
  3. PMP (Project Management)
  4. Challenger Sales (Sales)
  5. Spin Selling (Sales)
  6. Sandler Training (Sales)
  7. A+ (Help Desk/Desktop Analyst)
  8. Network+ (Help Desk/Desktop Analyst)
  9. CCNA (Network)
  10. CCNP (Network)
  11. CCIE (Network)

Top Software Certifications

  1. Salesforce
  2. Hubspot’s Inbound Certification
  3. Google Certifications (Publisher, Analytics, AdWords, etc.)

2017 in Review: Finding New Opportunities


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Finding new opportunities is an endless job for an independent contractor. In fact, if you’re on holidays right now, you may be working at it today. There are many strategies you can take to find the best opportunities and we talk about them frequently on the Talent Development Centre. 2017 did not lack in these posts. If you missed any, here’s a summary of our favourite ones:

It’s important to always develop skills, regardless of your trade, if you want to remain competitive and stand out among your peers. Here are a few posts on that topic…

Most people search for jobs online but not everybody uses the World Wide Web to its fullest potential. If you think you can improve there, check out these posts…

Finally, these posts will help you think outside the box a bit more and look to areas you may not have yet considered…

2017 in Review: Resumes and Job Interviews


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A Holiday Job Search Could Get You Your Next Job


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Alison Turnbull By Alison Turnbull,
Delivery Manager at Eagle

A Holiday Job Search Could Get You Your Next JobWith mid-December upon us, many people are winding things down for the year and already feeling like they are in ‘vacation mode’.  If you happen to be between contracts or if you are actively seeking your next career move, there is no better time to keep up the search!

As noted in this Forbes article, “January is the toughest, most competitive and most crowded job market of the year — precisely because so many people stop job hunting during the holidays.”  While job activity does tend to drop off a bit in December, it’s often the best time to network, catch hard to reach people on the phone, or further develop a relationship with the agencies/recruiters you’ve been working with.

Here are a few tips to keep your job search active over the holidays.

  • Find holiday events or meetups to attend to increase your visibility and network.
  • Take some time to increase your LinkedIn connections by sending invitations to anyone you met with during the year prior.
  • Send holiday greetings to all of your contacts – it’s a great touch point. Request a follow up meeting in the New Year.
  • Look for opportunities to volunteer – it’s a great time of year to contribute to a worthy cause and you never know who’ll you meet!

All the best to you and yours for the holidays, and Happy Job Hunting!

Create a Resume that Builds Trust


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Graeme Bakker By Graeme Bakker,
Delivery Manager at Eagle

Recruiters get a lot of resumes during the day. This infographic from StandOutCV provides some helpful resume tips that will make yours easier to read and cut down on the time you need to spend formatting and adding in necessary skills. The only piece I would say is less relevant to an IT contractor is surrounding the, these aren’t typically required nor desired in our space.

As you read through this infographic, there is one important tip to keep in mind: Trust is key in this back and forth so that the recruiter and you can get the best feedback and never miss out on any opportunities.

How recruiters read your CV

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 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?

Dating Advice That Applies to Your Job Search


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Dating Advice that Relates to Your Job SearchFinding a recruiter, building your relationship and working to get a job through them can be a long, complicated, some-what awkward and sometimes painful experience… not too different from dating. In fact, the two experiences are quite similar and you can apply the same rules and best practices to finding recruiters as you can for seeking a life partner. If you’ve been out of the dating scene for a while, you may not be familiar with how that world works today. This post will catch you up and help you find a job.

Rather than hashing out the same old job search tips, let’s review common dating advice and apply it to building a relationship with the right recruiter.

  1. Online Dating vs In-Person Dating 

    Introducing yourself to a recruiter face-to-face is more beneficial to you than sending them a summary of yourself online. When you meet at a networking event, you get the opportunity to sell yourself, make a more personal connection, and know a lot sooner if things are going to click. Vice-versa, a LinkedIn introduction or applying to an online job means you have limited space to write the perfect message and present a professional image. You’re also depending on the recruiter to open it and interpret it as you’d intended.

Still, those face-to-face opportunities are far and few between. And once there, it will be difficult to get the attention of the popular recruiters who have more to offer, especially if you have to compete with a smooth talking, desperate job seeker. Keeping a great profile on online platforms like LinkedIn and job boards lets you browse multiple recruiters and agencies at the same time, and allows them to search and send you messages as well.

  1. Beware of “Ghosting” and “Catfishing” (and don’t do it yourself) 

    Have you heard of these two terms? They’re a result of advent of online dating and the Urban Dictionary defines them as follows:

Ghosting: The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date.

Catfishing: Hiding who you really are to hook someone into an online relationship using social media or by cell phone.

When searching for jobs online and building relationships with recruiters, be aware that there are unfortunately some unethical ones who will suddenly stop calling you without providing feedback on your skills, or who will promise you the world only to reveal later that they have nothing. You can’t control these types, but you can ensure you don’t become one.

Never ghost your recruiter. Try to return their phone calls as promptly as possible and, if you do decide that for whatever reason you do not want to work with them, be upfront so they can remove you from their contact lists. Similarly, catfishing recruiters by claiming you have skills and experiences that you do not only tarnishes your reputation. Recruiters talk to each other and it will just be a matter of time before the entire industry blocks your profile.

  1. That Awkward First Date 

    Possibly the most dreadful start to any relationship is the first time you meet. Will they be who they say they are? Will we click? What will we talk about? Naturally on your first meeting a recruiter will lead the conversation but be prepared to open up about yourself. Engage in small talk, let them know what you’re seeking and your future plans, and be honest about your past experiences. Finally, put in an effort to get to know them as well. Learn about what they’re offering, who they are as a person and the best ways to communicate with them.

  1. Should You Keep It Exclusive? 

    This question can be taboo in the dating world but has a very simple answer when it comes to recruiters — absolutely not! No single recruiter can offer you everything you want for the rest of your career. When you put all your eggs in one basket, you risk being left at the start of the dating process, alone and unemployed. Therefore, it’s completely acceptable, in fact encouraged, to build relationships with multiple recruiters and agencies. Some you will like more than others, some will offer you more money, and some will even get jealous, but you’re under no obligation to tell them about each other.

  1. Know When to Cut Ties or Move to the Next Level 

    Unfortunately, all-too-often relationships with the person we thought would last forever come to an end. Perhaps they haven’t offered anything enticing, maybe they’ve changed since you first met, or it’s possible they moved to a place where you do not want to be. Regardless, it’s important to recognize when the relationship has played its course so you can move on. Just avoid ending things on bad terms so a flame can spark up again in the future and be quick to replace them with somebody new, with whom you can start to build a mutually beneficial professional relationship.

Applying to Jobs from Your Mobile Device


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Applying to Jobs from Your Mobile Device

Mobile technology and smart phones are widely used for nearly all purposes. Thanks to the Internet of Things, cell phones are no longer just about calling people, playing games and checking email, but individuals can control their entire lives through their phones. Still, though, according to data collected by Eagle, job searching and applying to jobs tends to be primarily managed on a computer.

There are some obvious reasons why independent contractors choose to stick to their desktop when applying for new IT jobs rather than browsing on their phone. First, many professionals are simply more comfortable on their computer and dislike navigating the browser on a small screen and trying to click through on websites that aren’t completely mobile optimized. Even for those who are savvy on their phone, mobile job searches are difficult to organize and create challenges when uploading resumes — especially if it’s a resume you want to customize.

Taking advantage of your mobile device during your job search can have some clear advantages as well. For instance, you can:

  • Apply to jobs immediately as they’re posted, raising your chances of being evaluated;
  • Privately search for jobs while you’re at work; or,
  • Use “wasted” time more efficiently (ex. sitting on the bus, in a waiting room, or during an awkward evening with people you don’t really like).

To get started, it’s best to be organized and have a plan on how you can best search for jobs using your phone. Here are a few quick tips:

  • Know your favourite places. Starting with a Google search is a great way to do anything, but can alsolead you on a wild goose chase. Instead, download some top job search apps and know your favourite websites to visit right away.
  • Create profiles at home. Once you know your favourites, take a few minutes while at home to create a profile on those websites. This is where you’ll want your computer because it will take extra typing and file uploading. Once it’s done, applying on your phone is much easier.
  • Make jobs come to your phone. Instead of hunting the jobs, have them delivered to you by signing up for job alerts wherever possible. This can usually be set-up once you’ve created your profile.
  • Read your emails. Recruiters and past colleagues may be sending you job opportunities. If they’re contacting you, it means there’s a good chance you can get the job, so read them and reply promptly.
  • Save the jobs you like. If you have a profile with that job board, then mark it as a favourite. Otherwise, email yourself a link to the job or bookmark it. This way, if anything happens (you get a phone call and accidentally close the browser) it will be easy to find the opportunity again.
  • Keep a copy of your resume in the cloud. Google Drive and Dropbox, for example, are great places to store different versions of your resume. You can access them from your phone so can easily attach them when applying to jobs.
  • Pick up the phone. We sometimes forget that cell phones can be used to call people! If there’s a job you want and are unable to complete the application on your mobile device, get the contact information for the recruiter and call them. You will show interest which will buy you time and put you at the front of the line until you can formally apply.
  • Know when a computer is necessary. Of course, a cell phone can’t always be the solution. Sometimes it’s best to save the information and wait until you’re home so you can properly customize a resume and avoid putting in a badly formatted, misspelled submission.

Do you have a preference or strategy when searching or applying for jobs? Do you use your cell phone in the process? We’d love to learn more about what works (and doesn’t work) for you. Please share your feedback in the comments below.

The Best Way to Follow-Up with Recruiters (even if you shouldn’t have to)


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Alison Turnbull By Alison Turnbull,
Delivery Manager at Eagle

The Best Way to Follow-Up with Recruiters (even if you shouldn't have to)One of the most common complaints that we hear from contractors/consultants is the inevitable ‘black hole’ of communication when working with agencies.  We often hear that contractors agree to be submitted for opportunities, but then don’t hear back from the agency – and even worse, have calls and emails not responded to.  While this should be considered unacceptable, there are several factors at play that are often make this unfortunate scenario a reality in today’s market.

The vast majority of large organizations in Toronto are now using VMS providers, which means that the days of being able to provide feedback to candidates or to provide status updates on where things stand with a particular opportunity are virtually over.

This can be extremely frustrating for candidates who are trying to manage multiple interviews and opportunities or who have no idea why they are not securing interviews for roles that they’ve been submitted for.  Agencies are required to respond to a huge volume of VMS orders so are often unable to provide updates to candidates – particularly when there is nothing to update.

While we always try to set the expectation that we may not hear back with feedback or next steps unless an interview is granted, we still often get repeated requests for updates.  A good recruiter will always respond to an email or call even without having information to provide, but this can be taxing.

We strongly recommend that you take an approach for ongoing communication that will show your interest and keep you top of mind, but not necessarily require a response.  This ultimately shows that you remain interested in an opportunity, but have a healthy respect for the volume of work that is being managed on the agency side.  Below is a great email template that you can use.

Hi (Recruiter Name),

I wanted to follow up on the opportunity that we spoke about last week.  I assume that there hasn’t been an update as of yet, but please do let me know if otherwise.  I remain interested and available and am open to hearing about any other suitable opportunities that come up.

Thank you,
(Your Name)

While all great recruiters will get back to you as soon as they have an update, this simple message demonstrates that you’re still interested in the role and that you have an understanding of the situation. Your recruiter will appreciate hearing from you and will surely be grateful for your approach.  Remember, how you communicate in these small circumstances could make the difference in whether or not your name gets put forward with future clients.