Talent Development Centre

Category Archives: Job Search

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

The Growing Problem of Fraudulent Credentials (and the impact on honest consultants!)

Morley Surcon By Morley Surcon,
Vice-President Strategic Accounts & Client Solutions, Western Canada at Eagle

The Growing Problem of Fraudulent Credentials (and the impact on honest consultants!)

Let me start by saying that the vast majority of contractors and applicants are 100% honest and represent themselves, their work and educational achievements fairly and correctly. That said, there is a growing issue in the labour market of people misrepresenting themselves in order to qualify for open postings. This may have been the case for years and it flew under the radar; however, with new vetting techniques and technology it is getting caught more and more often. Also, as more companies are being burned by fraudulent activity, they are both demanding and completing deeper vetting of candidates.

Misrepresentation takes multiple forms, from small embellishments and mis-matched dates covering small gaps in work experience, to much more nefarious activities. Some of the more brazen attempts to mislead potential employers include:

  • Presenting completely falsified resumes: This can be done as an individual doctoring their own resume, or there are “resume banks” available to people who pay to use them. This can include education or work experience falsification, but sometimes the entire resume is completely fabricated.
  • References are often faked: Friends, family or even themselves as the person who answers the phone number of the given reference.
  • Stand-ins for phone interviews (or even Skype interviews!!): Whereby someone with the actual knowledge completes the technical job interview on the fraudster’s behalf. The unwitting company hires and doesn’t realize that there was a change until they show up on the first day of work. If the company is complex enough, the people conducting the interview may not even be the same people who meet the new hire on the first day. Pretty brazen of them to try this!

It is unclear what people are trying to accomplish by faking their way into a job in these ways. It will catch up with them. They aren’t truly qualified to complete the work and they will be terminated, if not for the fraud then for incompetence. However, there are desperate people and if they can fake their way to earning even a few weeks’ pay before being found out then they move on to their next “victim”. It is too time-consuming and costly to press charges… and they get away with it.

What is the industry doing about this? Well, many companies are completing their own vetting even if they use a recruitment agency to source and qualify candidates. IT is a small industry and if someone says that they worked for XYZ Corp., then there is likely someone at the company that knows someone at the other company who can verify whether the candidate actually did what they said they did. Staffing agencies have been doing this for some time now and it is standard practice in the fight against fraudsters. Another check is simply a comparison against old resumes. Most agencies collect resumes from people over the course of many years – older experience in new resumes must match that found in their older resumes, and also in their LinkedIn profiles. References may not be called at the number given by the applicant, but rather they may be contacted via social media or called at their place of work using the company’s main number, making it much more difficult to arrange to have a “fake-someone” complete the interview. Additionally, there is now new technology (AI) being employed to rate the likelihood that an applicant is falsifying their resumes and there are new 3rd Party vetting services that specialize in deeper dives/forensic reviews and vetting. Most recruitment agencies employ one or more of these companies to ensure experience and education listed are accurate. There are also registries being set up that use blockchain technology to verify the accuracy of the data people share. Applicants will have full control over who receives and sees their private information, and the companies this is shared with will be guaranteed of its accuracy.

What is important for consultants to take away from all this is that the industry is now “awake” to resume/applicant fraud and is taking significant steps to uncover issues prior to hiring. 99%+ of people are honest and don’t need to be concerned; however, even honest people can make mistakes. I encourage anyone reading this to go through their resume with a fine-toothed comb to ensure all is completely accurate. It is so easy to mess something up with changes from one version of the resume to another. You absolutely should adapt your resume to best match the role to which you are applying, but adapting isn’t embellishing.  Even though the content might look different, it should still be in sync with what was presented in older resumes. The chance that even small inconsistencies are caught are very much more likely than it ever was before and these little, seemingly insignificant issues, could cost you a job for which you are applying. In this way, attention to detail is more critical than ever.

Is That Job Too Good to Be True?

Is That Job Too Good to Be True?

 

Scammers’ intelligence is growing exponentially and nobody is safe from their activities. While it’s common to hear about less tech-savvy people losing out, there are also plenty of examples of even the most cautious organizations being caught off-guard. In 2019 alone, multiple Canadian municipalities got stung. The City of Ottawa lost $128K, the City of Burlington was out $503K and Saskatoon lost $1 million!

Scams can have devasting effects, from losing lifesavings to having your entire identity stolen, and they come in multiple forms. As a job seeker, it’s especially important to remain vigilant when applying for jobs, as thieves can steal your personal information and destroy your world before you can blink. There are a number of these types of scams floating around the internet and, while fewer target IT contract job opportunities specifically, it’s still wise to recognize these warning signs:

  • A job posting or email looks extremely unprofessional, with too many errors or using a free email address (ex. Gmail or Yahoo).
  • You get contacted about a job to which you don’t remember ever applying, or even uploading your resume to where the recruiter claims they found it.
  • The recruiter asks for your personal information way too early in the job application process
  • You’re required to pay money up-front just to be considered.
  • The hiring manager offers you the job almost immediately, after just a few emails and a glance at your resume.
  • The job opportunity is too good to be true.

Many of these postings may still be legitimate. Recruiters have creative ways to find resumes of talented people, so it is not uncommon for them to contact you about a job, right out of the blue. It just means they’re impressed by your experience and want to learn more. In other cases, a job opportunity might appear to be unprofessional because the poster is inexperienced or in a rush (a sign that you can bring them value!)

When a job posting has too many red flags or your gut just isn’t feeling right about it, do not apply. But, if you are interested and believe it could be something great, here are some extra steps you can take:

  • Review the LinkedIn profile of the person or company who posted the job to see their experience and connections.
  • Check the URL of the job posting and confirm it is actually with the company the say they are. Look for weird spellings like “Gogle” instead of “Google” or somebody creating false subdomain like “eagleonline.supergreatjobs.co. Just because their logo is visible, it doesn’t make the website real.
  • Go directly to the organization’s website that you know is legitimate by typing in the URL directly or through a Google Search. Review that website to see if the job in question is actually posted and look for a physical address to cross-reference on a map.
  • Pick up the phone or show up at their office to speak to the recruiter directly. It’s too easy to be duped through email or instant messaging.

Canada’s Anti-Fraud Centre provides more information about common job scams, as well as all other types of fraudulent activities. For more information or to report a scam, that is a great place to start. Happy job hunting… be careful out there!

The Blurred Lines in Online Job Postings

The Blurred Lines in Online Job Postings

Our job application advice regularly states that you should not apply to jobs for which you aren’t the least bit qualified. Clients provide job descriptions with mandatory requirements and qualifications to perform the task for good reason — the successful IT contractor needs to do the work successfully and those requirements weed out the unqualified candidates. While job seekers should respect points that exclude them based on skill, there is no place for discriminatory exclusions within a job posting.

Generally, in Canada, it is illegal for any employer to post a job posting that discriminates against applicants. More specifically, in Ontario, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) says “Job ads and postings should not contain statements, qualifications or references that relate either directly or indirectly to race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, record of offences, age, marital status, family status or disability.” Although it’s rare today to see job postings with statements like “must be a strong man” or “good-looking women only”, subtle nuances can exist and it’s up to the employer or staffing agency to ensure they are following the law.

More controversial in the past year has not been the what of a job posting, but more the where. The same OHRC website also provides information about how employers should post jobs to avoid discrimination, suggesting they avoid simple word-of-mouth-referrals and personal networks, as well as advertising only in mainstream media. Each of these forms could exclude qualified candidates.

More interesting, though, is a CBC investigation published in April 2019 related to discrimination using Facebook ads. When a company posts a job to Facebook, it is visible and available to the entire user base; however, the lines blur when looking at paid ads for those job postings. A benefit to Facebook advertising is being able to drill down on the demographics of a target audience. CBC learned that employers — including at all levels of government — have targeted prospective employees based on age or gender. The text of the ads is non-discriminatory, but the targeting came into question. Facebook already announced that it would be disallowing this kind of job targeting in the United States. As of June 2019, the Canadian and Ontario human rights commissions had taken steps to see the same happen in Canada.

The action you decide to take when you come across a discriminating job posting depends your morals and ethics. Some might decide to do nothing or apply regardless, some might contact the posting organization letting them know (they may have been reckless or ignorant and will appreciate the feedback), and others will follow-up on their right to report it.

Before going a step further and engaging a lawyer, though, consider this. Molyneau Law wrote an informative post after the original CBC article that describes the Facebook ad situation, the implications, as well as some examples of past legal cases where discrimination in the hiring process was evident. While unethical job posters should be called out, the post warns that a full legal battle is rarely worth it. “Unfortunately for job applicants, it can be hard to prove discriminatory recruitment or hiring practices. You rarely know who else has applied or been interviewed for a position. And hiring is a pretty subjective practice at most employers. Even when job applicants are successful in proving discrimination, they often don’t see huge damage awards.”

This subject opens an interesting discussion for Canadian IT contractors and all job seekers. Where do you think the line should be drawn in discrimination of job postings? Is it alright if a company chooses to promote its public ad towards a specific demographic, as per the Facebook example? Do you come across discrimination in job postings and how do you deal with them? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

What’s on the Minds of Canada’s CIOs?

Morley Surcon By Morley Surcon,
Vice-President Strategic Accounts & Client Solutions, Western Canada at Eagle

What's on the Minds of Canada's CIOs?

 

While many CIOs are great communicators and share clear and motivating visions for the future, some can be tougher to pin down and it is sometimes hard to see what makes them tick. Even if the CIO at the company where you work is one of the former, it is hard to tell if he or she is part of the majority. Well, all this is to say that ITWorld Canada released the 2019 Canadian CIO Census and I thought I’d share some of the findings as they apply to IT Labour with you. This is particularly good information as it is Canadian-only data, and most of what you find online is US-content-heavy. So, without further ado, here is what the IT leaders in Canada have on their minds!

Hiring Plans for the Coming Year

Almost half (48%) of those surveyed are expecting to keep IT headcount at current levels, either by choice or due to a hiring freeze; while over a third (37%) are looking to increase the size of their teams. This makes for robust demand for talent in Canada. Only 4% suggest that they will decrease the size of their departments.

Day-To-Day Concerns

While 16 different “concerns” were cited, the top 5 things that keep most CIOs up at night are: Data Security/Privacy Issues, Uptime/Reliabilty Concerns, Compliance Requirements, Business Innovation Demands, and tied for 5th place was Making Data Actionable and Staffing.

CIO’s concerns for finding the right resources for their teams and projects has grown by over 55% over the past 3 years. This is a result of unemployment rates of IT workers in Canada hovering around the 2% mark, on average. Most economists consider “full employment” to be around 4% unemployment… as a consequence, most regions in Canada are in a supply-constrained state. With things even tighter in the US, they are exporting their labour shortages to Canada, enticing Canadian workers to travel down to work on their projects or they are employing “remote work”. The results are the same, save a global downturn of some kind, IT labour supply is going to become tighter and tighter… and our CIOs know this.

ITCT, StatsCanada Chart - ICT Employment

In-Demand and Out-Of-Demand Areas in IT

CIOs report having the hardest time hiring for the following areas: AI, Data Analytics, IoT, Mobile Development, and Cloud Services. Specific roles that are of particular interest include Enterprise Application Developers, Big Data/Analytics Specialists, Business Analysts, and Project Managers. All this was consistent with the CIO Census finding from last year, with interest in Application Developers growing slightly.

Given the focus that much of Canada’s IT sector has been giving to Cloud and As-A-Service technologies, it isn’t too surprising that the IT roles where they report “negative demand” is a tie between Data Centre Management and Application Maintenance and Support.

Although there aren’t many IT roles that CIOs claim might be reduced, there are some roles that may see some “turbulence” with some CIOs claiming to need to hire, while others are looking to shed workers. These include Help Desk, IT Support, Network Security, and IT Generalists… some of the people working in these roles may experience opportunities ending at certain companies, but demand from other companies will more than offsets the reductions that are expected, with the number of CIOs “hiring” outstripping those “downsizing” 3:1.

If you are interested in reading the entire CIO Census report, you may do so here.

 

The Digital Workplace – How It’s Changing the IT Job Market

Guest Post by Gil Artmoore

The Digital Workplace - How It's Changing the IT Job Market

It’s no secret to anyone who has lived through the last several decades that technology has radically changed just about every aspect of our lives.   Try to imagine living without smartphones, Facebook, and Google in today’s world. It’s revolutionized our professional lives as well.

Digitization has also had a significant effect on the IT (Information Technology) job market. IT workers have had to continually adjust to an ever-shifting set of demands that also offer tremendous new opportunities to those who want them.  Far from the classic figure of the coal miner put on the street when the world evolved past a need for their services, IT is an industry that almost always replaces older functions with opportunities for growth.

Let’s look at some of the ways the digitization of the workplace has changed the way we work, how it has affected the job market for IT professionals, and what kinds of opportunities it will bring to IT professionals in the future.

How Automation Changed The IT Job Market

The early part of this century saw a dramatic shift from jobs that required no expertise with digital systems to ones where people couldn’t get by without those skills.  Everything moved toward jobs that require knowledge with digital systems, and as you might expect, this became a huge boon for IT professionals who manage the systems everyone needed to start using.

The next revolution came years later, when a drive for increased efficiency demanded systems that required less manual touchpoints.  This wasn’t always an easy transition for IT professionals, and while it did create a skills gap for some years, the workforce has largely adapted and is ready to move with the digital workplace into the 21st century.

The New Opportunities Automation Has Created

Automation and the digital workplace have had a substantial effect on the IT job market, and while that initially looked like a net negative that would eliminate jobs, it instead transformed and relocated them.  One of the most visible ways this manifested itself was in the rise of cloud computing.

Cloud computing is an arrangement where, instead of owning, operating, and maintaining servers and other infrastructure equipment internally, companies now have the ability to pay outside vendors like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure to host those services on their servers.

This did initially lead to the elimination of many IT jobs for system administrators who were there to maintain and administer in-house servers and network equipment, but the flip side is that the cloud vendors needed to hire people to maintain those systems once they were in charge of them.   Literally their entire business revolved around running servers for their customers, and they needed someone to manage the physical hardware.  As a result, system administrators went from being support staff at law firms, financial services companies, or wherever they worked, to driving revenue at a company whose entire business was being one big IT department.

Another major net positive the change in the IT job market brought to IT professionals was that remote work became not only feasible, but commonplace.  Given that cloud computing commonly operates on distributed systems (meaning the same data and functions are duplicated across and run from systems often separated by hundreds or thousands of miles), there’s no single data center to manage like most companies had in years gone by.  Without needing to be physically present to manage the systems, many administrators have gotten a greater work/life balance in this new arrangement.

Finally, IT work has become more collaborative and made employees who may not be in close proximity to each other a lot more equal than they used to be.  Many companies have traditionally had IT employees at corporate HQ, and local IT teams at other offices who often felt like they were on the outside looking in when it came to having their voices heard or being considered for opportunities.  The nature of cloud computing mitigates that dynamic to a great degree, and provides a more level playing field for IT staff no matter where they’re located.

Conclusion

The advent of the digital workplace has not only not led to the prosperity of the IT labor force, but has even eliminated many of the difficulties and frustrations associated with IT work in years gone by.  Many companies have begun enjoying the benefits of using modern technology to build internal structure, and IT professionals will continue to enjoy the benefits of a more focused IT career for many years to come.

About the Author

Gil Artmoore has spent the past decade working in various roles in IT departments for many businesses both small and large. Recently, Gil started writing out the things he has learned, experienced, and witnessed in the small business and tech world during his career. He is eager to share his insights with the rest of the world.

Digging into the Trends and In-Demand Skills of the Canadian IT Job Market

Omar Khan By Omar Khan,
Account Executive at Eagle

Digging into the Trends and In-Demand Skills of the Canadian IT Job Market

 

Having worked in Western Canada’s IT staffing industry for several years, I’ve had the opportunity to see trends come and go, and I find it especially interesting to look deeper into what’s driving them. In our industry, perhaps the two most common trends we regularly monitor are overall hiring trends and demands for specific skills. Here are a few of my observations about what’s happening in the market today.

Overall Hiring Trends

Companies across Canada continue to talk about skills shortages and this will continue to be a topic of focus in the future. Managers in the IT sector are finding that additional duties are being put on their plates and thus the need for additional staff is growing. This lack of IT personnel not only affects the IT department but has an impact in other parts of the organization.

To address staffing issues, a trend that we have seen is that more and more organizations are hiring junior staff. They invest and hope to retain them by paying them well and/or train them on additional skills.

Another trend on the rise to address the shortages is allowing more remote work from different parts of the country, therefore gaining access to a larger talent pool.

Organizations are increasingly turning to staffing firms to help with their contingency workforce. Due to hiring freezes, contract work is on the rise and organizations are bringing in a contingent workforce, as contingent workers do not count towards organizational headcount.

Overall, we expect that organizations will continue to use staffing firms in large volumes, to access greater candidate pools to find top talent and to manage their contingent workforce.

More Specific In-Demand Skills

To understand where the location of job opportunities and what skills clients are hunting for most, it’s best to start at the top and understand what’s driving demand. Knowing what organizations are prioritizing and valuing gives insight into what kind of contractors they want to hire. Here are 8 specific trends I’ve noticed, and the in-demand skills as a result:

  1. Trends related to digital transformation continue and individuals with Transition and Change Management experience are growing in demand. In terms of accreditation for these types of roles, we are seeing requirements that include PROSCI for Change Managers and PMP for various other IT roles. The PMP certification is an indication there is more of an emphasis on soft skills for IT professionals to encourage productive collaboration.
  2. Hybrid-like roles are emerging as certain IT Professionals are wearing multiple hats i.e. Business Financial Analyst, Project Managers with Change Management backgrounds. On the notion of multiple hats, Managers are being asking for certification in AGILE, PMP and Scrum.
  3. The Cloud continues to be a popular subject and, with that, roles specializing in cloud migration, cloud system engineers, cloud architecture and cloud developers are also growing in popularity. Through these respective clouds, we are seeing more demand for experience in Virtual Machines.
  4. Healthcare continues to see transformation and in the needs of IT personnel. Cyber Security around healthcare is becoming more and more important. For example, many provinces are continuing to put strong emphasis on confidentiality of Electronic Medical Records and the patient privacy that surrounds them. This increases the need for security professionals across the country, especially in healthcare industry.
  5. Making sense of the overload of information and data in today’s business landscape is on the rise. Professionals with backgrounds in analyzing big data are in high demand. Roles such as BI Analysts and Data Scientist are roles our organization has filled and we continue to see demand.
  6. There is also consistent demand regarding network administrations, help desk and desktop support. Particularly around network administration, we are seeing requirements in certification such as CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) and other Cisco Certifications in security.
  7. Speaking of certifications, these can add up to 10 % in people’s salaries and add specialized knowledge. Certification in ITIL, MCSA (Microsoft certified solutions Associate), SAS and BI all are proving to be valuable.
  8. In many cases, tech is mixing with other areas of organizations. For example, we’re seeing more and more IT roles with more of marketing background in SEO, PPC, and Email Marketing .

Of course, that is just a few things we’re seeing right now. The future will see more opportunities in different areas. Although already popular, we’re bracing for an influx in demand for Blockchain, Machine Learning and AI.

Landing Your First Job in the Tech Sector in Canada

Sam Rahbar By Sam Rahbar,
Director, Training & Corporate Recruitment at Eagle

 

Landing Your First Job in the Tech Sector in Canada

 

Having moved to Canada at the age of 20, I personally experienced spinning wheels in the “job search”, feeling lost and hopeless. Fast forward 20 years later, there are thousands more jobs in the market but the challenges seem to remain the same.

I am approached every day by IT professionals through LinkedIn who are planning to move to Canada. They consistently ask me for direction and advice so I thought I would capture my thoughts once and for all.

Canada has been enjoying a steady growth in the tech sector, thanks in part to immigration policies that are driving U.S companies to expand their operations in Toronto and throughout Canada, according to an article by CIC News.

The article states that between 2013 and 2018, there were 80,100 tech jobs created in Toronto, as well as 22,466 tech degrees issued. That means there were 57,634 more tech jobs than tech grads. The article references a CBRE report that says “Toronto and the San Francisco Bay Area stand out as strong tech talent job creators each adding at least 54,000 more tech talent jobs than graduates,” the CBRE report says.

This should surely mean that it would be easy to land an IT gig in Canada, right? Unfortunately, it’s not quite that easy because “Canadian Experience” is a common requirement. Just ask thousands of IT professionals who immigrate to Canada in hopes of picking up where they left off and continuing their career in Technology in Canada.

Here are a few tips to consider in landing your first IT job in Canada:

Don’t Rely Too Much on IT Staffing Agencies

There are many IT specific staffing firms/recruitment agencies in Canada (over 330!). They operate by charging their clients (companies who are hiring) to find them top talent (IT professionals) within a very short timeline. Clients invest good money to have access to candidates with recent and relevant experience, ideally from a competitor across the street (i.e. Banks wants people from similar banks and phone companies want people who worked for their direct telecommunication competitors). This applies across the board for 95% of the agencies out there. They thrive on providing access to Just-In-Time talent.

While you may be qualified and capable of doing these jobs, they are looking for more than someone who can do the job, they also want someone who has done the job.

Because of this, Agency Recruiters will rarely be helpful to you until you have your first local job or contract. At that point, you will want to start building a relationship with them and they will fast track your next step, guaranteed!

Apply to Jobs Directly, and Target Smaller Companies

In continuation of the previous point, apply directly to the companies you are targeting. Ideally, follow smaller companies.

Applying to job postings from the agencies or large organizations means you will be playing the waiting game. Big companies/brands tend to have many openings, but they also must screen through hundreds if not thousands of applicants for their openings. And, they also tend to hire individuals with local experience and from their competitors. Since their applicant pools is so vast, they can afford to be picky.

Small companies, on the other hand, typically do not have big recruitment budgets and they are looking for individuals who want to wear multiple hats. They are open to developing the right candidate, as it is win/win for both parties.

Finally, regardless of where you apply, make sure to keep track of your resume/application. This way you can follow-up, and it will also save you from looking disorganized (.i.e. you won’t be that candidate that applies to the same job multiple times).

Work with Career Coaches and Job Developers

There are many organizations who provide support in the job search world. Work with independent, government-backed entities such as Destination CEO. If you are in Toronto, connect with superstars such as Meena Dowlwani, who is doing some incredible work bridging skill and employment gaps. You might also check out agencies such as Costi, who offer various workshops that will keep your job hunt skills sharp!

Network

This is my #1 piece of advice. I cannot stress enough the power and importance of Networking. If you are looking for a fulltime role, your personality, energy, vibe and communication is 90% of the deal. None of these traits shine through on your resume!

Be Visible

Your LinkedIn profile needs to be up-to-date. Once you make meaningful connections, it is key that you follow up on LinkedIn and also connect in platforms such as this one. There are way more backdoor references that happen through LinkedIn than you can imagine! To many IT recruiters, if you don’t exist on LinkedIn, you do not exist!

Stay Positive

Desperation is visible, so don’t let it affect you! Be mindful of your attitude and approach your search with smile and energy! Keep this in mind, along with all the other tips and you’re sure to be a step ahead in your new job search.

Best of luck!

Optimize the Contact Information Section of Your Resume

Optimize the Contact Information Section of Your Resume

Have you ever visited a company website and struggled to find contact information? You want to do business with them but have questions and there’s no obvious phone number or email address (at least not without having to sit through a sales pitch). Or maybe you want to understand where they’re located and there’s no sign whatsoever of a physical location. If you find that frustrating or immediately get a sketchy feeling about the company, then you officially understand how recruiters feel when they receive resumes with similar, shady contact details.

There are understandable and legitimate privacy concerns to not wanting to include too much contact information on your resume. However, these concerns have trade-offs that make recruiters question your credibility or struggle to get a hold of you when they’re interested in your experience. A better approach would be to include the necessary information and research the security practices of the third-party job boards to which you are applying. Or, although more time consuming, only submit applications directly to the companies who are hiring and have secure websites.

What Contact Information Should You Include on Your IT Contracting Resume?

The simple answer is “as much as possible.” A major difference between submitting your resume to a staffing agency as a contractor versus a company for a permanent position is that the latter resume is usually only going to be reviewed once. A contract resume with an employment agency will be searched over and over to match new opportunities as they arise. Among the many implications of this difference, that means your IT contracting resume must be easy to find in a database and ensure a recruiter can get in touch with you when they need to.

  • Email Address: Your email address should always be in your resume, and 99% of the resumes we receive at Eagle do have one. Nearly all job boards require an email address to create a profile, so it’s naturally included in your application anyway.
  • Phone: Your cell phone number is best because it guarantees you will be easy to reach and also opens the door for texting, which is faster and more convenient for everyone. It is helpful to specify which phone number goes to where (ex. Cell vs Home vs Office)
  • LinkedIn: The professional social network is a perfect way to keep an up-to-date version of your experience and it’s also a means to connect. When you include your LinkedIn profile, commit to responding to InMails from recruiters as they often communicate through the platform.
  • Website: Similar to LinkedIn, if you include a link to a personal website, be certain that also has an contact page, complete with a contact form so you can quickly be reached.
  • Physical Location: This is the line in contact information sections that we have seen disappear from resumes over the past few years, and it hurts candidates significantly. Recruiters — both at staffing agencies and corporate recruiters — regularly search databases of their applicant tracking system or third-party job boards. In the majority of their searches, they filter a search by location. When you do not include location in your resume, you are not appearing in the majority of search results. Of course, no recruiter wants to mail you a letter, so if privacy is your concern, feel free to leave out the street address. At a minimum, including city, province and postal code will cover your bases. It’s also worth noting that since cell phone plans today usually include nation-wide calling, contractors are less likely to update their number when moving. As a result, recruiters do not trust just an area code to determine if you are local.

Contact Information to Include on Your Resume When You Plan to Re-Locate

This is another common mistake we see by job seekers — they live in one city but want to work somewhere else. Many resume advice articles will tell you not to include a physical location, but for the reasons listed above (you’ll never be found and it makes you look sketchy) we strongly recommend you add something. If you are absolutely guaranteed to be moving, then use your new city, province and postal code as the main address in your contact section. Otherwise, include a note in your resume specifying your intentions including where you’re willing to work. In these complex situations, we encourage you to connect with a recruiter directly so they understand your intentions and can update their search criteria manually.

Finally, Consider a Section in Your Resume to Tell Recruiters Your Preferences

Would you rather receive an email before a phone call? Is there a better time of day that recruiters can call you? Or would you prefer to hear from them by text? Maybe there’s only a specific radius from your home address you’re willing to commute or you only check LinkedIn messages once per month. Whatever your preferences, a brief section in your resume that tells recruiters how they can get a hold of you most effectively means opportunities will come your way faster and more frequently.

IT Managers Want to Hire Critical Thinkers. Here’s How You Can Improve.

Critical thinking is a person’s ability to carefully and objectively think through a subject and eliminate personal feelings or opinions to arrive at a final decision. A great critical thinker not only systematically processes information to make rational, logical decisions, but they also fully understand a situation. It is an art of making logical connections between ideas and approaching a situation to get the best possible conclusion.

Many studies have been done about critical thinkers to determine what kind of people are most likely to excel in the area and there are a number of characteristics some argue which are shared among the best. We would argue that anybody can take their critical thinking to the next level and, for IT contractors, it is an absolute must if you want to remain competitive and best serve your clients.

Why Critical Thinking is Important for IT Contractors

Obviously, the ability to make tough decisions based on fact is a valuable skill for any leader. If you don’t plan on leading and are happy working as a team member, you still can’t overlook developing this ability. Critical thinking will help you evaluate situations, get your point across during a discussion (or argument), and develop the most effective solutions for clients. A strong critical thinker is also less likely to get manipulated, whether it be by a colleague, client or unethical recruiter (unfortunately, they are out there).

Most importantly, leading organizations are continually re-evaluating their job requirements and many soft skills — including critical thinking — are topping the list. In Deloitte’s 2019 Industry 4.0 readiness report, they surveyed 612 Technology, Media and Telecom (TMT) organizations, with a close look at a subset of the respondents who were considered “high innovators”. Those companies said that the number one skill they’re trying to develop isn’t technical skills, but instead Critical Thinking skills. They believe that human skills like judgement and critical thinking are unique to humans, can’t be replaced by robots, and are essential for interpretation and final decision making.

IT Managers Want to Hire Critical Thinkers. Here's How You Can Improve.

How You Can Improve Your Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is a hot topic that has been flooding the internet for years. We’d be absolutely shocked if this is the first post you’ve read about it and can guarantee it will not be your last. When looking for resources to improve, start with the low-hanging fruit. Explore the thousands of online articles, TED Talks, and books that  already exist to find something that works for you.

Here are just a few simple tips to get you started today:

  • Ask yourself the basic questions you may not have specifically answered yet. What are you trying to accomplish? What do you already know? Why is this an issue? In other words, make sure you truly understand the situation.
  • Know yourself and, more importantly, your cognitive biases that will affect your decisions (this is much more difficult than it sounds)
  • Understand any assumptions that are being made, and then question them. Are they still true or relevant?
  • Approach situations from different angles and with different mediums. For example, if you’ve only been discussing it, try writing it down or drawing a diagram.
  • Get other people’s point of view. Whether it’s talking to somebody you know or reading up on the topic (amateurs on online forums or published authors will all do).

As an IT contractor, improving your critical thinking will go beyond just serving your clients. It will also help you formalize your entire contracting plan and know which technology contracts to go after and staffing agencies to work with. You are also more likely to excel at tough job interview questions and impress recruiters. How are you improving your critical thinking?

Work Smart, Not (too) Hard in your Job Search

Work Smart, Not (too) Hard in your Job SearchContract or permanent positions — job searching is not easy. You must work hard if you want any chance of getting that phone call for an interview and, depending on your skill, job market and industry, it’s going to take time. But that doesn’t mean you should give into long hours and no social life just because you need to find your next gig.

Working hard is great if you’re doing the right things. Otherwise, 90% of that “hard work” will be wasted time, while only 10% of those hours are what get you a phone call from a recruiter. Create a successful, smart job search by bringing that percentage of quality time as close to 100% as possible. Here are four ways you can work smarter, and not harder, next time you’re looking for an IT job.

1. Manage Your Time

There’s a common illusion that putting in more time automatically means you will get more results. That is false. Whether you put in 5 minutes of 5 hours, time is irrelevant if you achieve the desired outcome. To best manage your time, embrace common time management practices and batch common tasks together. Check email during scheduled time blocks, answer the phone during certain periods and schedule specific time for breaks (yes, breaks are important!)

Avoid getting caught in common time-sucks due to misconceptions. Recruiters stress that a quality resume will set you apart from the competition, but, just like many software projects, searching for “perfection” is not always beneficial. Know when it is “good enough” to submit and move onto the next job application. Another misconception is that multi-tasking will save you time. Studies prove time and again that multi-tasking lowers productivity and leads to shabby work all-around. Still, so many of us fall into the trap, thinking we’re being more productive because we feel busy juggling multiple projects at the same time.

2. Take Advantage of Technology and Tools

There are so many technologies, tools and apps available (often at no charge) that will help you save time, maximize productivity, and work through the job search process. Start with your existing ones and learn how to maximize their shortcuts and settings. Templates, styles and macros throughout Microsoft Office can make resume-writing a breeze. The settings, automations and filters in Gmail (or any email client) will help you manage applications and recruiter responses as though you have a personal assistant.

After you’ve exhausted those options, evaluate other productivity tools. (Be careful, because here’s where you can fall down a rabbit hole.) Most major job boards allow you to set-up job alerts and some have apps that will send you push notifications. Make sure you review the leading tools to manage your calendars and reminders, store your resumes, keep your notes, and secure your passwords.

The more you can automate your life, the better – most of the time. Over-relying on technology, however, can also have disastrous effects. Working smarter can mean knowing when to eliminate the fancy stuff and sticking with tried, tested and true techniques, like picking up the phone and calling somebody.

3. Set Goals and Measure Results

The easiest way to let your job search (or any project) go off-track and waste your time is to have no defined direction. Ensure you know exactly what you want to accomplish — What kind of job do you want? Where and in what kind of industry? Which staffing agencies do you want to work with most? Then start each day by setting SMART goals. Review x jobs descriptions and apply to y of the postings. Call these recruiters, reach out those past colleagues on LinkedIn and follow-up on last week’s applications.

With proper goals and objectives, it’s easier to measure your success and track how you’re doing. Keep statistics and track data points to know what’s working and what’s not. Do certain job boards and staffing agencies bring better opportunities or rates? Is there a resume or email format that performs better than others? In the end, you’ll know where to focus your time and where time is being wasted.

4. Embrace Change (and know when not to change)

Change is inevitable and companies around the world are embracing it. If you want to succeed at your job search, you need to embrace change as well. A classic example of job seekers falling behind due to resistance to change is when the internet took recruiting by storm. Companies and recruitment agencies wanted to move to electronic formats, yet some job seekers were determined that the paper resume were still the way to go. The result? Recruiters ignored paper resumes because they were not in their electronic database and not searchable.

It’s smart to always adapt to changing environments and look for better ways to do those tasks you currently run through on autopilot. But, don’t change just for the sake of changing and never unnecessarily reinvent the wheel. Create templates of resumes, emails and interview questions that worked, or revisit and tweak those that did not. Trying a brand-new approach, simply for the sake of being different, is going to waste your time and is not smart.

Working smart is a must for anybody looking to get ahead in today’s busy world where time is a hot commodity. If you don’t believe us, then take it from Scrooge McDuck, the world’s richest duck. He relayed the message to his nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie in his famous quote “I made [my fortune] by being smarter than the smarties and tougher than the toughies.