Talent Development Centre

Category Archives: Job Searching

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

Job Searching Does Not Take a Summer Break

David O'Brien By David O’Brien,
Vice President, East Region & Government Services at Eagle

Job Searching Does Not Take a Summer BreakAs we approach the Canada Day Long Weekend — the unofficial but nonetheless highly anticipated and (for most of us) deserved kick-off to a Canadian Summer — many have vacations pending with beaches, camping, travelling and just relaxing our minds. But what of those who are looking for their next assignment, contract or permanent? How do we navigate vacation season for clients and colleagues alike while searching for our next assignment?

Summer can be a tough time to job hunt. Here are some observations to consider that hopefully help achieve both!

  • Clients still need to move projects forward and, in fact, contractors may align perfectly in helping augment down time for FTE’s
  • If you are looking for perm, yes it’s true many contacts and clients in HR will be away, but what better time to differentiate yourself? In being available to interview, your “competition” for roles may also be on vacation and unavailable, to your advantage.
  • If clients are away, use this downtime to network and actively expand your network. Having “coffees” and meeting people on a soft visit can be easier in the summer months. Prepare your elevator speech/pitch so that you are ready for anyone you meet in the summer. You never know who that right connection may be at a BBQ, golf course or party.
  • Update your resume to be “ready to go”. It’s also a good opportunity to update your skills with online or other available course and options, if you anticipate a break.
  • If you are going away, be sure you are accessible. Going totally off the grid can lead to missed opportunity allowing clients to move to the next candidate as hiring cycles are quicker.
  • Be upfront and communicative to your recruiters and prospect pipeline if you are going to be away (especially if you are in the interview process) and follow up as soon as you can on return. Hiring Managers tend to act fast in the summer to ensure they get approvals and can close open positions before they and their colleagues go on vacation.

The perception that organizations don’t hire in the summer months is a myth. Hiring today is critical and a 12-month-of-the-year activity, with very little down time built in. Don’t miss out!

What You Need to Consider Before Accepting a Counter Offer

Alison Turnbull By Alison Turnbull,
Permanent Placement Specialist at Eagle

Nearly all IT careers begin in a permanent employment position, as opposed to jumping right into the market as an independent contractor. Naturally, then, at some point you’ll be in a situation where you land a new job, either as an employee at another company or as a contractor, and the time comes to tell your current boss you are leaving. It’s something that most people dread. Upon giving your notice, what happens if your company comes back with a pay increase and/or a promotion? Most people’s first thought is “Wow, I’m really valued here and they’ll do whatever it takes to keep me”. But before accepting that counter offer, be sure to consider all of the facts and do your research!

There are a plethora of articles out there explaining the reasons that accepting a counter-offer is equivalent to corporate death. Statistics prove that “over 80 percent of people who accept counteroffers either leave or are let go within a year.”

It’s important to ask yourself some important questions. Why were you willing to leave in the first place? What has changed? If it was strictly compensation, it’s possible that a counter-offer makes sense, but in the vast majority of situations there are other factors at play that just aren’t resolved by earning additional pay. If you are truly a valued employee, why did it take you almost walking out the door for them to pay what you know you are worth?

In many cases, an employer will be scrambling to backfill a position within your 2-week notice period and there will inevitably be gaps that will impact their business. By offering a nominal increase to keep you, they may be ensuring they are covering their bases but working towards replacing you on their own timeline. The other important factor is that you will always be the employee who wanted to leave, so if there is a restructuring, your name will likely be the first on the chopping block.

Be sure to carefully consider all of the aspects of consideration before declining that new opportunity and be sure you are doing what is right for your career in the long run.

10 Tips for Writing a Job-Winning Developer Resume

Recruiter Reviewing Job Applicant's ResumeWriting the perfect resume is not just time-consuming; it’s challenging. With a market that is bursting with talent, job posters can quickly receive hundreds of applications for the same project. Showcasing your skills in the best way possible is a practice in precision.

While there are different schools of thought on resume writing, web developers should be aware of a few critical factors. The best way to get an edge on the competition is with great style and well-presented information. Let’s take a look at what developers ought to do to craft a job-winning resume.

Formatting

As with any writing, utilizing good structure is important. Recruiters generally scan resumes to maximize their time during job searches. Therefore, using effective formatting can help get your resume to the top of the pile.

Consider organizing the information in your resume in this order:

  • Professional Career Summary
  • Skills
  • Work Experience
  • Projects
  • Software/technology programs
  • Education
  • Certifications

Today’s recruiters tend to prioritize good experience above all else. Your education and certifications still have value, but they don’t need to appear first on your resume.

Personal  information

Traditional resume formats included too much personal information. Clients don’t need to know your weight, height or eye color. While adding some personal data is necessary, it should only be the bare minimum.

Your name, title, email, phone number, and website are all you need to write on your resume. Although some are against it, feel free to include a photo of yourself. Depending on where your client is based, they might even expect to see your headshot in the top corner.

Professional Summary

Chances are if you are searching for a job, you have a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn has made it the norm for job seekers to present themselves with a professional summary. These summaries allow you to quickly highlight your soft and technical skills as a web developer.

In summary, you provide recruiters an overview of your career. Thus, be sure to include how many years you’ve been in the field. Also, write about any tech programs you’ve completed in that time. If you were in charge of training or managing other employees add that, too.

Keywords

Using the right keywords isn’t just for top-notch SEO; it works for your resume, as well. Pay attention to the terminology clients use to describe a project. If you use the same terminology as them, you’ll have a higher chance of being selected.

Plenty of businesses use automated systems to sift through resumes and keywords are vital to their algorithm. Unfortunately, if your word choice doesn’t match with a prospective client’s criteria, your resume may be wholly passed over. Ensure that you get a foot in the door by fine-tuning the keywords in your resume.

Experience

The experience you include on your resume is a primary deciding factor for your candidacy. Remember to remove any irrelevant experience. Furthermore, remove any experience from over ten years ago.

Hiring managers want to see what explicitly makes you perfect for the position they are looking to fill. Write a short paragraph about what your main contributions were to previous positions. Also, highlight previous experience that directly connects with the project you are currently applying for.

Spotlight Projects

While experience is essential,  projects can also help prove your worthiness as a candidate. Especially, if you are entry level and don’t have much experience, yet. Whether it’s an internship or a freelance project, adding it to resume helps you stand out.

First of all, they show your dedication and drive. Second, they illustrate any unique skills you may have acquired. If your projects are online, include a link!

Education

Although your education has to be on your resume, it’s not as crucial as your experience or projects. One line descriptions will suffice. However, you can certainly include extra information if you feel it will be particularly interesting for the position.

Education must be in reverse chronological order. Additionally, ensure that you list any special programs, boot camps or courses you completed. Certifications can go here, as well.

Technical Skills

When arranging your technical skills, be sure to eliminate any that are outmoded. No one will be impressed if you say you know how to use Windows 95. Show that you are keeping up with the latest software and programs in this section.

Connect your knowledge to your experience and elaborate on how you used your technical skills in the real world. Recruiters will appreciate concrete examples. Also, label your skills with a proficiency level, but avoid saying you’re a beginner.

Interpersonal Skills

Although web developers’ primary skills should be technical, interpersonal skills are important, too! Clients will appreciate a programmer who is a people person. Show your interpersonal abilities by utilizing specific language.

Strive to include active verbs like delivered, organized or elevated. Showcase your sensitivity to time and your ability to work well with deadlines. Moreover, go into detail about any leadership roles such as training or leading projects.

Tailor Your Resume

It might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s essential that you adjust your resume for each job posting. Even though the jobs may be similar, you need to optimize keywords and reorganize every time. The relevance of your resume depends on it.

Furthermore, keeping your resume as up-to-date as possible is never a bad thing. After all, technology is continually evolving. Tailoring your resume for each job is an excellent opportunity to check that your information matches your current skills.

Conclusion

Once you’ve perfected all of your content, take care to adjust your presentation. Opt for a spacious set-up instead of cramming information in. Don’t get too caught up in whether your resume fits into a single page.

Instead, please pay attention to your content and ensure its scannable. A colorful and creative presentation can be eye-catching; however, don’t go overboard trying to impress. Do your best to incorporate these ten tips, and you’ll be on your way towards your next web dev position.

Kristin SavageKristin Savage is interested in writing and planning to publish her own book in the nearest future. Also, she has been a reviewer at Pick Writers for a few years and is known for her thorough approach to accurately assess newcomer translation services. You can find her on Facebook.

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.