Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: job search

Stop Getting Spammed by Recruiters

We sometimes hear complaints from IT professionals who say they’re getting “spammed” by recruiters and staffing agencies. They fire back angry emails demanding to be removed from mailing lists and claiming they never signed up to receive such communications. In some cases, maybe these responses are warranted, but for the most part, great recruiters aren’t buying lists of email addresses and mass mailing a whole bunch of unqualified people who will never care about their job opportunity. That’s inefficient and doesn’t lead to results.

Recruiters are always building relationships with top candidates so they can quickly find somebody when an opportunity arises. In situations when a recruiter is trying to fill a role with hard-to-find talent, they need to get creative in searching for new professionals who will match the job description. That’s when they start calling and emailing people they may not know personally, but they’re still not contacting candidates randomly.

Why Are You Getting Unwanted Email from Recruiters?

If you receive an “unwanted” email from a recruiter then there’s probably a reason… and your past actions may have something to do with it.

If you’ve ever searched for a job, then it’s plausible that your name and resume are in a database somewhere — a database that recruiters use to seek out new talent. Not only do recruiters search their own agency’s database of past applicants, but many subscribe to databases of other online job boards like Monster, Indeed and CareerBuilder. When you apply to a job through any one of those websites, you are asked if your resume can be public. If you select Yes (or don’t select no), then recruiters have access to your resume. If you look awesome and a fit for their job, you can expect an email.

LinkedIn and other social networks are other sites where strategic recruiters search and are the cause of your surprise recruiter emails. According to Canada’s Anti-SPAM Legislation, if your email address is public, then you’ve provided consent to be contacted. Therefore, if you have a superb LinkedIn profile with an email address that’s visible to the public, then at some point, a recruiter is going to send you an email.

How Can You Avoid Unwanted Emails from Recruiters?

Based on the sources provided above, there are three very simple ways to reduce unwanted emails from recruiters:

  1. Read carefully when applying to any job and select the options that prevent your resume from being made publicly available or in a database. (You may also need to avoid specific job boards all together)
  2. Keep good track of where you apply to a job and return to those sources when your job search is complete to remove your resume and/or close your account.
  3. If you must publicize your email address, include a disclaimer clearly indicating who can and cannot email you. You could also go a step further and include this at the top of your resume that you’ve uploaded to a job board.

While this post is to help you prevent unwanted email, we still strongly encourage listening to and giving a recruiter a chance. Look into the person’s experience and their staffing agency’s track record and decide if a relationship with them could be beneficial down the road. You don’t have to be interested in the current job but if your contract is going to be up or if you may be considering something in the future, it’s never a terrible idea to have relationships with recruiters in your back pocket.

What IT Contractors Can Learn (or not learn) from George Costanza

Busting Some Myths Seinfeld Taught Us About Job Searching

One of the hottest sitcoms of all time was Seinfeld, the 9-season TV show about “nothing” created by comedians Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld. It showcased the misadventures of four extremely selfish and quirky individuals living in New York City who, although sometimes faced consequences, got away with some devious schemes (at least until the final episode when they were sentenced to jail under a Good Samaritan law).

Perhaps the most dishonest character on the show was George Costanza, who was known for his many failed careers and plans to get away with doing as little as possible. While he often succeeded, he also often failed. Have you ever watched Seinfeld and considered implementing some of George’s outrageous plans? Just in case, we decided to review some of Costanza’s greatest career failures to create a list of (what should be obvious) job search and career tips:

Making Up References Does Not Work

In Season 3, Episode 17 (The Boyfriend Part 1) George lies to the unemployment office, telling them that he has a job interview lined up as a latex salesmen with Vandelay Industries. To cover the lie, he gives them Jerry’s phone number and asks him to start answering the phone “Vandelay Industries”. In the end, Kramer ruins everything when he answers the phone and knows nothing about the scheme.

There is rarely a scenario where lying to a recruiter about references, or anything for that matter, will turn out well. Even if your friends are all up-to-speed and willing to help you, there are technologies and other industry techniques that are sure to hold you back. The lesson here is to always be honest.

Sign a Contract and Know the Details of a Job

In Season 5, Episode 8 (The Barber) George ends a job interview unsure if he actually got the job and, if he did, what he would be doing. He decides to show up while the hiring manager is on vacation and spends a week “working” on the Penske File. A series of events follows, including some successes on George’s part, but in the end, he’s back to being unemployed.

This is an extreme example and independent contractors know to always have a contract with your client or agency. But are you always reading it thoroughly, along with the job description or statement of work, to understand the terms of agreement and what’s expected of you?

What You Say and Do without Thinking Could Burn Bridges (or lead to worse)

In Season 2, Episode 7 (The Revenge), George quits his job during a confrontation, clearly a decision made on emotion. He decided to return to work on Monday, pretending nothing happened, but the damage had already been done. He gets made fun of by his boss, seeks revenge for it and ends up fired anyway.

It’s not uncommon for us to see IT professionals burn bridges by speaking rudely to recruiters or clients, or even quitting out of anger, without thinking it through completely. The result not only ends the current contract but can have negative consequences on future work.

Bargaining is Good, but Don’t Get Greedy

Throughout Season 4, Jerry and George work together on their “show about nothing” and pitch it to NBC. With the many ups and downs throughout the process, one of George’s biggest regrets might be his negotiation. He decided to get tough and turn down an initial offer of $13,000 for a pilot, but ended up settling for $8,000.

Bargaining and contract negotiation is a natural part of the job search process when working with recruitment agencies or even directly with a client. Both parties want to leave with an agreement that is beneficial to everyone. There’s an important lesson to be learned from George about expecting too much or being too pushy. It could lead to a lost opportunity all together and having to settle for something less later down the road.

Bonus: Step Outside Your Comfort Zone (it actually worked!)

Season 5, Episode 21 (The Opposite) is an example of one of George’s obscure plans that actually proved beneficial. George decides to live the opposite of how he regularly would. From ordering at a restaurant to dating, he takes a complete reverse approach to everything in life. The result: George lands himself a new job!

You may not want to go as extreme as Costanza does in changing your life, but there is something to be said for stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying new ideas. When something isn’t working for you, a change is often the best solution.

How New Grads Can Land a Job without a Resume

Most college and university students across Canada are either just finishing or will soon be starting their Reading Week/Winter Breaks. Especially for those close to graduating and looking to get ahead of their peers, that means preparing for a competitive job search and maybe even sending out some applications.

The first step in any job search is creating a great resume that will grab the attention of employers and perfectly describe your skills and abilities. There are countless sources to help you write that resume — just last week we shared a video providing some fresh resume tips for 2018. What we often don’t talk about is how to search for a job without a resume.

This video from jobposting.ca provides 3 tips to find your next job without a resume, specifically for new grads who are just entering the job market. If you know anybody starting out their job search, you may help them reduce their stress level just by forwarding them this post. Or, if your career requires a detailed resume, these tips are perfect to supplement your job search any time.

Dating Advice That Applies to Your Job Search

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.

Conduct an In-Depth Job Search

Conduct an In-Depth Job SearchSometimes you have no problems finding your next IT project — the market is strong, past clients are following-up, recruiters are calling and contracts are getting extended. Other times, it can be a stressful struggle and seems like nobody out there, not even in other regions, is seeking a technology contractor with your valuable skillset.  If recruiters are calling you, they’re offering jobs that don’t really match what you do or for a rate that you’re hesitant to accept. The only option is to roll up your sleeves and search for jobs on your own.

There are many strategies and techniques to search for jobs. You can build your online presence to get access to more jobs, improve your networking skills to get an inside scoop, and of course, the traditional online job search. That online job search should not be underestimated. If you perform a search with enough depth, it’s amazing what kind of opportunities you may uncover that other IT contractors don’t know exist. Here’s a route you could take when conducting an in-depth, online job search.

  1. Start at Google
    Like most great searches, it’s perfectly alright to start your job search at the world’s most popular search engine. Many job seekers already do this, but what they frequently miss out on are all of the results. Instead, they click the first link they see that looks like it has potential, and never return. When you see a link that interests you, right-click on it to select the “Open in a New Tab” option. Do this as you go through many pages of your job search until results are no longer relevant to you.
  2. Follow-Through on Everything
    Now that you have a bunch of tabs open, view the job that you opened up, but don’t stop there. For each one, whether it’s a company’s unique career site or a larger job board, search all possible job opportunities. If there’s nothing for you but it could have potential, create a profile and sign up for job alerts if they’re available. (you may want to check out this post about managing your job search footprint)
  3. Repeat
    This is the step skipped most often. Once you’ve been through steps 1 and 2 in detail, start over at Google, but with different search criteria. Every query will bring you some duplicate results, but you’ll also see some unique pages. Try changing around keywords, think of other job titles employers may use, or add in more details such as specific skills, cities or industries.

Ensuring your job search process is in-depth may be time consuming, but doing it is the only way to make sure you’re finding the most possible opportunities when you need them. Starting at Google is a solid start and this will not change. Google recently launched “Google for Jobs” in the US, which uses Google’s search intelligence to find jobs with titles you didn’t even know existed, but fit your needs. It will allow you to conduct a detailed job search, but with less effort. Keep posted to the Talent Development Centre when Google for Jobs is available in Canada for a full review.

Contractor Quick Poll: What’s the worst part of job searching?

Independent contractors find themselves searching for jobs much more frequently than their counterparts in permanent IT jobs. As such, you’re most likely a seasoned veteran at job searching and have the process down to an art, but there are undoubtedly parts of the process you absolutely despise.

In this month’s contractor quick poll, we want to know what part of job searching independent contractors hate the most and regularly wish they could somehow skip over to the next step.

Applying for a Contract Job vs a Permanent Position

How to Adjust the Way You Search for Jobs When Looking for IT Contract Work

Applying for a Contract Job vs a Permanent PositionSwitching from being a full-time employee to an independent contractor comes with many changes. Everything from your lifestyle to how you get paid to where you go to work will suddenly be different. One change often overlooked by new IT contractors is the way they search for new work.

The first step in understanding how to look for work as a contractor is to know how and why hiring managers are seeking contractors. When dealing with permanent employees, HR departments search for long-term team members who will be a fit with the organization. They want a professional who will be there long-term to grow with the company. When contractors are the preferred choice, it’s often for a specific project and the hiring process is often managed through a separate department such as Procurement. The manager is primarily seeking somebody who has the skills to complete the job at the right price — personality and cultural fit is important, but rarely the top priority. Essentially, it becomes a business-to-business relationship.

Where Should You Look for IT Contracts?

Like any other job search, job boards and social networks are a good start for finding IT contracts. As well, there are websites such as Upwork and Freelancer that are designed specifically for connecting freelancers with companies looking for projects.

Don’t ignore the power a recruitment agency can have in finding you contract work. Staffing agencies will have multiple contracts available for you and the great ones will help you throughout your career. Building valuable relationships with the right recruiters could mean you’ll never have to search for work again. Instead, work will find you.

Finally, keep networking. Not just with Recruiters, but every professional you meet. As your network and reputation as a quality IT contractor grows, the effort you need to put into finding work will shrink.

Change the Way You Communicate

We can’t say it enough — being a contractor is completely different than being an employee and companies want to know that you understand that difference to protect them from certain risks. Demonstrate that you are in the correct mindset by adjusting your communication in resumes, interviews and on the job.

  • Ditch the cover letter. This traditional standard is in the process of phasing out for full-time jobs, but in contracting, it’s nearly useless. If anything, a summary in an introductory email will suffice.
  • Within your resume, eliminate any personal hobbies or career goals that employers typically look at to understand if you’re a fit in their organization and make sure you include a Profile Summary which outlines your key skills and experience.
  • Your interview will be more skills-based with questions targeted at learning how you will complete a specific project. While preparing for it, focus at answering questions related to the environment rather than where you see yourself in five years.
  • Keep in mind specific vocabulary that needs to change. For example as a contractor, you should talk about “rate” and rather than “salary”.

Before You Start Applying to IT Contracts

Prepare yourself before you start applying to these contract roles by understanding everything that comes with being a contractor. This includes a thorough comprehension of the business risks, knowing how accounting and taxes will be managed, finding a suitable insurance package and properly budgeting for the fact that paid vacation days and benefits are a thing of the past. We also strongly recommend incorporating your independent contracting business, as it will come with long-term tax benefits and make you more attractive to future clients. Finally, conduct extensive research to understand your rate as an independent contractor. Without this, you will either get stuck working for much less than you’re worth or not working at all due to a rate demand that’s out-of-sync with the current market.

Switching to independent contracting is an exciting. By understanding the application process and leveraging the tools available, you can cross “finding work” off of your list of stressors.

Quick Poll Results: Where do you search for jobs?

When and where are you searching for jobs? We asked that question in last month’s quick poll and, as usual, we’re sharing the results. Take a look and, just for fun, see if you follow the same routine as other technology professionals. Do you prefer to browse at home, on your lunch break at work or on the way to work (assuming you don’t drive)? Alternatively, maybe you don’t have a set routine and prefer to search anywhere when you have a few minutes or wait to be prompted by a notification.

Of course, there is no right way to search for jobs, as long as it is effective for you, and fits into your planned schedule. If you’re not setting aside time specifically for business development and searching for new contracts, that is a whole other issue. Consider some of these preferred times to take 5 minutes and browse your favourite job boards for new IT contract opportunities.

Quick Poll Results: Where do you search for jobs?