Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: professionalism

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

Quick Poll Results: Do you swear at work?

Workplaces are trending to be more casual environments. Employers are more lean on dresscodes, lounges are popping up in offices, and a number of other progressive perks are bringing a more laid-back feeling to workplaces across all industries. With that mind, we set-out last month to learn if a more casual language is also working its way into the office.

The January Contractor Quick Poll asked our readers, comprised mostly of IT contractors, if they swear in the workplace. The results are clear that the  majority remain professional and are not bringing foul language into work.

Contractor Quick Poll Results: Do you swear at work?

How Recruiters Judge You before Your Resume

What an IT Contractor’s Email Address Tells a Recruiter Before They Even Read Their Resume

How Recruiters Judge You before Your ResumeA large part of a recruiter’s job is to judge people. That seems like a dream come true and quite natural for many people in this world, but recruiters have to strategically judge you. In addition to the basic math involved in reading your resume to see if your qualifications add up, they consider subtle details to see how you pay attention to detail, how professional you’ll be with clients, and how well you’ll interact with other IT professionals working on your project.

One of the first elements that a recruiter may notice is your email address. And if you have a back-and-forth email conversation with your recruiter, that personal branding element will continually appear in front of them.

An email address may seem like a trivial detail, but an article written by Jill Duffy at ITProPortal points out that it could speak volumes about who you are. According to Duffy, your address needs to follow 4 specific criteria:

  • Include Your Name in the Address: Your email address should include your name and, ideally, only your name. Try different combinations with initials, periods and hyphens until you find one that’s available. According to Duffy, you should avoid numbers at all costs, but if you must use one, keep it to a single digit.
  • Hosted by a Reputable Hosting Company: Free hosting services are fine as long as they are well-known ones such as Gmail or Yahoo, but also make sure it isn’t out-dated (Hotmail).
  • Do Not Use Your University or College Address: It’s great that you’re proud of the institution where you got your education, but it can send mixed messages to a recruiter. If the school is in a different city, they may question where you live, and they may also wonder if you’ve graduated yet.
  • Do Not Give Away Certain Information: It doesn’t matter how phenomenal you are at Dungeons & Dragons, DDExpert has no place in your address. Even if it’s related to your profession, for example JaneSQL@host.com, this isn’t advised. After all, maybe in 15 years, Jane won’t be interested in SQL jobs anymore. Similarly, Duffy says you should avoid birth years or locations in your address.

The complete post at ITProPortal goes into more detail and we recommend having a look if you’re interested in the topic. In the end, it’s important you see your email address from a recruiter’s eyes and when creating your email address, be in the mindset of creating it for life. This way recruiters, colleagues and clients can all contact you if they want to connect or need your services at any point in the future.

5 Tips for Business Writing

The rise of social media and other forms of electronic media has radically changed the way that people communicate on an everyday basis.  It is not just the young who text each other using the abbreviated “language of texting”, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have become mainstream ways to communicate and certainly email has unseated the traditional letter as the preferred communication method.

Along the way, the “art of writing” has become a casualty.  All too often, we see jumbled thoughts, poor grammar and spelling errors throughout business communications.  The good news is that this presents an opportunity for you to stand out as a contractor.  You’ll gain a competitive advantage and enhance your personal brand, simply by ensuring that your communication is professional, sentences are constructed properly, spelling is checked and thoughts are presented in a clear and concise way – EVERYWHERE including your resume, client reports, and emails to colleagues.

“Easy rading is damn hard writing” - Nathaniel HawthorneThere are lots of great sources out there that can help you improve your business writing.  Here are a few tips we practice at Eagle and want to share with you:

  1. Get very clear in your own mind what message(s) you are trying to convey.  Write them down and separate them so messages don’t get mixed up.  If you have several messages to deliver then make a call about whether they should all be in one communication, or several communications.  If you expect some action from the communication, then be clear about that too. A rant or a bunch of facts without a “call to action” is not very productive.
  2. Organize the structure of your communication. It should have an introduction with the main message, a separate section (paragraph perhaps) for each sub-message and a summary paragraph that ties it all together.  (Tell them what you are going to tell them; tell them; then tell them what you told them, which is the same structure for presentations).  If you are writing a tough letter/email, try “mapping it out” on paper first.
  3. If it is an emotional subject then be VERY careful to take the emotion out of your writing. It should be very factual.
  4. Keep it brief.  Most people don’t read long messages but rather scan texts and the more you “drone on” the less impact your message will have.
  5. For the tough, or more important, correspondence, get someone else to read it before you send it. They can vet it to ensure it is clear, professional and “hangs together” in addition to spotting typos.“The Reason one writes isn’t the fact that he wants to say something.  He writes because he has something to say.”  - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Modern communication tools are a way of life today, and with friends and close colleagues, it’s alright to use less formal way of writing. It can be dangerous, though, because the less you practice your writing (like anything) the more it deteriorates. So embrace the new technologies, BUT don’t forget how to write a good letter!

What do u think? Is it a good idea 2 use casual writing @ work?  Let us know with a comment!!!!!!!