The Procom Jobcast

Resume Checklist

This is a list that was made to definitely be checked twice—perhaps even a third time. When it comes to your resume, format and design is a personal preference (although we definitely have some thoughts on the matter), but there are a few standard requirements that demand to be met if you’re angling for employment. So before you submit your CV, check this checklist:

1. Contact details

Sometimes the obvious can be oblivious to some,  but when you’re trying to be reached– you have to be able to be found. Did you get a new phone number or email address since you last applied to a job? Double check and on your resume, include:

Hint: Leave for your friends. Use a more professional email address when addressing a potential employer. Ensure your contact details are fully up to date and your name, phone number and email address are positioned at the bottom of each page. If the first page is misplaced, a recruiter or hiring manager will still be able contact you on the fly.

  1. Headline

Craft a summary with a short statement that outlines who you are and what you can offer. Like a 30 second elevator pitch, this will determine whether or not a recruiter or hiring manager will bother to read the rest of your resume.


  1. Experience

In reverse chronological order, include:

  • Company names
  • Dates of employment (including the months against years)
  • Quantifiable achievements

Hint: Don’t just simply list your job description; describe what you did during your employment and how you achieved the desired results. Result-orientated resumes are what recruiters and hiring managers are concerned about.


  1. Education

Unless you’re a new grad, leave highschool in the past and focus on the highest level of education completed along with your post-secondary education.


  • Full name of the post-secondary institute
  • Years attended
  • Degree completed


  1. Skills

Read the job description carefully and include any skills you feel would be relevant to the role.

Hint: Don’t just include your technical skills in the summary of your resume; ensure they’re listed throughout the body as well.


  1. Extras

This is the section where you can list proficiencies and abilities that include:

  • Licenses/certificates/awards
  • Social media accounts (if applicable)
  • Blog
  • Online portfolio

Hint: It’s awesome if you can bake a mean chocolate cake, but unless you’re applying to work in a bakery, leave that little extra bit on the plate and off the paper.


  1. Formatting

We’ve dedicated an entire blog to the proper formatting of a resume. To get noticed by the Applicant Tracking Systems recruiters and hiring managers use, take a look at how to SEO your resume like a pro.


  1. Grammar

As your professional first impression, your resume should present you in the best possible light. Proofread it—twice, and then give it to someone else for a fresh perspective. Avoid using slang terms and ensure you use plenty of action verbs.

Your resume is your foot in the door, don’t let it close without being invited in because you left out the basics.

7 tips to beat the Monday blues

The symptoms are undeniable and the cure often elusive, but it doesn’t take a PhD to diagnose a clear-cut case of the Monday blues. Not too many alarms are immune to the snooze button when manacled to the nine to five work week, but these tips may offer some respite from Monday’s motivation killers and get you in the mood to own the day.

Set the mood with music

Music can be the best medicine. Studies show music releases mood-enhancing chemicals in the brain. So this tip is basically science and probably irrefutable. So set your alarm to wake up to your favourite song and put on a playlist that gets you amped for the day.

Dress like a boss

When we look good we feel good—this is also probably a scientific fact, proven somewhere when a killer outfit slayed the day. Clothes have a tendency to build our confidence and dressing for success may be the key to unlocking your Monday. (Not that you don’t look great every other day, but perhaps save that awesome new outfit for the first day of the week for some extra oomph.)

Treat yourself

Whether you’re opting for eggs and bacon over the usual fruit and granola or splurging on that fancy coffee, make Monday your day to make it count. Because everyone should get a prize for putting on pants.


Smiling, like laughter, can be contagious. If the possibility of opening a landslide of emails is a dreadful prospect, do something that makes you smile first, like read a motivational quote… or watch a cat video—whichever strikes your fancy.

Pump up the Endorphins

Getting in an early morning workout at the gym or breaking up the day with walks is not only beneficial to your health; exercise also releases Endorphins within the body. Endorphins make people happy, and happy people have better days.

Prepare for Monday on Friday

Procrastination has a habit of eventually getting around to causing stressful situations. To make the beginning of the next work week easier, take care of the things you least want to handle at the end of the previous one. Make that uncomfortable call or resolve an outstanding issue, you’ll feel better knowing it’s over.

Plan a post-day plan

Your day shouldn’t be about battling through Monday to get it over with, but rather about having something to look forward to at the end. Make a plan with friends, eat your favourite dinner or catch up on TV shows you recorded—the day shouldn’t revolve around simply going to the office and home again.

Wake up your motivation when you wake up Monday and every day with these tips, so you don’t sleep on any great career opportunities.

It’s a zoo out there!

12 Office personality types

The workplace is prime spotting ground for watching different breeds of human interact outside their natural habitat. Some can co-exist while others should probably just face extinction. How many have you sighted?

The passive aggressor

Though they won't openly complain about others' lack of dedication, the passive aggressor has no problem letting you know how late he or she stayed the night before. Like the wild boar, this species is cunning and evasive-- often hard to hunt.

The Backstabber

This person likes to pretend he or she is your friend just to get close enough to your great ideas or to bad mouth you to management. Like a snake in the grass, this species can be tricky to spot.

The slob

This is the person who brings fish for lunch, lets his or her spaghetti sauce explode all over the microwave or spills coffee droplets on the counter without cleaning them up. Like the pig, this species is totally fine working in a sty.

The chatty Kathy

The chatty Kathy can be counted on for at least 30 minutes of "who cares" chatter a day. Like the parrot, this species doesn't care if anyone is actually listening or not-- they just can't keep their chatter to themselves.

The delegator

The delegator loves to act like the boss and assign tasks but never really does any work of their own. Like the Queen Bee, this species thinks it's his or her job to make yours harder.

The workaholic

The workaholic is typically an aggressive, independent, ambitious and rigid type of person. They're the first one in and the last one out and can't actually believe you have a life outside work. Like the Great White, this species is merciless, hard to stop and eats anyone in the way.

The noisemaker

The noisemaker is the person who's always whistling, singing, humming, gum-snapping, knuckle-cracking or chair-squeaking with zero apologies. Like the barking dog, this species is completely oblivious to how infuriating he or she is to anyone around.

The gossip

The gossip could perhaps be the most detested of them all. This person loves discussing a co-worker's plight, salary differentials or who's going where with who. Like the jackass, this species is often bored and easily amused.

The overly ambitious intern

The overly ambitious intern could have seemed great at the beginning-- enthusiasm is contagious! But now they're popping over your shoulder every other minute and you're counting down the days until they're back in the classroom. Like the eager beaver, this species has good intentions, but can be rather annoying.

The injustice collector

The injustice collector is a Debbie downer who does nothing but complain about other co-workers, their workload, management or the colour of the sky. It doesn't matter. Like Grumpy Cat, this species just has nothing to smile about.

The over-sharer

The over-sharer doesn't understand the boundaries of too much information. He or she has no sensor what-so-ever and has zero problems telling you about their personal life or bizarre health issues. Like the baboon, this species has no shame.

The backbone

The backbone is the person you can count on to get the job done no matter what. They just make things happen. They may not necessarily be the pack leader, but they're reliable. Like the elephant, this species never forgets.

5 Things to do when you don’t get the job

No matter how it’s sugar coated, the bitter taste of defeat has a tendency to linger much longer than we’d like. When you don’t land the job, bruised confidence can make it hard to get back into the game, but sometimes you just gotta take a page from T-Swift and shake it off—and hey, she clearly isn’t doing too bad for herself, right?

Try these tips from our silver-lining playbook to turn a disappointing loss into an epic job search game changer.

  1. Think positive

On average, a recruiter receives about 250 resumes per job posting. That’s 249 other applicants–but YOU landed an interview. Think about that part for a second because it’s pretty impressive. So you didn’t get the job, but you obviously have skills. There’s a lot of behind the scenes decisions that happen when a company is hiring. Sometimes it’s not about you or anything you could have done (or done differently). Another candidate could have simply known one more computer program than you, so don’t take it personally.

  1. Get feedback

If you really want to know, ask. Granted it’s a rarity for a hiring manager to tell you directly why you weren’t the top pick, but if you’re working with a recruiter, he or she should be able to direct you to the specifics of why you weren’t chosen. You may have been the perfect cultural fit but missing the year of relevant experience another candidate had. In either case, you’re better off knowing, so you can refine and hone any potential weaknesses or mistakes you’re making.

  1. Fill in the gaps

Are there training programs or workshops you can take to better prepare you for the positions you’re applying for? If you need to add a bit more oomph to your experience, you may want to consider doing something about that before you apply for another position, or you could face the same outcome. Seek out experience or training that will put you on the same level as your competition.

  1. Don’t burn bridges

Be gracious, follow up with a thank-you email and if you really feel like you still want to be a part of the company, let the hiring manager know. Maybe the candidate they chose doesn’t work out, or another role may become available that you’re better qualified for—letting the company know you’re still interested can cement you in their minds as someone who is resilient and a team player.

  1. Let it go

Job hunting is stressful, but all worrying does is cause wrinkles. There are a lot of things we can control, but we have to learn to simply do our very best at the things we can and let go of what we can’t. How can you get excited and motivated for another opportunity if you’re still hauling emotional baggage? Live, learn and let it go.


Here’s the biggest piece of advice: Remember, it isn’t the end of the world. The job search process can be long and arduous, but nothing good comes easy, right?

100 Words you should use in your resume


So, you’ve already SEOd your resume like a pro with relevant keywords to get past the gatekeeping robots, but once the electronic doc hits human hands, a weakly worded CV is like a limp handshake. Try incorporating a few of these top 100 words into your resume when describing your career achievements to wow once the keywords have already done their job.

  1. Advanced
  2. Assigned
  3. Assessed
  4. Absorbed
  5. Accelerated
  6. Attained
  7. Attracted
  8. Announced
  9. Appraised
  10. Budgeted
  11. Bolstered
  12. Balanced
  13. Boosted
  14. Bargained
  15. Benefited
  16. Beneficial
  17. Comply
  18. Critiqued
  19. Closed
  20. Collaborated
  21. Designed
  22. Delegated
  23. Demonstrated
  24. Developed
  25. Detected
  26. Efficient
  27. Enhanced
  28. Excelled
  29. Exceeded
  30. Enriched
  31. Fulfilled
  32. Financed
  33. Forecasted
  34. Formulated
  35. Generated
  36. Guided
  37. Granted
  38. Helped
  39. Hosted
  40. Implemented
  41. Investigated
  42. Increased
  43. Initiated
  44. Influenced
  45. Integrated
  46. Innovated
  47. Instituted
  48. Justified
  49. Listed
  50. Logged
  51. Maintained
  52. Mentored
  53. Measured
  54. Multiplied
  55. Negotiated
  56. Observed
  57. Operated
  58. Obtained
  59. Promoted
  60. Presented
  61. Programmed
  62. Provided
  63. Projected
  64. Qualified
  65. Quantified
  66. Quoted
  67. Recommended
  68. Refine
  69. Revamp
  70. Reacted
  71. Retained
  72. Recovered
  73. Reinstated
  74. Rejected
  75. Sustained
  76. Skilled
  77. Saved
  78. Scheduled
  79. Supported
  80. Secured
  81. Simplified
  82. Screened
  83. Segmented
  84. Streamlined
  85. Strengthened
  86. Triumphed
  87. Troubleshot
  88. Taught
  89. Tutored
  90. Translated
  91. Trained
  92. Uncovered
  93. United
  94. Unified
  95. Updated
  96. Upgraded
  97. Validated
  98. Viewed
  99. Worldwide
  100. Witnessed

Keywords get you noticed by the robots, but a well written resume gets remembered by recruiters. These words will help bolster your CV, so you don’t miss out on any opportunities. 

Mid-month Movember recap: Meet the Procom Mo Bros

Meet the Mo Bros of Procom! It’s mid-month– but not too late to get in on the Movember men’s health movement.

Procom’s Vice President of Business Development, Alex Mackenzie; Technical Recruiter, Bryan Aharan and Team Lead, Bowen Cheung are stache-challenging for change.

The Movember Foundation is a global charity committed to men living happier, healthier, longer lives. Since 2003, millions have joined the men’s health movement, raising $677 million and funding over 1,000 programs focusing on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health and physical inactivity.

Join Procom in taking action by raising awareness and educating men year-round. Click here to donate to Procom’s team today and help create a change for men everywhere!


3 Workplace habits that can shatter your morale as a contract worker

When you’re on a short term contract, you’re probably trying to make the best impression possible in hopes it may get extended. Of course you are, we all seek security. But sometimes bad habits have the propensity to inadvertently develop, making good impressions in the short-term that aren’t really sustainable in the long run. Here are three of the top ones we know you should definitely consider breaking:

Over-explaining yourself

Hands up if you have ever talked in circles about something until you actually no longer believed yourself, or could remember your initial opinion. We’ve all been there. You know, like when someone is already agreeing with you about something, but then you keep telling them why they should? And then you add in more pieces of information and start tripping over your words and then get even more emphatic to counteract the fact that you are aware that you’ve now started to sound like you’re nervously repeating yourself? Like we did in this paragraph? Yeah. Don’t do that. If you don’t have confidence in your ideas, who else will?

Not speaking up in meetings

The only thing worse than talking too much is not talking enough. Too many of us coast through a meeting without speaking up because we think a bad idea is worse than no ideas. That’s a definite misconception. Trust us. Showing up without contributing any thoughts or ideas is just as bad as showing up without a pen and notepad. (Don’t ever do that either.)

Taking on more work than you can handle

It’s really hard to say “no” as a newcomer to a workplace. You want to show initiative, but you also can’t bite off more than you can chew.  But do you know what’s even harder to say? “I haven’t finished that yet, I’m sorry. I was working on something else” or “I haven’t had the time to touch that yet.” When you over extend yourself, that’s the road you’ll be headed down. Instead, say “I’m happy to do this if there’s something else on my list that I can bump down while I’m working on it!” This way your reputation won’t be as someone who isn’t reliable. You don’t want to be relied on to be the unreliable one.

There are ways to show initiative and still not bog yourself down. As a talented contract worker, there are always available opportunities, don’t miss out on one that can lead to your dream career.

5 Job interview questions the right fit should ask









There’s that something about a new pair of jeans when they fit just right. They feel good, you feel good, and there’s a general overall sense that it was meant to be. That’s what it should feel like when you come across a career opportunity that you know should be yours– like you’re looking for that go-to pair of jeans. You applied for a job because you liked what you saw, you meet with a potential employer to gauge the fit, and if you just know it’s the one for you, these are the questions you should ask to make it yours:

1. What do you like most about the company?

Corporate culture is important. This question gives you a chance to get an insider’s perspective into what it’s like to actually work within the company.

2. What are the top traits that your best employees have in common?

Performance matters. This questions gives you an insight into what your employer will expect from you. A company can’t operate with just a single personality trait, but asking this will give you a good
indication as to whether or not the company and position are up your alley.

3. What are the company’s core values?

Of course you’ve already done your due diligence and scoured the company website and literature—(these could be found there), but directly asking what the company believes in shows that you care about what the brand is striving towards.

4. What is the top priority for the person in the position within the first 90 days?

This is a helpful question to ask because it shows your intention to perform and take initiative; it also helps you delve into knowing what your potential employer’s expectations are. If you get the role, you’ll also know what to focus on from the beginning.

5. What are the company’s goals for this year?

Asking about the company’s goals will give you a good idea about the direction and ambition of the brand. Can you rally behind them? Can you contribute to making them a reality? Do they get you excited about wanting to be a part of the strategy?

The right fit is out there. And it’s waiting for you. Asking these questions will give you a good indication as to whether or not the position and company you’re looking at is the one for you.

23 Recruiter resume pet peeves

Top recruiter resume pet peeves

From resumes featuring centaurs to shirtless selfies, our recruiters have seen it all. Here’s a list of the top CV pet peeves you should try to avoid.

Lack of contact details

Double check that your phone number(s), email and postal code are included and up to date. You can’t be contacted if you can’t be reached.

No postal code

If your postal code isn’t listed, the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) recruiters use to find resumes won’t find you. It’s called a radial search.

Lack of keywords

Your resume should contain keywords that match the job description you’re applying for. Along with your postal code, it’s how an ATS will find you.

Fancy formatting

Leave the grids, charts and text boxes off the resume. An ATS won’t read them, and a recruiter will have to reformat.

Inconsistent fonts

Stick to a single font. Use one font size for a headline and one for the rest of your resume.

Different colours

Your resume should not resemble a rainbow. Stick to the black and white basics.

Failure to take advice

A recruiter knows what their client is looking for. If you receive constructive criticism about your resume, implement the advice.


Here’s a fun fact: Every resume you submit is kept on file. Forever.
The inconsistencies in your various CVs will be noticed.

It’s vague

Recruiters and hiring managers want to know what you’ve done with the technology you’ve worked with, not the number of years experience you have with it. What projects were you involved in? Can you quantify it? How many/how much etc? What were the results of the projects/deliverables and what were the successes? These are what matter.

Spelling errors and bad grammar

After you double check your resume for spelling, grammar and punctuation, have someone else look it over as well.

Unnecessary capitalization

Proper nouns and organizations receive the capital letters. If you choose to capitalize your job titles, make sure it’s consistent through out the entire CV.

Listing a marital status

Being a married mother of three is great, and it may contribute to your multi-tasking skills, but a resume isn’t the place to highlight these accomplishments.


Candidates need to find the balance between personalizing a resume and too much information. Listing hobbies and interests that pertain to the job description is fine, but knitting and bird watching really don’t have anything to do with being a Java Developer.

Lack of technical skills

When you include your technical skills in the summary of your resume, make sure they’re also listed in the body as well.

Copy and pasting

Psst! Recruiters read the same job descriptions you do, so when you copy and paste the desired skills listed into your resume, they can tell.

Unqualified candidates

If you don’t have the experience, you shouldn’t apply for the position. Transferable skills are great and are always taken into consideration, but a candidate with intermediate level experience shouldn’t be applying for a vice president position.


Unless you’re applying for a photography position, just no.

Only listing contact details in the header

You should list your name, phone number and email at the bottom of each page of your resume in the event the first page is misplaced.

PDF versions

Only sending a resume in a .PDF means that a recruiter has to ask you for another version (and wait for that version) to make any changes or remove contact details before submitting to a client.

Missing months

Not putting months against the years of experience is a resume no-go.

Missing company names

If you’ve worked for them, you need to work their name into your resume.

Too wordy

If you can’t list your professional skills and experience in 3-6 pages, you’re being far too wordy.

Proficiency implications

You should never assume that just because you held a position that required you to use excel, that a recruiter should automatically know you have used excel. You should list all your proficiencies.

10 Habits that make you look unprofessional at work

Old habits die hard—sometimes with a vengeance. We can all at some point in our lives become creatures of habit, and it’s hard to change the behaviors we’ve become accustomed to. But like mom always said, “There’s a time and place,” and certain habits just have no business being in a business atmosphere.

These are some of them:
1. Using filler words
Like, you know, ummm whatever. Being inarticulate can be like such an obvious, like, thing that super shouldn’t like happen in the office and stuff. Because, like, you know, it’s hard to get your point across when you’re like, not being clear. (Enough said.)

2. Being late
If you’re late to dinner with friends, hey, they can order the apps; if you’re running late for a soccer practice, stuff happens, but if you’re perpetually late to work or meetings, it’s simply rude and unprofessional to those who were on time and prepared. Being on time shows that you’re professional enough to care.

3. Upspeaking
Upspeaking happens when you end all your sentences in an upward tone, like you’re asking a question. More often than not, people aren’t even aware that they’re guilty of the offence, but unless you’re working on the set of Clueless 2.0 and Alicia Silverstone is your co-worker, don’t bring the upspeak to the office.

4. Lazy profanity
Sometimes certain four letter words can act as nouns, adjectives or verbs; in either case however, if used in an all-purpose capacity, it may leave some to wonder if you’re equally uncreative in using words as you are in everything else you do. Also, swearing in the workplace shouldn’t happen anyway.

5. Over-emoting
We’re all human and life tends to happen, but being overly emotional at the office isn’t going to earn you any promotions. Crying, screaming, stomping and general overall hysterics should be left at home.

6. Complaining or being too cool to care
They’re on different sides of the spectrum, but both still earn the same response. Everyone has a job to do, and no one is going to be happy all the time. Vocalizing your displeasure in the most minimal of capacities is palatable with the right audience, but complaining about work at work isn’t wise. On the opposite end, acting like you don’t care about your job or company shows disrespect for coworkers and employers who do care about their position and performance; it’s a casual fatality.

7. Email emojis
Almost as bad as bad grammar and punctuation is the overzealous use of the email emoji. A professional email sent to clients or management shouldn’t contain smiley faces.

8. Flirting

Yes, we’re human, and our brains are predisposed to notice those we find attractive. Complimenting a colleague on a new hair style or shirt is fine, but excessive flirting, especially with the aim of career advancement, isn’t appropriate. Boundaries in the office are a good thing.

9. Being the class clown
Humour in life is important, and laughter is good, but being that person who can’t communicate without joking all the time isn’t a professional look. A good joke every now and then can be conducive to productivity, but being the class clown doesn’t belong in the workplace.

10. Being too plugged in
Put your phone down. That is all.

Whether you’re in a corporate boardroom or a casual environment, the workplace is where we work. Corporate culture will vary from business to business, but an overall sense of unprofessionalism in the workplace is always noticed.

6 Signs that your job interview isn’t going well

There’s this thing about interviews…

They can often feel as though the person on the other side of the table is holding your future in their hands. And most hiring managers have a habit of keeping a poker face that masks any cues as to how you handled their questions. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, and more often than not, you have no idea on which side to place your bet.

They may be holding all the cards, but these subtle signs can hint that you aren’t going to be walking away the victor:

  1. It’s short and sweet

In this case, timing isn’t everything, but it does matter. A successful interview should be around a minimum of 45 to 60 minutes. If it’s going really well, it can go longer and you will meet with more than one interviewer.

  1. You’re walking on easy street

If the hiring manager isn’t asking you any hard questions, there’s a chance that you aren’t being seriously considered for the role. When you aren’t given the opportunity to demonstrate how you problem solve and think on your feet, it may be believed that you don’t have the skills or experience related to the job description.

  1. You aren’t told about the next steps in the hiring process

If the next steps in the process are vague or the hiring manager continues to reiterate that they still have other candidates to consider, chances are: The process has ended and there are no next steps for you.

  1. The hiring manager seems distracted

Are you noticing that the conversation isn’t running very smooth? Is there a lack of eye contact? Did the interview end with you receiving some “friendly career advice?” You could have made a poor first impression or another candidate could have made a super star one, leaving the hiring manager to just go through the motions with you.

  1. You aren’t being sold

If you aren’t hearing about why the company is such a great place to work, it may be because they don’t think you’re the right fit to be working there. Sure, you want to sell yourself and your skills, but when an employer finds the candidate the company wants to hire, they want to sell you on why you would want to be a part of the team.

  1. The silence is very loud

When there are long gaps in between questions or you feel like the hiring manager is trying to think of what to ask next, it can be because he or she doesn’t know how to handle their lack of interest. Sure, it could be a hectic day, but if it seems like your resume is being viewed for the first time or your background is completely foreign to them, it could be because interest has dwindled.

It’s probably a given that if you try to bluff your way through a job interview, you aren’t going to get very far. But even if you come prepared and lay all your cards on the table, you still may lose. Stay positive, keep going and don’t lose sight of the great opportunities ahead!

How long would you survive in a horror movie?

How long would you survive in a horror movie?

We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: When it comes to surviving horror movies (and job interviews), there are very specific rules! How long would you last? Take our Procom Halloween quiz to find out!

Prologue death

Uh oh. You couldn’t even make it through the first 5 minutes. You actually got taken out before the opening credits even rolled just to show that there’s something lurking for everyone else to deal with.
Stop being so curious about weird sounds and stuff!
You’ll want to learn to follow the rules if you want to make it in the real world.

First to bite the dust

Sure, you out lasted the prologue death scene, but you probably ran up the stairs instead of going out the front door. Investigating that creepy noise probably wasn’t worth it, right?
You’ll want to learn to follow the rules if you want to make it in the real world.

Next to last

Whatever took you out is still alive, but you sure put up a fight! You almost made it to the end and most certainly did not go gently into the night. You definitely bought the sole survivor enough time to escape.
So that’s something, right?
Learn to brush up on your skills, so you don’t come up second in your job search as well.

Sole survivor!

Nicely done! You made it to the end in one piece! Did you come upon a weapon to fend off the monster? Maybe you used your outstanding wits to outsmart it and get away? Or perhaps you remembered these rules? Regardless, you won!
You’ve taken out the bad guy, now take your new-found transferable traits and kill it in your job search as well.
Ps… Sorry about your friends and stuff…

Second to go

Did you ignore the obvious danger around you and sneak off somewhere for some illicit or inappropriate behaviour? Psycho killers HATE that! Maybe it’s a jealousy thing?
Learn to follow the rules if you want to survive in the real world.

It’s go time. How prepared are you when it comes to physical confrontation?

I’m a lover, not a fighter

I’ve been waiting for this moment my while life…

Anytime, anywhere. Let’s do this!

I’m not a fighter, but I’m dangerous if cornered!

It’s party time! Choose your poison:

I’ll have a beer.

I’ll take the highest-proof liquor. Taste don’t matter

I don’t drink… What else you got?

The hard stuff, thanks.

I’m driving, water it is.

Which high school character do you mostly identify with?

The misunderstood jock

The geeky brain

The bully dealing with his own demons

The popular girl

The quiet girl people think is weird

Uh oh! We’re all out of beer. Can you grab some from the garage?

Sure, be right back, guys!

Yeah, but not going alone; it’s dark and creepy in there.

Yeah, but I’m taking this baseball bat with me.

Yeah, but I’m taking my bf/gf for some private time…

You just ran a mile without stopping. How do you feel?

This is what will be the death of me.

Can’t breathe and vaguely nauseated.

Phew! That was tough but not that bad.

I can do a few more miles if I had to.

You’re out camping with friends and you venture off alone on firewood duty when you hear a strange noise. What do you do?

Call out, “Hello?” or “Who’s out there? Guys?”

Turn on your flashlight and investigate

Nope! Don’t do scary noises. Heading back to the group now!

What kind of student were you?

A+ all the way! I also really liked extra curricular activities like cheerleading and football.

I went to class, did my thing, passed every time. No big deal

Barely went to class. I’m smarter than the teachers.

I came. I saw. I plan on graduating.

Imagine you’ve just emerged victorious after a battle with a killer. What do you do next?

Walk away.

Stare down and gloat over the body.

Be sick and cry uncontrollably.

You’ve watched The Walking Dead. Destroy the brain or heart to make sure it’s dead.

Do you have a history of saying nasty things to those you feel are your social inferior?

Of course not, no.

There are some moments I’m not too proud of.

You mean those losers?

I’m pretty sure we’re all kinda equal.

You’re hiking in the woods and you spot a bear cub ahead. What do you do?

That’s SO CUTE! I wonder if I can get any closer…

Where’ there’s a baby, there’s a mama… run away… fast!

Ignore it and find another path.

Wait for mama bear to show up and take the sucker down. Bears are dangerous!

9 Ways you can work social media to find a job

Remember social media before selfie saturation? It was a glorious time and a period where actual networking was the preferred method of millennial communication– long before soliciting Retweets and Likes for “on fleek” eyebrows pummeled the social scene.  It’s an ever evolving world.

By 2020, the tech-savvy, hyper-connected Gen Y population will make up 50% of the workforce, so it makes sense to bring networking back to social media when it comes to finding work—but they’re not alone. Another 80% of Gen Xers and 70% of Boomers are also online. With everyone and everything connected, the digital landscape is ripe with low hanging fruits of employment opportunities. Try these tips to grasp a plumb position for yourself:

Hone your personal brand

Your social media profiles say a lot about you, and you want to ensure you’re communicating the right message. How do you professionally want to be perceived? Update out of date information, check for typos and grammatical errors and remove any content that might discourage a potential employer. You also need to be consistent with your name.  If your resume name is James M Smith- try to keep the same brand through social media.  If you have different naming conventions, it’s hard to tie your brand all together. You should also know what social platform your audience uses most and get in on the conversations.

Set your privacy settings

One third of employers have admitted to dismissing candidates based off what they saw on their social media account. Hiring managers are looking, and they won’t “Like” any evidence that could indicate any inappropriate behavior. Privacy offers protection against any assumptions.

Reach out to your Facebook friends

These people are your friends and personal contacts; while you may not interact with some on a regular basis, they’re still invested in you and want you to succeed. You never know who has heard of an open position, so writing a status letting people know you’re looking can uncover many potential leads.

Build and tailor your LinkedIn profile—then network!

Think about the type of job you’re looking for, the industry you want to work in, who your target audience is and tailor your personal brand to fit. Join groups related to your field and engage in discussions to build connections. Following companies you want to work for will also alert you to any job postings. Remember: Networking with group members and companies doesn’t mean straight out asking for a job; it’s building relationships.

Engage on Twitter

First, ensure your Twitter profile is employer-friendly; 94% of recruiters are using social media to source candidates, and people can still see tweets that you’ve favourited even though they don’t show up on your timeline. Follow companies and influencers you want to work for, if they tweet their blog posts, leave an insightful comment, showing the value you can bring to the brand.

@ Twitter handles (sparingly)

Did you come across an interesting blog or article of an influencer or company you want to work with? Use their Twitter handle to send a tweet letting them know what you thought. Though this shouldn’t be done often (as you may come across like you’re trying to brown nose), people like to know that their content is engaging, and it demonstrates your interest in the field.

Leverage hashtags

Hiring managers and recruiters are using them, so you should be too. When you post to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+, use hashtags like #jobsearch, #jobhunt, #jobseeker or #hireme. When searching for job postings, use hashtags like #hiring, #careers, #gethired, #jobs or #Tweetmyjobs. If you’re looking to drill down on a specific industry, like IT for instance, use hashtags like #Techjobs or #ITjobs. You can also add the city you’re looking in (#ITjobsToronto).

Have a blog

Having a professional blog is positioning you as an industry resource and thought leader. You can build your social capital by becoming known as a source of provocative and vibrant content.

Create a website or digital portfolio

Content containing images gets 94% more total views than content without, and attaching a link to your website or portfolio along with your post automatically showcases who you are and what you do to any potential employer.

Social recruiting is on the rise. Are you reaching your full potential?

5 interview mistakes that will kill your career chances : The Halloween edition

Tricks for treats are never a guarantee, and tasteless tricks can be downright poisonous—especially when it comes to a job interview.

Unprofessional behavior can kill your career chances faster than a bad movie can massacre an awesome franchise—remember wanting to watch Jason X?

(No? EXACTLY!) Because Jason had no business being in space.

Surviving a job interview is like surviving a horror movie: There are very specific rules. Avoid making these monstrous mistakes that would land your resume in the same bin as James Issac’s 2001 cinematic catastrophe (who hasn’t directed anything other than C-list, straight to DVDs since, by the way)…

See where we’re going here?

  1. Showing up too early or too late

Strolling in too late is an obvious no-go. But over-eager beavers can also leave a negative impression. Being too early or late says you don’t respect the interviewer’s time, who still has a full day of his or her own work to do.

Golden horror rule of survival: Never run up the stairs

Give yourself enough time. Plan to be in the reception area with 10-15 minutes to spare. You don’t want to have to run back home (and up the stairs) if you forgot something.

2. Wearing the wrong attire

There’s a difference between standing out and being too distracting. If your clothes are too casual or too revealing, it may offend the hiring manager. For men and women both, it’s generally a good idea to know your field, know your geography and default to a suit if you’re not sure and aren’t willing to risk making a bad impression.

Golden horror rule of survival: Pay attention to your surroundings

If the usual office attire is a designer suit with a pocket square, then wear that to your job interview. If the usual work wear is jeans and rock and roll t-shirts, wear a button-down shirt and khakis with no tie. Also, get plenty of sleep the night before, no one wants to wake up like the walking dead.

3. Being a know-it-all or getting too familiar

An interview is a business conversation. Business. Having great experience combined with an outgoing personality can be a huge asset—as long as you don’t use it to sound like you’re bragging or trying to become too familiar with the hiring manager.


Golden horror rule of survival: Don’t be the jerk

Discuss your achievements in a team-centered way. Sharing credit for your accomplishments can minimize the potential for seeming arrogant. Remember, no matter how casual the interview may be, no swearing (even if they do), no family talk and no personal problems. And never, ever bad mouth your previous employer.

4. Bizarre body language

From eye contact to posture, to the way you play with your hair: It all matters. Nervous is normal, but the energy will distract from the interview.  If you fidget easily, avoid rings, watches, jewelry and wearing your hair down. If it’s not there, you wan’t play with it.

Golden horror rule of survival: Listen to the old lady

Sit up straight like mom taught and don’t fuss. You want to appear open and approachable, so don’t fold your arms across your chest or stare off into space. It’s also important to note that nobody trusts the one with the shifty eyes. That’s just a general life rule.

5. Being caught unprepared 

Researching your potential place of employment is a no-brainer, but making an inventory of your own experience and accomplishments will help you evaluate if the role and company culture is a good fit. Creating your talent inventory refreshes your memory and helps you remember experiences you would otherwise have forgotten.

Golden horror rule of survival: Don’t go alone

Write down a list of questions and bring them with you into your job interview. Having no questions is a red flag that you’re not interested and not prepared. Interviewers are more impressed by the questions you ask than the selling points you try to make. Don’t be caught unprepared, unaware or unsuspecting!

A bad interview can kill your job search— if you let it. So be a survivor. Follow the rules.


30 Things you should never say at work

Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt you, right? Maybe on the playground. But when it comes to your workplace, what you say matters. If you want to be seen as a leader in the office, besides following these rules, you can start by deliberately choosing to speak with words and phrases that are empowering to yourself and to others. The following, however, are not some of them and are best avoided if you want to avoid being seen as unprofessional–or a liability.

“It’s not fair”

Whether it’s a global crisis, personal issue or the fact that Suzie in accounting got a raise and you didn’t: Injustices happen around the world and in the workplace all the time. Don’t be an injustice collector. Complainers never prosper.

“It’s not my fault”

Nobody wins when you play the blame game. Take the onus for whatever role, no matter how small, you played in whatever went wrong. Be accountable.

“It’s how it’s always been done”

If you want to show a lack of ingenuity, this is the best way to do it. But If you want to grow with your company, you should always be looking for ways to improve efficiency.

“No problem”

You’re basically implying that a co-worker or manager’s request should have been a problem. This can make people feel like they have imposed on you.

“This may sound like a dumb idea…/This may be a stupid question/I may be wrong but…”

These phrases erode your credibility. If you’re not confident in yourself, how can anyone else be?

“I’ll try”

The word try can suggest you lack confidence in your ability. Take ownership of your capabilities. You won’t try. You will.

“That’s not my job/That’s not my responsibility/That’s not in my job description”

Showing you’re only willing to do the bare minimum required is not very conducive to performance reviews—or job security.

“I don’t have time/I’m too busy”

Even if it’s true, ain’t nobody got time for these statements. They make others feel less important than something or someone else.

“I sent an email last week”

Great. Congratulations. You reached out. If someone didn’t get back to you, the responsibility is also on you to follow up.


Prefacing your sentence with this can imply that the listener could be somehow wrong, and you don’t want to sound condescending.


There’s a reason why the Urban Dictionary defines “I’m fine” as the most used lie in the English language. It makes you sound vague and dismissive. Everyone knows.

“You guys”

Referring to a group in the workplace as “you guys” shows you lack confidence in your inclusion. It’s also a slang term that may offend any women present.

“You should have”

These are fault-finding words. They can inflict feelings of blame and finger pointing. Use words like “next time” or “in the future” instead.

“Impossible/There’s nothing I can do/I can’t”

Really? You’ve really attempted and exhausted every possible solution? And even if you actually may have, these words suggest a pessimistic, passive or hopeless outlook. Employers notice and recognize a can-do attitude.

“Don’t tell so and so but…”

So you want to be the office gossip? Don’t be. Refrain from saying anything in private in the workplace that you wouldn’t say in public.

“He’s lazy/She’s lazy…He’s incompetent/She’s incompetent”

Nothing good ever comes out of disparaging a colleague or manager. Announcing another’s ineptitude or lack of motivation may come across as an insecure attempt to make yourself look better. Also, if others disagree with your assessment, the negativity can come back to haunt you.


No swear words in the office.

“That’s so annoying/This sucks”

Insults have no place in the workplace—especially if they’re directed at an individual or company practice.

“I don’t get paid enough for this/I hate my job”

Negativity gets noticed. Managers know that naysayers bring down group morale, so if you’re looking to be replaced, these statements are the best way to do it.

Watching what you say are wise words of wisdom. You wouldn’t want to miss out on great opportunities because of a slip of the tongue.

5 Common resume mistakes to avoid

First impressions may only take a moment, but they have the troublesome habit of lingering a lot longer if your aim to impress is lackluster.

On average, every corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes, but only four to six of these paper faces will get an in-person interview—and only one will get the job. Your resume is your first impression, so avoid these common mistakes to leave one that separates you from the other 249…in a good way.


  1. Grammar and spelling errors

Typos: There the number one resume killer. (There/they’re… did you spot that? A recruiter will!)

According to a 2013 survey, 58% of employers identified CVs with typos as one of the top mistakes that led them to automatically dismiss a candidate.

DON’T: Ever solely rely on spellcheck.

DO: Enlist a second pair of eyes to review the document after you’ve proofread it yourself.


  1. Duty driven vs. accomplishment driven statements

Language sells, and employers are more interested in what you’ve accomplished as opposed to what your job required. Never use language like “duties included” or “responsible for” in your experience section. Instead, use action verbs to highlight achievements.

DONT: Include something like, “Responsible for organizing department files.”

DO: Include something like, “Contributed to improving office efficiency by organizing 10 years’ worth of chaotic files, ensuring easy access to all department members.”


  1. The one size fits all approach

When you apply for a specific position, employers expect your resume to be specifically tailored to that role.  They want to clearly see how and why you’re the right fit. According to the same 2013 survey, 36% of employers identified a generic approach as one of the mistakes that turns your resume into rubbish.

DON’T: Include an objective or profile that doesn’t match the focus of the job.

DO: Read the job description carefully, identify the keywords used and ensure to include them within the summary and body of your resume. Learn to keyword your resume like a pro here.


  1. Omitting exact dates

Leaving out exact dates can leave employers with a sneaking suspicion that you’re trying to hide something. When it comes to your employment history, 27% of employers identified resumes that don’t include exact dates as another common mistake that leads to an automatic no-go.

DON’T: Lie!

DO: Be up front about any large gap, and address the issue in your cover letter or  explain right in the resume:  i.e. Dec 2013- March 2014: Parental or Maternity Leave/ Sabbatical/World Travel/ Family Caregiver.


  1. Too visually busy or incorrect formatting

Here’s the golden rule: If it’s hard on the eyes, revise! When It comes to resumes, substance definitely matters more than style. Unless you’re applying for a position as a graphic designer or for another role in a creative field, stick to a simple, traditional resume style with bullet points.

DON’T: Include graphs or charts. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) used by recruiters and employers can’t read them, so you’re keywords that match the job description won’t be found.

DO: Make sure the formatting looks perfect in any program it’s opened in. You can also save your resume as a .PDF to help alleviate any formatting glitches in different programs.


Your resume won’t get a second chance to make a great first impression if it’s in the recycle bin. Avoid these common mistakes, so you don’t miss out on any career opportunities.

8 Easy answers to some of the toughest interview questions

Success is where preparation and opportunity meet; and oftentimes, the best way to prepare for something is to expect the unexpected. Job interviews shouldn’t be interrogations, but it’s natural to feel nervous in the hot seat.

Why all the questions?

Some hiring managers ask tough questions in an attempt to steer you towards revealing information you may be trying to conceal, while others want to get a better understanding of your thought process under pressure. Whatever their motive, you’ll want to be prepared to stand out.

Question 1: “Tell me about yourself…”

Seems like a pretty easy question; you’ve got your whole life to pull from, right? Wrong. “Tell me about yourself” isn’t an invitation to tell the hiring manager everything about you; just why you’re the best fit.
• Give a 2-3 minute snapshot as to why you’re the most qualified for the job.
• Cover three topics: education, work history and recent career experience.
• Always highlight accomplishments and experience that directly relate to the job description.

Question 2: “What’s your biggest weakness?”

This is the part where many career books tell you to disguise a secret strength and present it as a weakness. But hiring managers are wise to those ways, (“Oh, I’m a workaholic,” or “I’m a perfectionist”) they’ve heard it all before. Just be honest. Employers want to hire someone who’s reflective about their skill set and knows what they need to work on.
• Use an actual weakness that you’re looking to improve on, the steps you’ve taken to overcome the issue and how you’ve become better because of the challenge.
• You want to convey the fact that you’re ambitious and have room to grow and learn new things.

Question 3: “There seems to be a gap in your work history. Why is that?”

Everyone is human, hiring managers understand that people can lose their jobs and sometimes it isn’t always easy to quickly find a new one. What they want to see is how you’ve used that time constructively.
• List any activities you’ve been doing during the stage of unemployment like freelancing, volunteer work or courses you’ve taken that relate to the position.
• Make it clear that you’re up-to-date with trends in your industry, and mention the professional organizations and industry related events you’ve attended.

Question 4: “Tell me about a time you had a conflict with a co-worker or manager and how it was resolved…”

It doesn’t matter what industry or field you work in, there is always conflict. Hiring managers are interested in learning how you demonstrate reason, handle tense situations and work as a team player. They want to anticipate how past difficulties will affect future behavior.
• Never say you’ve never experienced a conflict in the workplace, everyone has experienced conflict and this will convey that you’re avoiding the question.
• Never place blame on the co-worker you’re speaking about; it doesn’t matter who was right or wrong. Instead, explain the issue succinctly and the specific action you took.
• At the end, explain what you learned from the conflict and state your relationship with the co-worker after the issue. This will demonstrate that you don’t hold a grudge.

Question 5: “Why are you looking for a new position?”

Your current boss may be a maniacal control freak, the corporate culture may be toxic, there’s a co-worker you really dislike—all of these are reasons people leave their current employer; however, they’re not things you want to mention. You never EVER want to talk negatively about a previous employer.
• Always focus on the positives and the future, rather than the past.
• Reiterate that it’s been a great learning experience but that there isn’t room for anymore growth or advancement within the company, and you want to tackle new challenges and develop your skill sets.

Question 6: “How would you explain a complex database to your 10-year old nephew?”

Explaining marketing automation, CRMs or just about anything in terms a 10-year-old could understand shows your knowledge of their product, industry and business. Hiring managers are looking to test your ability to analyze complex data and extract the relevant information.
• Do your research on the industry and company and have an adaptable understanding of what it is they offer.
• Your answer sound interesting and insightful, so practice it in both technical and laymen’s terms so you, yourself, understand what they do to sound confident.

Question 7: “What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?”

Some roles involve a high-level ability to get back up after being knocked down. Hiring managers want to measure your ability to make controversial decisions that lead to success, or they want to know how you handled failure and rebounded afterwards.
• Align your answer with the values of the company and explain a situation where you were pushed outside your comfort zone and displayed these values.
• Provide an example of a situation where you encountered a major setback and pushed yourself to explore a new direction–and succeeded.

Question 8: “Why should we hire you?”

It’s the million dollar question. Everyone wants the job, this is your big chance to really differentiate yourself from the other candidates and highlight why you’re the best person for the position.
• Review the job description and qualifications very closely before the interview and identify the skills and knowledge that are critical to the role.
• Identify your own experience from your past positions that directly relate and how you demonstrated those skills.
• Are you the best person for the job? Show it by being passionate in your response and examples.

Your paper qualifications got your foot in the door, but now it’s you who has to be invited to stay. Do your research, demonstrate the value you bring to the role and be passionate about wanting to be a part of the team.

Would you pass the interview test?

The tough interview questions: Would you pass the test?

Success is where preparation and opportunity meet. Job interviews shouldn’t be interrogations; plan to pass the interview process by knowing how to answer some of the toughest questions. How would you answer these 8 tough questions to get the job?

Question 1: “Tell me about yourself”

Begin by describing what you wanted to be when you grew up, then include your high school aspirations, followed by your college career and details of your first job. End with why you’re there today.

Reply with, “Well, what would you like to know?”

Begin with your post-secondary education, work history that relates to the position and most recent career experience. End with why you are currently seeking a new opportunity.

Question 2: “What’s your biggest weakness?”

Take a secret strength and disguise it as a weakness. “Oh, I’m SUCH a perfectionist!”

Name an actual weakness you need to improve upon and the steps you’ve taken to do so.

Demonstrate that you have no weaknesses and reiterate the value of your strengths.

Question 3: “There seems to be a gap in your work history. Why is that?”

Demonstrate how you’ve honed your skills during your time off. Talk about any freelancing, volunteer work our courses you’ve taken that relate to the position.

Explain that you wanted to take time off to decide what you really wanted to do with your career, which lead you there today.

Discuss personal issues that required you to take time away.

Question 4: “Tell me about a time you had a conflict with a co-worker or manager and how it was resolved…”

Explain the issue succinctly and the specific action you took.

Explain how a co-worker didn’t hit a deadline, which made you pick up the slack to get the job done. (Demonstrating that you’re not afraid to pull more than your own weight.)

Explain that you’re a team player, and you don’t believe in conflict in the workplace.

Question 5: “Why are you looking for a new position?”

Explain that the current company culture is not in line with your personal beliefs.

Explain how you don’t believe in the way your boss or manager runs your department and you need a change.

Reiterate that it’s been a great learning experience but that there isn’t room for anymore growth or advancement within the company, and you want to tackle new challenges and develop your skill sets.

Question 6: “How would you explain a complex database to your 10-year old nephew?”

You wouldn’t. What does a 10-year-old need with a CRM?

You would practice your answer in both technical and laymen’s terms to become familiar with the jargon and data before beginning your explanation.

You would provide your nephew with graphs or charts detailing the instructions and explain in laymen’s terms what they mean.

Question 7: “What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?”

Align your answer with the values of the company and explain the outcome of being pushed out of your comfort zone.

Respond that you don’t believe in taking risks unless you are sure of a positive outcome.

You don’t take risks.

Question 8: “Why should we hire you?”

Passionately describe the company culture and how you would fit right in.

State that you are the best fit simply because no other candidate will do a better job.

Identify your own experience from your past positions that directly relate and how you demonstrated those skills as value drivers

You may want to brush up on your skills…

Your paper qualifications got your foot in the door, but now it’s you who has to be invited to stay. Do your research, demonstrate the value you bring to the role and be passionate about wanting to be a part of the team.

Congratulations! Your interview skills are awesome!

Your paper qualifications got your foot in the door, but now it’s you who has to be invited to stay. Do your research, demonstrate the value you bring to the role and be passionate about wanting to be a part of the team.

3 Quick tips to nail that job interview

So you got an interview for a position you really want…what now?

Sometimes, it’s best to refresh by bringing it back to the basics.  Here are some tried and tested ways to help you prepare for that important day.

Know your resume

  • This really can’t be stressed enough. Your resume is likely what got you the interview in the first place. Being sure to go over this and being able to speak intelligently about your experience will greatly increase your chances of wowing the interviewers.

Review the job description

  • Depending on how much time you have to prepare, start thinking of examples of where you worked with each aspect of the job description and what you did.
  • Honesty is still the best policy! If you have any weaknesses in your experience, be honest about them. The hiring manager will appreciate your transparency, and you never want to get caught in a lie.

Do your research

  • Properly preparing for your interview will mean doing a little bit of research.
  • Start by looking up the company and their product lines. This will help you be able to bring meaningful examples of your experience to light and show your interest in the company.
  • Look up who you’ll you be speaking with on LinkedIn. Doing digital research will likely be able to infer the direction the conversation will take.
  • While waiting in the office reception area, pick up and read any company literature left around. Doing so will show your interest in the company and prepare you for any discussion points.

Last but not least, have a great smile and fresh look! That is, be presentable – it will not only make you look good, but will allow you to feel good as well. Here’s a tip: Laying out your clothes the night before ensures the day runs smoothly. Also, don’t forget to get to bed early and start your day with a coffee or whatever routine gets you off to the best start!

Whatever you do to help you prepare, try to avoid getting too stressed out about the interview.  Putting in the necessary research and preparation will help you knock it out of the park and get the job (done).


About the author

Julina Throop is a technical recruitment specialist for Procom Consultants Group in Ottawa, Canada. In her role, Julina works to match candidates with opportunities primarily within IT and Professional Services. For further information or career opportunities, you can reach her at

How to SEO your resume like a pro

It’s hard out there for a resume.

You may have the skills, but your job hunting game won’t be on point if said skills are getting overlooked.  On average, every corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes– with 72% of them going unopened by hiring managers. It’s an over-saturated and inundated competitive landscape, and in the electronic-era we live in, writing your resume for both humans and robots is a must-have know-how that will bolster your application, ensuring it’s found by the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) used by recruiters and HR professionals.

The whole goal is to align your resume to the job description, so incorporate these tips into your job search to SEO your resume like a pro:

Keywords are key

There’s actually nothing really special about keywords—they’re just words, what makes them matter is how often they occur and the company they keep. An optimized resume should match your qualifications with specific job descriptions.SEO Your Resume like a Pro_clip-01

Repetition is necessary

Keywords used early in your resume are valued higher than those placed lower in the document.

DO: Include these valuable identifiers in your summary, highlighting your key skills and then continue to sprinkle them between 6-8 times throughout the body.

DON’T: Include technical skills within the summary or bottom of your resume. Instead, list them within each project.

HINT: Pay attention to the “Requirements” and “Qualifications” in the job description. Identify the hard and soft skills from the job posting and mirror the language in your resume.

Be consistent and creative with words

There are three types of keyword matches that will resonate with the robots:

  1. Broad match: Keywords can appear in any order along with other terms
  2. Phrase match: Use of exact keyword with any other term before or after
  3. Exact match: Keywords appear exactly without any other terms before or after

Example: Job title description keyword: marketing coordinator

  1. Broad match resume title: marketing communications coordinator, marketing associate
  2. Phrase match resume title: corporate marketing coordinator, PR & marketing coordinator
  3. Exact match resume title: marketing coordinator

DO: Use the exact keyword in the title for the job you’re applying for, or if your previous job title was more flexible, include keywords that are associated with that specific position.

DON’T: Use keywords that only contain various acronyms or titles that are not widely accepted or known, or apply to a job with irrelevant job titles.

HINT: A “marketing coordinator” will find his or her way into an interview room with a hiring manager before a “branding ninja” will even be noticed by the resume robots.

 Remember, resumes still touch human hands

You’re writing your resume for both hiring managers and an ATS, so keep it pleasing to each. Create a word document that has a balance of both the visual appeal and proper ATS formatting. The goal is to optimize the content to rank with the robots but also look good when under human scrutiny.

DO: Look for areas within your resume for optimization in sections like job responsibilities, accomplishments, education and summary of qualifications. Use different forms of keywords in different sections for maximum optimization.

DON’T: Complicate things. Keep it simple with no complex layouts. Stay away from including tables or graphics. Robots can’t read graphics and they misread tables.

HINT: When you submit your SEO’d resume, be sure to include your postal code. Without your postal code, you won’t be found by anything or anyone.

Your resume is the key to unlocking your success, and if you’re gunna be a bear, be a grizzly. Use keywords to turn your resume into a master key, and unlock one of these great opportunities!




7 Office Space traits that will get you promoted

Some have vilified him; others still celebrate him, but whether you loathed or loved when Ron Livingston Jack Berger broke up with Carrie Bradshaw with the infamous 7 word post-it note, you’ve got to admit: Ron is kind of a boss. He’s clearly wise in the ways of concise communication and in making definitive decisions; he keeps good company and takes action. All in all, he knows how to work the world and the workplace.

It’s basically magnificent.

So if you, too, seek to achieve awesome in life and at the office, ask yourself, “What would Ron do?”
(Or try these 7 tips in honour of one of the best movies of all time.)

1. Always be looking to create opportunities to improve your workplace.
Because you’re inventive. And innovation matters.

WWRD: See a better way of doing things? Master the ability to maximize your workplace value by continuously looking for ways to expand your sphere of ingenuity throughout the organization.

2. Ask for more responsibility 

WWRD: Ask for more work, so your boss sees your interest and desire to help your department and company succeed. More responsibility also increases your knowledge-base and puts a spotlight on your value to the organization– and that’s good. Unless that spotlight is from a florescent bulb.

No one looks good in florescent lighting.  (In the case of actual said lighting, see number 1 about improving workplace conditions.)

3. Don’t skip the office party. No matter how lame you think it will be.

WWRD: Don’t miss out on the chance to socialize with co-workers because you don’t want to “mix business with pleasure.” You’re basically skipping out on a chance to learn more about office news and you end up alienating yourself from people who you spend 8 hours a day with. Who gets remembered when it comes time for an advantageous project or reward? Not what’s his or her face who never shows up.  However, copious libations are generally frowned upon.

4. Be a team player

WWRD: Hold up your end. Don’t call yourself a team player and then balk at having to pitch in on other projects. Complaining is futile; ask how you can help instead. Being a team player builds your reputation, and making  thoughtful decisions and having honest interactions with others is significantly noticed.

(But don’t do this. This is a bad decision.)

Speaking of bad decisions…

5. Be drama free 

WWRD: Office environments mean you have to work closely with different personalities. Don’t like a co-worker? Your boss doesn’t or want to care. Unless there’s a real problem, keep your co-worker complaints to yourself. Bringing drama to the workplace implies your maturity level isn’t worthy of the next step. And no one likes a gossip either, by the way.

Stop that immediately.

6. Quantify your results 

WWRD: Those who get results get ahead (unless you have a horrid personality, no one wants to work for someone who can’ t get along with others). Keeping records of what you’ve done to enhance the company’s bottom line puts you and your department in the good books. It not only shows your value but also your loyalty and commitment to the organization.

7. Practice self-promotion

WWRD: Modesty is a virtue, sure, but if no one knows of your greatness, you wont get ahead. Let it be known if you’ve created an award winning program or achieved another worthy goal. Use performance appraisals not just to go over your accomplishments, but to talk with your boss about potential advancement opportunities. Sell yourself!

Now set forth, and achieve the level of greatness you’re capable of.

And remember, if these 7 tips don’t help you land the promotion, the post-it could also always help you leave to find another opportunity:


On-demand is in-demand: How to retain talented contingent workers

Remember when a little unknown company by the name of Netflix emerged back in the early 2000’s? Some people were curious, others were dubious, and now over a decade or so later, more than 50 million members globally subscribe to the on-demand media streaming giant.

There’s a visible trend emerging in the talent-recruitment world, and with over 40 per cent of the U.S. workforce comprised of contingent workers, studies show that companies are following the Netflix business model: On-demand workers are in high-demand.

The contingent workforce typically encompasses a set of highly skilled IT specialists and Consultants to light-industrial workers, and this growing number of multi-faceted talent is rapidly changing the way organizations are doing business. According to a recent report released by supply management firm, Ardent Partners, 92 per cent of enterprises indicated non-traditional staffing was a vital to moderate part of their overall corporate strategy. By 2017, contingent workers; including Independent Contractors, statement-of-work-based labour and freelancers will account for almost 45 per cent of the world’s total workforce.

For many businesses, non-traditional staffing offers a way to tamp down on costs while acquiring skilled but scarce talent. A contingent worker may be pricey, but the cost is temporary—making them much more palatable to a bottom line.

So, the plusses for businesses add up; but for contingent workers who frequently have to answer the question of where the rent money or mortgage payment is coming from each month, there lay a distinct discrepancy.

How do you keep temporary talent from jumping ship?

The first mistake businesses make is the assumption that contingent workers are happy to wait until their current contract expires to discuss a new deal. Wrong! A recent study from Procom shows that while still on assignment, 31 per cent of contingent workers are always looking for another opportunity elsewhere. Are you doing everything you can as a business to keep contingent workers engaged? Try these tips for reducing turnover of contingent staff:

  1. Next steps discussions

Like every type of employee, contingent workers desire certainty, and if they don’t have it with their current employer, they will look elsewhere for security. When a contract begins, automatically set up “next steps” discussions at the midpoint and subsequent midpoints until the contract expires. At each discussion provide details about upcoming opportunities, and be clear as to whether or not there is a possibility that the assignment would be extended.

  1. Recognize their value

Inclusion is key. Appreciating the unique needs of a contingent worker involves an up-front effort to ensure inclusion in the workplace. Although they can’t be identified and treated as full-time employees, avoid creating subcultures between full time staff and your contingent workforce. A Contractor knows his or her position may be eliminated at a given time, and their salaries and any other perks are pre-determined compared to those of full-time employees; they’re not as incentivized as the rest of the staff. As an employer, businesses can’t be careless or apathetic when dealing with a contingent workforce. To remain motivated, productive and inclined to stay or return for future projects, contingent workers need to feel as though they are part of the team and not just temporary bodies in a seat.

  1. Develop and maintain close communication with your staffing agency

Staffing agencies are your third party connector, and they make it their business to know yours, as well as their Contractors. Ask to be kept in the loop with their surveys within the labour pool, so you can have feedback as to what you can do or do differently to hold on to your talent in the future. Do some companies invite their contingent staff to company events and Christmas parties? These perks can increase engagement, word-of-mouth referrals and inspire intention to return for future projects.


At the end of the day, when it comes to the contingent workforce, there’s a clear correlation between the basic human regard awarded Contractors and their subsequent intention to stay for the duration of their entire assignment, perform at their highest level and return for future projects. Treating temporary staff in line with the true value they contribute to your business will pay off by way of retention.

Resumes: Your missing zip code could be the reason you’re missing out

Have you found yourself dwelling within the realm of the “in between?”

It’s the place where Job Seekers temporarily reside while in between careers—and also a polite response to overzealous academics when asked what you do for a living (and you aren’t currently employed). “Oh, I’m in between careers at the moment” seems a suitable reply.

But there’s a reason you may be in a perpetual state of living within the in between—and it could be as simple as not having your zip code on our resume.

We’re here, where are you?

It’s called radial searching, and it’s a major filter recruiters, job boards and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) use when seeking suitable candidates. Having your zip code on your resume is more important than your actual address. You may live within a two block radius of a potential employer, but if your zip code isn’t listed on your resume, you won’t get filtered in during the first round of applicant pooling.

How does it work?

As soon as location details are entered into an ATS, key terms and words found in your resume pertaining to that specific job description are drilled down on, and qualified candidates within those location parameters are selected to be contacted. If no qualified candidates are found, recruiters and hiring managers will perform a manual search of their database, and you may get lucky and turn up during that second round of manual searching. But why take the risk?

Searching by zip code geographically narrows down the number of qualified job seekers, and if you can’t be found, you don’t exist—and neither do your exemplary qualifications.

Your resume is your foot in the door. Ensure your address is complete with your correct zip code, so you can be found when opportunity knocks.

So you want to be a federal contractor?

Communicate Better with IT ManagementYou’ve been working in the private sector for a while now– maybe right out of school, and you’re starting to get calls from recruitment agencies about government contracts. The wheels may begin to start to turn and you think, “Maybe I should start consulting?”

But what does this even mean?

Here are the top three things you should know about government bidding:

#1 The RFP process

The government hires through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process where selected vendors (i.e. recruitment agencies) get invited to bid on government jobs – the vendors coordinate with Consultants/Contractors and work together to respond to these requests.

Unlike the private sector, where companies can sort through simple three page resumes, these RFPs can include long corporate requirements and bidding structures that would make individually applying to these preferred roles very difficult and sometimes next to impossible.

So what to do? As a Consultant, it’s best to:

  • Align yourself with vendors (recruiters and managers) who get to see these requirements daily and let them know what opportunities you would be interested in.
  • Ask your recruiter lots of questions. To an experienced competitor, each RFP is different, and there are a lot of nuances. Some opportunities may take up to six months from RFP submission to be awarded, some may be as quickly as two weeks. Asking questions will help you understand the timelines and process for each contract.

#2 Government resumes

The difference between a private sector and public sector resume is about 30 pages… Just kidding, but not really!

Most government RFPs don’t feature an interview, instead they rely on extensive resume and proposal documentation to evaluate candidates.  This means there’s greater importance in defining what you’ve done in writing. The old three page resume rule doesn’t apply – the more detail the better. Here are a few tips to get you on the right track:

  • Clean up the dates. Government policies and evaluators make overlapping jobs/projects very difficult to get credit for. Despite having worked on multiple projects concurrently, you’ll need to break these apart in your resume and clearly state beginning and end dates to each project.
  • Details, details, details! Each of your projects/work experiences should have a summary, along with specific tasks and duties you completed. Also, be sure to include what technologies were used.
  • Education/Certification – while you would commonly list these within your resume, most proposals will require a copy of your diploma or certification to be included. Best to get those ready to go ASAP.

Remember, this is just a start! When bidding, there will always be more to include that’ll speak directly to each requirement.

#3 Security clearance

Nearly every Federal Government RFP will include a security condition that requires potential bidders to hold a valid personal security clearance and possibly an organizational clearance if you are to work as an
Independent Contractor.  Security clearance levels range from enhanced reliability (lowest), secret and top secret (highest) depending on the project and information within. More on security clearance levels can be found here:

It’s becoming more and more common that Candidates must have an active clearance when participating on a proposal rather than at contract award/start date. So, how can you apply for a clearance?

  • Establish a relationship with your recruitment agency to review whether you might qualify for a security clearance, and to find out what level you might need to work in your field.

If you qualify for a clearance, application processing times range from 1-2 months for enhanced reliability and significantly longer at higher levels.

Wrap up

Every government RFP is a little bit different and many of them will have surprises, so you won’t know what’s exactly required until you start working on a live opportunity.  Despite this, the three preparation steps above will surely put you on your way to being eligible to bid on (and potentially win) a contract within the Federal Government.

To get further information on any of these topics feel free to contact Procom Ottawa, or myself

About the author

Edmund Watson is an IT business development and recruiter for Procom Consultants Group in Ottawa, Canada. In his role, Edmund works with Procom Clients and Candidates to match IT professionals with a career position beneficial to both the Contractor and Client. Edmund specializes in public and private sector agencies, helping businesses acquire talented people and manage their contract workforce.

Metrics Matter: Data Integrity and Reliability in the World of Talent Recruitment

As we’ve already discussed, this year’s Bullhorn Engage conference gave us plenty to consider in the fast-moving staffing world. This was certainly true when it came to the subject of how we qualify our metrics. But what does this really mean? And how should organizations like ours be doing this? There were several sessions that focused on organizational metrics and data quality.

a team analyzing metrics charts

It was underscored several times the importance of regarding only valid metrics, and added that if a company measures the wrong metrics, it is very likely to end up directing the wrong behaviours with your teams. It is important to look at your data and figure out where you are going to get better results from your decided course of action.

There are many interesting metrics that can be analyzed within your data but they may all not lead to more placements, gross margin or tangible benefits. But if you can find those few nuggets that can increase your time to hire, your hit ratio or enhance any of your conversion ratios, you are definitely finding money making opportunities.

Reporting and Metrics were very central to the conference and there were a few pieces of info that came from several of the sessions…

Data Hygiene

OK, making decisions from false data leads to bad decisions… So what do we do? Well, if faulty data is even a small problem in your organization, this should represent a clear call-to-action for you. It means that you need to be scrubbing your data more carefully.

Putting it bluntly, you have to be able to throw out the numbers that don’t make sense – even when at a glance they make you look good! Like us, you’ve probably noticed that you routinely encounter all kinds of invalid cases in your metrics that can skew them for better or worse. While it may be tempting to publish numbers that reflect an unseasonably high close-ratio on your part, the conclusions drawn from them won’t be any more valid. At best, you’d be setting a client up for an unrealistic expectation, and at worse you’d be lying.

It’s always better to throw your own numbers out the window than run the risk of having a numbers-savvy client (or potential lead) throw them out for you.

Communicating Metrics

You want to ensure that the value of your metrics are effectively communicated and not just blindly accepted internally. Broker an understanding of their true meaning for team members of every level within the company. If you want your metrics to encourage the right kind of decision-making, you will need to achieve buy-in from these people. Talk about the real trends hidden in the numbers, and not just the numbers themselves.

Finally, keep your numbers as straightforward and non-convoluted as possible. Use visuals, if these help to convey your meaning. Then share your insights and make them accessible to team members and stakeholders.

Small Data

In a data-driven environment, decision-making must be a top-down push. If an understanding of your metrics’ value doesn’t reach the uppermost echelons of your organization, the numbers are unlikely to engender any real positive traction. Staffing companies do not compete in the ‘Big Data’ space, but should focus on small to mid-size data instead since this is where we see small numbers having the greatest impact. In this regard, the integrity of your small data becomes a surprisingly powerful factor in effective decision-making.

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is that we all make decisions from flawed data, regardless of our size or levels of expertise found within our organizations. The point is to use this flawed data, and any related missteps to get better at our craft. We simply need to be committed to moving beyond that in order to properly evaluate our people, our clients, and the ways that we do business. When we do this, we uncover shorter avenues to providing better and more accurate work, strengthening our own business (and that of our clients) at the same time.

About the Author

wendy-kennahWendy Kennah is the Director of Recruiting for Procom Consultants Group in Toronto, Canada. In her role, she has overall leadership and accountability for the strategic direction, development and growth of Procom’s recruitment practices and policies. Procom specializes in the Information Technology contingent contract and permanent staffing industry.

Previously, Wendy was the Vice President of Recruiting for Brainhunter, Inc and was responsible for the National Recruitment strategy in Canada.


6 Reasons why pirates make the best leaders

They’re a savvy lot, indeed.

Often wily, never without a plan and always with an eye on the coveted prize, buccaneering pirates of days long past were adept with skills born to manage the fickle temperament of their industry, thwart the machinations of usurping competitors and lead a crew comprised of loyal yet varied characters.

So whether you’ve pegged the Jack Sparrows and Black Beards as plundering plagues on free trade or simply overzealous privateering enthusiasts— ain’t nobody got time to argue semantics on Friday!

But if you share these transferrable traits, your management skills are definitely up to pARRR….

(Okay, first time, last time—promise!)

Not all treasure is silver and gold mates, so take what you can from this list. Give nothing back.


1. Pirate captains are creative tacticians. They strategize the best course of action to take in battle and the ingeniously clever ways to achieve the desired result.

Lead like a pirate: Tacticians are shrewd decision makers. Make good decisions.


2. Pirate captains take risks, and calculated risks are necessary to achieving victory.

Lead like a pirate: Security is mostly superstition. Dare to fail to achieve success.


3. Pirate captains lead by example, recognizing leadership is a privilege gained through trust.

Lead like a pirate: Avoid mutiny. You aren’t good at everything, recognize where others can do a better job and delegate accordingly.


4. Pirates have mastered the art of parley. They’re proficient at holding a civilized discussion between opposing sides during a workplace dispute.

Lead like a pirate: Identify points of agreement and disagreement; listen to what each side is saying and discuss an action plan moving forward. Then throw the offending parties overboard. (Just kidding, don’t do that…)


5. Pirate captains adhere to a code, and they divvy up the booty evenly.

Lead like a pirate: Sharing the wealth creates a motivated team. Hoarding the spoils of success (be it money, praise, etc…) inspires nothing but disgruntled conflict. Don’t be a greedy hoarder.


6. Pirate captains have pets. Pets in the workplace heighten employee morale and encourage productivity.

Lead like a pirate: Avoid monkeys. A dog would be preferable; probably a small one.  But no cats. Cats in the office would just be weird.


So even if their “business” dealings may be open to interpretation, pirates lived by a code of conduct and displayed a brand of leadership that we can still learn from today. And remember, the problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?

Resumes: Your missing postal code could be the reason you’re missing out

Have you found yourself dwelling within the realm of the “in between?”

It’s the place where Job Seekers temporarily reside while in between careers—and also a polite response to overzealous academics when asked what you do for a living (and you aren’t currently employed). “Oh, I’m in between careers at the moment” seems a suitable reply.

But there’s a reason you may be in a perpetual state of living within the in between—and it could be as simple as not having your postal code on our resume.

We’re here, where are you?

It’s called radial searching, and it’s a major filter recruiters, job boards and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) use when seeking suitable candidates. Having your postal code on your resume is more important than your actual address. You may live within a two block radius of a potential employer, but if your postal code isn’t listed on your resume, you won’t get filtered in during the first round of applicant pooling.

How does it work?

As soon as location details are entered into an ATS, key terms and words found in your resume pertaining to that specific job description are drilled down on, and qualified candidates within those location parameters are selected to be contacted. If no qualified candidates are found, recruiters and hiring managers will perform a manual search of their database, and you may get lucky and turn up during that second round of manual searching. But why take the risk?

Searching by postal code geographically narrows down the number of qualified job seekers, and if you can’t be found, you don’t exist—and neither do your exemplary qualifications.

Your resume is your foot in the door. Ensure your address is complete with your correct postal code, so you can be found when opportunity knocks.

Procom Raleigh wins the Triangle’s Best Places to Work Award

Employees are a company’s most valuable asset, and ours like us…they really like us.

The search was on for the best places to work in 2015, and Procom Raleigh can be found among the top 50 winners. Each year, The Triangle Business Journal honours companies in four different size categories that have worked to promote a workplace culture that employees champion. Winners were chosen based on an employee-survey process conducted by Quantum Workplace. Once nominated, a company had to meet a threshold in employee participation – a percentage that varies based upon the size of the company – to be eligible for recognition.

They say that culture is to your employees what brand is to your customers. At Procom, we’re proud to foster a culture where our talented teams can work, grow and deliver on our shared mission of building great careers for our consultants and healthy organizations for our clients—and the present is only the beginning.

When work is awesome, employees are engaged, clients are loyal and business is good.

And we think it feels pretty good to be recognized as one of the best.