The Procom Jobcast

3 Tips to connecting on LinkedIn

Have you ever considered the difference between networking and connecting? Because there is one.  Sure, there’s definitely less than 7 degrees of separation between the two connotation-wise, but the similarities within the realm of proactive communication end there.

Professionally connecting in the digital landscape is no different than creating in-person impressions.

Would you exchange business cards with a potential client at an event and then toss that golden ticket among a growing pile of faceless, printed names? Of course not. So why join the world’s largest professional network with access to millions of members and do nothing with it?

Here are three ways you can make the impression that creates connections– and relationships.

Join groups and position yourself as a value-adder

The great thing about LinkedIn is that it’s a hub of industry influencers, leaders and innovators. When a company you follow or a connection you’d like to make posts a blog on a topic you’re familiar with, join the conversation by sharing an insightful comment or asking a thoughtful question. When you’re on the job hunt, the goal is for your targets to start recognizing your name and face.

Once you feel confident that you’re on their radar, send them a private reply expressing you really like what they contribute to the group and you would like to further the relationship.  

Get on the Google grind and creep away

Google is a gift to the savvy Job-Seeker, and sometimes one simply must get stalkerish. If you don’t share a mutual connection, or can’t get someone in your network to pass along an introduction—don’t despair. There’s a wily way out of this: Start creeping (and we don’t mean this in the restraining order, illegal way—we’re talking the smart, tech-savvy, business-professional way). Did your target recently speak at a conference or publish an article? A quick Google search will let you know, and even if you didn’t physically attend the event, the internet has a sly way of recapping with cliff note versions and videos. Does the person you want to connect with write a blog? Read it and share it on your social platforms with an insightful comment. Are they on Twitter? Follow them and retweet their posts about it. Are they hanging out on Google+, YouTube, Facebook or Instagram?

You know what to do.

Connect through a contact page

Many business professionals also manage their personal brand online with portfolios and websites. The beauty of these personal portals is that they usually come with a contact page. The key is to use these doors to open lines of communication.

Remember, the thing about LinkedIn connections is that they’re there to connect. The last time we checked, the social platform had 414 million members. Don’t get lost in the crowd.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Contractor jobs by category

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The contingent workforce is a dynamic ecosystem that can change at any moment in any given location. If you’re looking to join the force and want to know the most popular Contractor jobs by category, we gathered some market data; here’s what it offered.

 

3 Interview tips we (didn’t) learn from Sheldon Cooper

Even when you’re a genius on a job search, there’s still a certain interview etiquette one must adhere to if the aim of the game is engaging employment.

And when a genius is on a job search, sometimes the most ingenious thing the rest of us can do is learn from the wisdom (not) imparted from the hyper-intellectually enabled. There exists a fine line between genius and madness, and although this interview is the latter, if you can find the tips within these blunders, you’re on your way to becoming the former.

Maybe. Well probably not. But it would be a smart move anyway if you want to make a “Big Bang” in your interview. (Sorry. Had to.)

1. Be honest

While insulting a potential employer and admitting to aspiring to the least level of responsibility is not the wisest of moves, transparency in an interview is. A recruiter or hiring manager will eventually figure out if you’re lying about your experience or skill set, so always be honest on your resume and in your in-person conversation. Also, don’t be negative. Instead of just saying “No I don’t know that” or “I haven’t,” use a parallel after stating your lack of experience/understanding:

“I haven’t used Microstrategy, but I have over 10 years of experience with Teradata with a very similar BI tool.”

2. Show optimism
When a recruiter or hiring manager describes the position you’re interviewing for, being enthusiastic about the role shows your level of interest in the company and the job. However; you should probably ensure that you know what the role actually is. And then you should definitely back up your optimism with examples of your experience that pertains to said position.

3. Have a goal in mind
Sure, some of us may have management goals in mind and recruiters and hiring managers want to see ambition; however, you probably shouldn’t admit to aspiring towards workplace domination combined with a monument agenda. Instead, try to describe how you’ve achieved success in your previous positions and how your achievements have prepared you to train or lead others.

It doesn’t take a genius to navigate the world of employment, but it does take preparation, a positive attitude and the right experience to land a job you want. The universe is a big place, and they’re out there.

When do Contractors currently on assignment start looking for their next role?

The contingent workforce is a dynamic ecosystem that can change at any moment. It’s a universe comprised of many moving parts and one that’s becoming more and more attractive to organizations that are seeking workers with specialized skills on an as-needed or project basis. 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.

Top talent is always highly sought after, but once you’ve hired a Contractor, have you ever wondered when they’re thinking about leaving your assignment for their next one? Well, we asked over 1,888 of them; here’s what they had to say:

 

So, 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!  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.

 

Can you pick out the words that don’t belong on a resume?

 

Can you pick out the words that don’t belong on a resume?

Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can also hurt you. Well, they can hurt your resume. Can you pick out the words to leave off your resume to get on the interview list?
“Resume”

“Experience”

Gained

Responsible for

Email

Contact

Driven

Managed

Resulting in

Successfully

Seasoned

Minimized

Generating

Various

Microsoft Office

Developed

Created

References available upon request

Hmmm…. Let’s review your resume

You may want to brush up on your resume writing skills. To get your CV past Applicant Tracking Systems and into human hands, try these tips:

You

Congratulations! You know how to write a resume that beats the bots and gets into human hands. So now that you know how to land the interview, try these tips to ace it:

3 Tips to finding unadvertised jobs on social media

Strategy.

It’s the art of war.  And every resume you send out is fighting to help you win the job search battle. Strategy is key while waging your candidacy against the bots, the competition and even the recruiters.

And a strategic job seeker knows that sometimes….one must get crafty.

Social media isn’t just for the selfie… it’s a powerful tool in your job search arsenal. Research suggests that as many as 60% of job vacancies aren’t even advertised. It’s called the employment iceberg, and one that you definitely don’t want to avoid if you’re aiming to win the job search battle and the war.

Get tactical with these tips:

Be friendly

If you’re getting crafty, networking will do the trick. Many companies pay a referral bonus to any employees who can introduce a new member of staff. It’s a preferred hiring process that can save on expensive advertising and agency fees. So, make sure your Facebook friends (and real-life friends too) know you’re looking for a new position. If you have the right skill set and experience, a quick status update could have landed you the gig.

Find the twits

A lot can be said in under 140 characters or less. Follow companies you’d like to work for; Twitter is a friendly place where you can make direct contact. Tweet the managing director or recruitment manager of an organization and ask them directly if they have any suitable vacancies (don’t forget to include a link to your LinkedIn profile).

Also, hashtags. Hashtags are awesome. Research popular recruiting and hiring hashtags for your industry, type them into your search bar and watch the possibilities pop up right before your eyes. Boom. Twittersphere Conquered.

Zero in on LinkedIn

Connect with people at companies you’re interested in–that’s why LinkedIn was created. If you’re being proactive in your search, connect with people in power at places you want to be, and if you’re feeling bold, maybe request a coffee or a meeting or ask if you can send your resume if something comes up.

Ditch the “seeking new opportunities” headline and optimize your profile with a hard-hitting statement that describes who you are and what you do—then optimize the rest of the content with keywords. Recruiters routinely search LinkedIn for candidates for their unadvertised jobs; having a well-written profile ensures they can easily find your details and contact you.

If you did see a job posting via LinkedIn, invite the hiring manager to connect, and once they accept you as a connection, start a conversation. Mention that you’ve read something interesting about company x, mention a posting, say you applied and ask if they are the person you should be speaking to.

But only if you’re qualified!

The proactive approach is the progressive Job Seekers best bet while planning to end the search and start a new position. But remember Churchill’s famous words, “No matter how beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”

About the author:  

Erica MacDonald is a technical recruitment specialist for Procom Consultants Group in Toronto, Canada. In their perspective roles, they work to match candidates with opportunities primarily within IT and Professional Services.  For more information, they can be reached at: EricaM@Procom.ca

How to answer “What motivates you?” in a job interview

When you’re dwelling within the realm of the in-between (you know, the place where Job Seekers temporarily reside while in-between careers), beating the bots and scoring an in-person interview with an actual human can be enough motivation to spur one into full blown impress mode. But while candour and honesty are always appreciated in an interview, there are some responses that are less likely to impress and more likely to impose a higher probability of you not being hired. Try incorporating these tips to highlight your employable traits, and hone in any anxious, overzealous employment enthusiasm.

Know the motivation behind the motivation question.

It’s a broad question, but one that will zero in on your potential fit with a company’s corporate culture and beliefs. Hiring managers want to know what makes you tick, what kind of person you are and whether you will fit in on the team. Do your research, and have situational stories prepared.

Know their values, and align your answer.

If you’re interviewing at a not-for-profit, naming career advancement as your motivator isn’t the wisest idea. See where we’re going here? You should always mold your answer to the company at hand. Relating your motivational drivers to the job is your opportunity to connect the proverbial dots for the interviewer.

Incorporate your successes

When you discuss what incentivizes you to work, you’re capitalizing on a great opportunity to highlight your accomplishments. Depending on the nature of your role, explain factors such as challenges, results and recognition. Elaborating on these will demonstrate your value to the potential employer.

“I love building brand strategies. It’s exciting to me to increase revenues and maximize marketing dollars with a powerful brand architecture. Last year, we were able to generate a 20% increase in our XYZ product line as a result.”

NEVER use money as your motivator

Compensation is important to everyone, but admitting it’s your number one focus will turn off employers.

Remember these tips before going into your next interview and forget about ever answering the motivation question with any vague reference to “really needing a job.”

10 (+) Words to delete from your resume

Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can also hurt you. Well, they can hurt your resume.

Recruiters get an average of 250 resumes per posting, and only spend up to 7 seconds perusing your potential candidacy. It’s enough to cause any Job Seeker a certain amount of anxiety, and more often than not, they attempt to impress with over-used adjectives and fail to include what matters: the quantifiers. These are the things that show and don’t tell.

The quantifiers are the skills, qualifications or experience that will get you the job. Your resume is a powerful tool; here’s a list of outdated and overused filler terms to leave off your CV to get on the interview list:

  1. “Resume”

Recruiters know a resume when they see one, labelling it as such is a waste of valuable real-estate which should be used instead for an impressive headline. Label your resume as the job title you’re going after and include a powerful statement beneath that showcases why you’re the best fit.

  1. “Responsible for” or “Duties include”

It doesn’t matter what your duties included, what matters is what you accomplished while in charge of those tasks. Be direct, concise and use active verbs to describe your successes.

  1. “Phone” or “email”

Stating the obvious detracts from showcasing why you’re the best fit for the role. Just write the number or address, recruiters know what they are.

  1. The obvious self-describing adjectives

“Creative,” “Excellent,” “Driven,” “Ambitious,” “Hard working,” “Punctual,” “Results driven,” “Honest,” “People person,” “Hit the ground running,” “Motivated,” “Expert,” “Results oriented,” “Exceptional,” “Innovative,” “Loyal,” “Dependable,” “Extensive experience,” “Top notch,” “Organized,” “Highly skilled,” “Outstanding,” “Team player.”

By themselves, these words don’t prove anything. Proof performance — ideally with specific examples and numbers — is the best measure of the value a candidate can offer. Recruiters don’t care if you’re a team player. They care that you are a team player who has managed remote teams in various time zones. See the difference?

5. “Successfully”

If it’s on your resume, it’s expected that you were successful at it. Also, you’re basically stating that you accomplished what you were paid to do. Instead, state how you successfully accomplished the task.

  1. “Seasoned”

While showcasing your experience in the industry in the main game, this word instead is recognized as a code word for “much, much older.”

  1. “Various”

Oh cool, you worked on projects that weren’t important enough to mention and can’t be quantified…

  1. “Microsoft Office”

Technology is rapidly changing, and you want to showcase that you’re up-to-date with the latest in your industry. Most recruiters expect you to be familiar with a software suite that has basically been around since the beginning of the internet.

  1. “@”

A resume is a professional document that should reinforce business language. Unless you’re listing your email (or social media handle), stick to the written word.

  1. “References available upon Request”

Recruiters know Candidates will present their references without question when asked, stating this is an obvious that also takes up valuable resume real- estate.

The purpose the resume is it to demonstrate your skills, which you will be tempted to write as adjectives. An adjective is a word that describes. “Organized” is a common resume adjective. How can you demonstrate that you are organized? Use an example! Quantify your experience with words that describe that adjective.

 

About the author(s):

charlesErica MacDonald and Charles Liikson are technical recruitment specialists for Procom Consultants Group in Toronto, Canada. In their perspective roles, they work to match candidates with opportunities primarily within IT and Professional Services.  For more information, they can be reached at: EricaM@Procom.ca and CharlesL@Procom.ca.

5 Tips to get your resume past an Applicant Tracking System

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before your resume reaches human hands, it first must beat the bots—which can prove to be quite tricky (and frustrating) if you’re not wise to their pre-filtering ways. An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) works by scanning resumes for contextual keywords and phrases and mathematically scoring them for relevance, sending only the most qualified for human review. With only about 25% of resumes submitted actually getting past these digital gatekeepers, use these tips to get on a recruiter’s radar and your resume in a hiring manager’s hands.

  1. Keep formatting simple

Robots prefer cold conformity over creativity, so striving to impress with fancy fonts, logos, pictures, symbols, tables and graphics will complicate your resume and confuse the ATS. Keep it simple with no complex layouts. If you’re applying for a creative role, save the colour and flair for your in-person interview.

  1. Use standard headings

An ATS won’t recognize non-standard headings, so when a Job Seeker writes “About me” instead of “Professional summary” or “Accreditations” in place of “Work experience,” the robots will reject your resume because they won’t be able to sort the content appropriately in their database.

  1. Stick to the key words

Resume keywords are the skills and qualifications used in the original job description that should be included in a resume. However, simply using any form of these keywords will not win the robot war. They must be formatted to echo the original job description exactly— to an ATS, there’s a difference between “Microsoft Word,” “MS Word” and “Word.” When it comes to your job description, 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.

  1. Write out acronyms

Even if an acronym is common to the industry like DHTML or EJB, it may not be recognized or categorized correctly by an ATS. To avoid any misunderstandings, always spell out the word first before including the acronym: Dynamic HTML (DHTML) and Enterprise JavaBean (EJB).

  1. Include your postal code

Recruiters use something called a radial search to filter qualified candidates within a specific parameter closest to the job location. To do this, they use your postal code; and if it doesn’t exist, neither does your resume.

All an ATS knows is your past qualifications, and if you want to get your resume noticed by a recruiter or hiring manager for a future opportunity, these tips are the first tactics to use in winning the battle against the bot.

5 Ways to jumpstart your job search for 2016

2016 is coming.

That may not have sounded as ominous as when Ned Stark warned of Winter, but when you’re a Job Seeker currently dwelling within the realm of the in-between, it may seem just as perilous if you didn’t get the career you craved for Christmas. With all that holiday spending, employment in the New Year is probably sounding like a go-to resolution. While many may take time off the job hunt during the season, you can jingle all the way to one you love by taking advantage of these tips:

  1. Gain an advantage over the competition

It’s a common misconception that companies aren’t hiring during December, so conventional wisdom tells Job Seekers to take time off during the holidays. When you submit your resume, the crowd of candidates is thinner, allowing you to stand out from the rest of the crowd even more.

  1. Network at events

Holiday parties are prime prospecting events. Use parties, family gatherings, receptions, community activities and other special events as a way to connect or reconnect with those who can aid you in your job search. You never know who you might meet to help you along the way.

  1. Send a greeting

Your felicitations needn’t be reserved for family and friends. Consider sending season’s greetings via holiday cards to former co-workers, bosses, clients, vendors and other such connections of a professional nature. Not only are you nurturing your network, you’re also ingraining yourself within theirs, heightening your chances of uncovering any potential job leads.

  1. Volunteer

There’s never a bad time to establish and cultivate your professional identity. Volunteering during down time allows you to hone skills at a place of interest that can help those in need and your resume.

  1. Start the New Year off motivated

Perhaps most importantly, revving up your job search during the holidays means you don’t slow to a standstill. Job searching can be frustrating, but when you keep your momentum up when others turn theirs down, the diligence will take you into the New Year with a mental leg up over the competition.

The only thing that should be put on the back burner this holiday season is the pot of carrots. Don’t let the stress of the season divert you from finding a great career opportunity.

Side note: Winter is coming April 2016.

8 Reasons why you didn’t get the job

“Thank you for your interest…”

“We’ll keep your resume on file…”

“Good luck in your job search…”

Those words.

You crafted the perfect resume, breezed by the initial phone conversation and left the interview feeling like you’re already a part of the team– and then you get the email. You know the one. The one with those words…

It’s supposed to be the job offer you’ve been waiting for, but instead of a contract, you’re stuck with condolences… What went wrong?

There could have been any number of reasons why you didn’t get the gig, and other than simply not being qualified, these could be one of them:

  1. The definition of the job changed

Over the course of interviewing several different candidates, the company may have decided to revise the job description all together. As a result, management may have also revised the required skills. It happens.

  1. They hired internally

It’s actually pretty common. Even if a hiring manager knows of a strong internal candidate, some companies require outside interviews to take place anyway. Hiring internally is a low-risk move and one many organizations will make if there’s a qualified candidate already on staff.

  1. They were looking for the right cultural fit (and you weren’t it)

Sure, you may be qualified, but did you really picture yourself working alongside these people on an almost daily basis? Maybe the hiring manager couldn’t, either. Personalities play a role in the employment game, and maybe you didn’t come across as someone who would fit in on the team.

  1. You couldn’t agree on salary

If you’re looking for more than the company is willing to pay, odds are you won’t be offered anything other than the good luck email.

  1. The interview was a ruse

Some companies have policies that a certain number of candidates has to be interviewed for each position—even when the hiring manager has already decided on whom to bring on board.

  1. You’re too attractive

Yep. Said it. It’s an ugly truth. Psychological studies have shown that there’s a hiring bias against particularly attractive women for some roles (guys, you’re apparently safe from such discriminations).

  1. There was a better candidate

People often identify themselves as perfect for the job, but for every qualified person, there’s another one. Fitting the qualifications listed on the job description doesn’t necessarily mean someone else isn’t a better fit overall.

  1. You simply blew it

Sometimes there’s no other reason for not landing the job other than you simply made a really bad impression. Maybe you weren’t prepared, your body language made you seem disinterested, maybe you came across as too arrogant or perhaps you just didn’t click with the hiring manager. Sometimes interviews go badly and it’s best to just move on with these tips.

When it comes to job interviews, all you can really do is prepare as best you can to make an enthusiastic and professional bid for your candidacy. You won’t be hired for every position you interview for, but don’t let the setbacks get you sidetracked, the reason you didn’t get hired could have nothing to do with you. (Or you really did just blow it).

5 Talent retention tips from the season’s most villainous bosses

The festive season isn’t always fun for all when a Grinch is stealing employee morale. Those in leadership have the power to empower staff, and all employees really want for Christmas is to not get Scrooged all year ‘round. When it comes to retaining a talented workforce, take a tip from these mean ones in management–by doing the exact opposite of everything they do.

  1. Ebenezer Scrooge: A Christmas Carole

Ebenezer Scrooge may have been one miserly villain, but he’s also the original tight-fisted cost cutter! Skimping on the heat to ensure every penny is squeezed from the bottom line would make any employee say Bah Humbug!

Take Away: Don’t skimp on the coal to line the company coffers. If cuts must be made, do so without cutting morale by being transparent in your decisions.

 

 

2. Frank Shirley: National Lampoons Christmas Vacation

What’s Christmas without the Griswalds? And what’s a Griswold without a Christmas bonus? Deciding to do away with monetary bonuses without notice is more than a festive faux pas, it’s also a pretty good way to ensure employee dissatisfaction.

Take away: Don’t take staff by surprise, call a company-wide meeting with your employees to relay the news well ahead of the season, And remember…always remember, no one likes jelly anymore (probably).

 

 

 

 

3. Gin Slagel: Bad Santa

What’s worse than a corrupt Clause? A blackmailing mall boss who wants in on the thieving spoils.

Take away: If you discover shady dealings, don’t keep them in the dark. Address any bad employee behaviour immediately, so others don’t follow suit or become disgruntled by lax management.

 

 

4. Joseph Takag: Die Hard

…………..Strictly because “Scheduling a holiday party on Christmas Eve is a jerk move.”
Take Away: Sure, business is business, but be mindful of employee personal time when it comes to scheduling events around special times of year or weekends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Frank Cross: Scrooged
Why yes of course, it’s technically a Christmas Carole remake; however, it’s Bill Murray, and Bill Murray deserves an honourable mention for being awesome. But what isn’t awesome is greed.

Take Away: Don’t let success overwhelm your life. Sure, employees are working for you, but they’re also working for themselves and their families, and recognition goes a long way to inspire loyalty.

 

Whether they’re full-time, part-time or on contract, motivated workers are a company’s best asset. Ensure a satisfied staff this season and all year ’round by providing them with the tools they need to be successful…. and by being the exact opposite of these bad bosses.

23 Resume mistakes that will land you on a recruiter’s naughty list

They may not see you when you’re sleeping, or know when you’re awake (….cause creepy), but they do know when you’re resume is bad or good, so make it good for goodness sake!

With recruiters spending an average of 3-7 seconds glancing at your resume before deciding whether to read on or move on, you may want to avoid making these common resume mistakes so you could get the best present of all this holiday season: a job in the New Year.

  1. Lack of contact details

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

  1. No postal code

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

  1. 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.

  1. Fancy formatting

Leave grids, charts and boxes off your resume. An ATS won’t read them and a recruiter will have to reformat (if by chance your resume is found through a second round of pooling).

  1. Inconsistent fonts

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

  1. Different colours

Your resume is not a rainbow, so stick to the black and white basics.

  1. Failure to take advice

A recruiter knows what his or her Client is looking for. If you receive constructive criticism, implement the advice to get a head of the competition.

  1. Lying

Every resume you submit to a staffing firm is kept on file. Forever. The inconsistencies will be noticed, so be honest.

  1. It’s vague

Recruiters want to know what you’ve done, how you did it and what the results were. Can you quantify them?

  1. Spelling errors and bad grammar

After you’ve double checked for spelling, grammar and punctuation, have someone else you trust look it over as well.

  1. Unnecessary capitalization

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

  1. Listing a marital status

Being a 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.

  1. TMI

Find the balance between personalizing a resume and too much information. Only list hobbies and interests that pertain to the job description.

  1. Lack of technical skills

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

  1. Copy and pasting

Pssst! Recruiters read the same job descriptions as you do, so when you copy and paste the desired skills listed in the description onto your CV, they can tell.

  1. Unqualified candidates

Transferable skills are great and are always taken into consideration, but a Candidate with intermediate-level experience, shouldn’t apply for a vice president position.

  1. Photos

Unless you’re applying for a modeling gig, leave the selfies off the resume.

  1. Contact details only listed in the header

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

  1. PDF versions

Sending your resume in a PDF format means that a recruiter has to ask you for another version (and then wait for that other version) to make any changes or remove contact details before submitting to a Client.

  1. Missing months

Always list the number of months against the number of years you were with a company.

  1. Missing company names

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

  1. Too wordy

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

  1. Proficiency implications

A recruiter doesn’t have time to read between the lines based on your previous positions. List all of your proficiencies clearly.

How to write a resume headline that works

Your resume is your first impression, and just like in-person encounters, you rarely get a second chance at making the first one count. The average length of time spent by a recruiter looking at a resume is 5-7 seconds, and that’s after the Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) eliminates 75% of submissions. Your headline is what will either entice hiring managers to read on or to move on to the next one, so use these three tips to turn your first impression into a lasting one.

Use keywords
The ATS robots read your resume before human hands pick it up, so you need to use keywords associated with the job description within the text. Include the job title as well. If you’re applying for a software developer position, your headline may read like this:

“Extensive knowledge as a [job title examples] systems architect and software developer – [key word examples] analysis, design, architecture, development and management of complex software solutions.”

Keep it clear and concise
When a recruiter is reading your headline, he or she shouldn’t have to read between the lines. Keep the text to one sentence in length that highlights your skills and experience directly related to the position.

“Highly qualified [job title] Java developer offering more than 5 years of [some related keywords]: web programming, multimedia content development, business analysis experience within [your field] industry.”

Create a new headline for each position you apply to
The rule of thumb is to have your resume specifically tailored to each position you apply to, and the same goes for your headline. Use specific stats or achievements if applicable.

“10 years of experience as a key [job title] R&D team leader who was responsible for [keywords] sourcing, purchasing and developing products from concept to commercialization, [quantifiable achievement] improving bottom-line sales by 30%.”

One liners can pack a powerful professional punch when delivered correctly. Incorporate these tips into your resume to capture the attention of potential employers and articulate your value proposition.

5 Benefits of job searching during the holidays

The holidays.

Two simple words that have a tendency to bring out the festive cheer or bah hum bug blues in us all, but if you find yourself dwelling within the unfortunate realm of the unemployed during the festive season—things may not be seem so jolly. While the employed are earning the bucks to pay the post-spending bills, the inactive employee is debating whether or not hiring managers are operating business as usual. They are! So, don’t miss out on the best present you could give yourself this holiday season: a career you love! Here’s how:

  1. Gain an advantage over the competition

It’s a common misconception that companies aren’t hiring during December, so conventional wisdom tells Job Seekers to take time off during the holidays. When you submit your resume, the crowd of candidates is thinner, allowing you to stand out from the rest of the crowd even more.

  1. Network at events

Holiday parties are prime prospecting events. Use parties, family gatherings, receptions, community activities and other special events as a way to connect or reconnect with those who can aid you in your job search. You never know who you might meet to help you along the way.

  1. Send a greeting

Your felicitations needn’t be reserved for family and friends. Consider sending season’s greetings via holiday cards to former co-workers, bosses, clients, vendors and other such connections of a professional nature. Not only are you nurturing your network, you’re also ingraining yourself within theirs, heightening your chances of uncovering any potential job leads.

  1. Volunteer

There’s never a bad time to establish and cultivate your professional identity. Volunteering during down time allows you to hone skills at a place of interest that can help those in need and your resume.

  1. Start the New Year off motivated

Perhaps most importantly, revving up your job search during the holidays means you don’t slow to a standstill. Job searching can be frustrating, but when you keep your momentum up when others turn theirs down, the diligence will take you into the New Year with a mental leg up over the competition.

The only thing that should be put on the back burner this holiday season is the pot of carrots. Don’t let the stress of the season divert you from finding a great career opportunity.

How to lose a recruiter in 10 ways

The relationship you have with your recruiter can often correlate to those you keep in your personal life.  There’s that tethered thread that keeps you connected; yet that mutually-beneficial bond can unravel faster than Kate Hudson’s post rom com career when certain behaviours rear their ugly heads. Avoid these (often enacted, yet seldom realized) job hunting acts that will lose even the most determined recruiter.

  1. Refusing to revise your resume

Resume changes can be tedious, but they’re necessary to showcase your talent. Recruiters want to show what a great fit you are to their client. Refusal to revise your resume also shows you’re reluctant to take instruction; a candidate who won’t work on their own profile may be seen as one who won’t work at their job.

  1. Following up again… & again & again

Recruiters want you to get hired! If you’ve built a strong relationship, they’ll be happy to hear from you, yet the average time span from the release of a job order to when you may start is 21 days. Keep your follow ups to a maximum of twice per phase and at least 24-48 hours apart.

  1. Going MIA

Did you get another job offer? Great! Did you not inform your recruiter whose been working to find you work? NOT great. It doesn’t only make you look bad, it makes your recruiter look bad to his or her client as well. This is definitely a bridge burning scenario. If the job you accepted didn’t work out, you’re vanishing act will stay on your file.

  1. Accepting/Rejecting

Rejecting an offer a recruiter went above and beyond to get you or accepting a job offer and backing out at the last minute are two certified ways to find yourself on the blacklist.

  1. Lying about credentials

Credibility killer! Over exaggerating your skill or experience level will lead to your recruiter unintentionally overselling you to their client. Big mistake. Also, credentials like proof of education are often required to be submitted, so be honest!

  1. Self-entitlement

Yes, it’s a recruiter’s job to find the perfect fit for both a Contractor and Client, but it isn’t their expressed duty to find you a job. (Of course they want to though!) Be patient and when they find an opening that they believe is a perfect experience, skill and cultural fit, then expect a call.

  1. No shows

Didn’t show up to an interview? You’ll probably never show up on a recruiter’s radar again. Remember: files. Files stay forever.

  1. Too much finance finagling

Sure, money matters. But when a recruiter tells you the maximum rate and you agree, it’s bad form to try to re-negotiate when it comes time to sign on the dotted line, leaving the recruiter with a bad impression.

  1. Being too hard to contact

When it comes to the job search game, playing telephone tag wastes valuable time, and you can end up losing out in the long run. You should be prepared to answer your phone or get back to a recruiter within the hour.

  1. Not being prepared

Recruiters work hard to get you in front of the hiring manager and they receive interview feedback. If you weren’t prepared and didn’t take the interview seriously, chances are you’ll be working with someone else on your job search.

Backing and guidance from a strong recruiter with a great client list creates the perfect chemistry for a successful relationship. But be careful. When it comes to your job search, all isn’t fair in love and war.

 

 

 

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 flyguy69@hotmail.com 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.

Include:

  • 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.

Smile

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.