Thursday, May 3, 2012

Career Planning- The Pragmatic Way of Successfully Finding a Job

Job seekers come in variety of different forms. Some are trained and skilled trades people with years of experience and others are graduates from University of College looking to gain employment experience.

Truth be told, as many can attest, it's quite easier for some to find a job than others. Say if you're in the trades, there's plenty of opportunity out there and many places are looking for you, so get out there!

However, what if you're not in the trades? What if you are a University graduate with a social sciences degree for exmaple? Or you are heading to University, College or some form of higher education and your goal is to gain employment after you achieve academic success?

This situation is pretty common where a social studies degree with a major in psychology doesn't get you too far unless you intend on becoming a Psychologist.

Well there's some good news and some bad news. In fact, this can seem pretty radical. 

I'll explain. 

I was having a conversation the other day. An older colleague and I were discussing family, jobs, and friends. She wanted to pick my brain. She told me that her son was struggling to find a job and was just about to go to university.
To add to the confusion, he didn't know what he wanted to take but was open to experiencing different academic disciplines in hopes of finding the right fit.

She asked me how I got a job. 

Like her son, I told her that he was already off on the right foot. Finding a career for some can be a logical progression where you know where you want to go in life and you take the necessary steps to get there or; it can be an assortment of trials, experience gathering and a few years out in the working world to realize where you want to go. I believe the most important trait to have as a recent graduate or young professional is "openness" and "flexibility". Meaning that even if you're not sure what you want to do you would still consider opportunities as they become available. 

Secondly, I think it's absolutely important to understand the meaning of "do what you love and the money will come".

Again, I believe this is subjective to what exactly your situation is. If you're a keen photographer and you've acquired some experience and truly feel charged to make a push and make a living out of  your work then you are doing what you love. But you still have to eat so you need to take a very realistic look at how dynamic and profitable your venture really is. 

If, on the other hand, you are keen, as you all are, you are starting off. There is no substitute for education the only thing that comes close is experience, but that's still a 2nd on my podium.

You want a realistic approach to planning a career for yourself and that starts with your education. 

I thought about my experiences and how I would do it over again if I were to be starting out in University or College and I told my colleague that I would go online, search a job website and click the "browse" feature. 

A selection of professions is displayed. I think about what job I want to and see if I can click the link that applies right down to the job poster. 

There's a few hits and misses but you get the idea.

In the end, I've established what the current job market is offering and I've made a conscious effort and assessing my strengths and interests in selecting an academic discipline that matches what the job market is offering.

I still have yet to receive an update on my colleague's son, however, I'm sure this is a work in progress and will update jobalobablog accordingly.

Like I said, probably radical but it may be the option for you!

Let me know if you have found success!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cover your Resume with a Cover Letter

Admittedly, I was never really sure that cover letters worked as effectively as they do.
I always attempted the uncertain task with trepidation and insecurity with a healthy mix of regurgitation of the main points in my resume.

Recently, however, with some intuitive research and some experience under my belt, I have come to the realization that cover letters are the most integral parts to your job-success and marketing scheme. The trick is how you actually pitch them.

The old approach to writing cover letters is to repeat all information in your resume. STOP IT!

You must express your excitement and enthusiasm for the position you are applying to and also explain, in an example laden way, that you should be invited to an interview.

There's more to it than just that, however, since I now have your attention follow the links and get registered with some employment sites such as or if you haven't already done so and inform yourself with the sample cover letters.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Interviews- The Inevitable Battle

Interviews- The Inevitable Battle?

Most people shudder at the thought of an interview. They have submitted a perfectly written resume and probably filled out an application and were able to answer several questions with ease. 

All this boosts confidence, which in turn generates excitement in finalizing and securing a job.

Then comes the invite for the interview. 

Interviews do not have to be stressful nor should unsuccessful ones be considered a failure. They are a learning opportunity and it imparts resourceful interviewee's with success strategies for future opportunities. 

Most people adopt the mindset that a bad interview should just be forgotten and the resulting disqualification from a job competition should be taken as a failure, however, let's step back from such an overbearing negative thought and analyse the structure of the interview, questions asked and general tone set by the interviewer.

There's tons of hidden information which isn't so obscure once you know what to look for. If you are a seasoned interview veteran then you could relate. 

Here's a few things to consider and prepare for before going into an interview:

1) Research
  •  Researching a company profile and delving into the core of their business is a great way to formulate practise questions and gives you an added sense of confidence because you're just that much more knowledgeable about the company and their operations. This applies to everyone from the Mail Room Clerk to the Senior Analyst etc. Everyone can benefit!
2) Attention to Details
  • Somewhat related to research, however, with clear distinctions, attention to details is a skill that his honed. Applications, job posters and other job information that a company of a prospective employer places in the open for job seekers to read gives you a feel of what kind of employees the company is looking to hire and what common skill sets their current employees posses. 
3) Resourcefulness
  • This is a handy tool to keep in your "Job-Seekers Toolbox". Resourcefulness is a quality that seldom get any praise or showcase during the interview process because of the constraints and routine practice of interviewing and the awkwardness that would ensue if such a requirement were actually asked to be performed on the spot. However, this logically filters upward through point 1 and 2 where if information is lacking a quick drive over to the company's HQ or satellite office and speaking with the secretary or even going as far as to make an appointment with an on-site HR rep would give you tons of insight into what makes the company tick. Small bit of information can lead to big success when used in a strategic and well thought out way.
4) Documentation
  • Keep a small journal which is easily accessible. If you have completed an interview and you were unsuccessful jot down where you think you didn't perform as well as expected and ask if your interviewers would mind providing you with some feedback. Jot down those notes as well. Keep a fairly detailed journal on these occurrences and feedback. Look back when you're heading into you next interview and find trends, correlations or just plain point where you can improve on and execute!

Always remember, information and routine practice of these strategies will lead to some interesting discoveries. You may find that many companies have a standardized and similar styles of interviewing candidates, therefore, your past experience in information gathering and research along with a comprehensive review of your missteps can lead to some incredible  results!

Have any great tips on interviews or how you have shown resourcefulness? Do you have any other pointers to add? Please feel free to comment.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Experience... Who needs it?

Possibly one of the most important qualities an employer looks for in any employee is their previous work experience. Without it, job seekers would find it extremely difficult to get the job they desire.

Since most employers require that potential employees have some relevant experience it narrows the pool or qualified candidates from which they will choose from. This seems like a dead end for those who have a career path in mind but do not possess the relevant experience required.

Fortunately, there are ways to acquire this experience before formally submitting your application.

What is important is that you print or take note of the experience required for the job you want. You must carefully read through the job poster or advertisement and highlight what the employer is asking of its employees. The next step is to categorize the experience. Some types of categories may include education, volunteer work, skills, abilities etc. By categorizing each experience requirement under sub-headings such as "education" you will enhance your ability to manage the acquisition of these requirements. The next step is to establish a time line. By doing so, you are able to remain aware of deadlines and motivate yourself to complete each project category in a effective and timely manner.

Understandably, many job seekers are pressed for time when it comes to applying to jobs, however, if your goals are career oriented, you have some time on your side. It would serve you well to maximize your time and limit the stress and intimidation of hefty, and seemingly unattainable, experience requirements by breaking them down into more manageable project categories.

Other ways you can really benefit from experience gathering is by connecting with employees of the relevant field of work you are interested in. By doing this, you can ask questions on how they achieved their experience and additionally, you may even find insight towards an easier approach or point of entry into your career of choice.

Stay positive and stay organized.


Job seekers are constantly searching for new ways to get the most out of their resumes. There are many formats to choose from, however, there are also many circumstances to consider when you are ready to market your resume to potential employers.

In today's feature, we will discuss these circumstances and marketing ideas.

To begin, you have to establish a clear understanding of how your potential employer wants to communicate with you. This can range from sending your cover letter and resume by email or applying to an online database which stores your resume for later review. These are the most prevalent choices employers tend to use when fielding resumes, however, many job-seekers make the mistake of submitting poorly-formatted resumes which do not look appealing to employers. This places you at a disadvantage when the human resources department reviews resume submission.

Many job-seekers have been told that you must constantly change and adapt your resume to meet the criteria or appeal to the interest of your prospective employer. This is the most important point you must consider. By undertstanding that your resume will continually need revision and modification you can begin to format and consider new ways to maintain the integrity of your resume through online email or database submissions.

Here are some basic recommendations:
  • When submitting your resume, ensure that you submit using a commonly used file format such as .doc (word) or inform yourself through contacting your prospective employer about what file formats the company or organization works in. This should not be too hard as most companies will inform you on what file format they work with.
  • During your formatting remove fancy lines or bullet schemes as they most often work against the readability of your resume. Employers want simplicity and clarity. They only take 35 seconds to skim through and if they have to follow fancy formatting gone wrong, your resume may not be given any further consideration.
  • Ensure that you are attaching the appropriate resume! I have fallen victim to this careless act and I have suffered the consequences. Be sure that you verify your file before you click "send". What I have done is set up a file in my documents folder where each job is categorized with its own file and resumes, cover letters, resources or study information are all stored accordingly.
By following these steps, one could maximize your resume's marketability and eliminate potential for an employer to over look your resume.