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Welcome to the exclusive Canada Job Expo Career Counsel Corner.
Here you’ll find online resources related to all aspects of your career development: self- assessment, professional communication, interview preparation, personal marketing, global employment, and company and industry research.
To explore more about the Topics, choose any of the following to start with:Your Digital Brand
Building Your Online Brand Success in the Digital Age Social Media
Think of your online profiles, posts and tweets as a dynamic résumé – an online presentation of your personal brand. They reveal your interests, personality and expertise. Spaces like Facebook, Twitter and blogs may seem more personal, while LinkedIn is clearly a venue for professional networking and job searching. But even with the strictest privacy settings, no social space is truly private, so heed our suggestions to protect your online reputation. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to be yourself; you’ll make your best impression if there’s a real human behind your online identity.
How to Tend to Your Network
Networking online doesn’t need to be time consuming. You can develop your professional reputation and help others in the process through simple etiquette practices that requireonly a few minutes each day:
Be the first to have a point of view – share relevant news articles and add value by including any observations.
Establish yourself as the go-to-person – consider connecting your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts to establish more visibility.
Try to add at least one new person to your network a week – growing networks are far more effective than stagnant ones.
Protect Your Reputation Online
Don’t let social networking jeopardize your career opportunities. Protect your image by following these simple tips:
Keep It Professional. Don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want a prospective employer to see. Derogatory comments, revealing or risqué photos, foul language, and lewd jokes all will be viewed as a reflection of your character. Carefully select your privacy settings.
And since you can’t control what others post, you may want to block or hide comments from friends who don’t practice the same level of discretion. Be prepared. Check your profile regularly to see what comments have been posted.
Remember that other people can tag you, so check regularly, and if a post is not appropriate, un-tag yourself. Use a search engine to look for online records of yourself to see what is out there about you.
If you find information you feel could be detrimental to your candidacy or career,
remove it – and make sure you have an answer ready to counter or explain “digital dirt.”
Respect the wall.
If you wouldn’t want to read it on a billboard, don’t post it to your Facebook wall – or anyone else’s. This holds true even if you use Facebook only to socialize. Remember, anyone you “friend” can see your comments, photos and YouTube video links. Email or use Facebook’s messaging feature instead. Even though Facebook is considered a social network, there are useful ways to leverage Facebook to grow your persona and professional network.
Facebook offers a number of tools useful to job seekers.
Like” companies – search for pages of your target companies and “Like” them.
Interact on the page’s wall to highlight your interest in the products and services.
Links – post links to your profile and appear in friends’ news feeds that will position you as an expert in a field and may attract the attention of recruiters and hiring managers.
Remember to stay away from controversial topics and inappropriate content or photographs. “Like” articles on the web – don’t be afraid to hit the “Like” button on blogs, online news articles, websites, etc. When you “Like” interesting stuff, others may want to connect back with you as a resource and it begins another connection.
Many people use Twitter to keep up on the latest buzz, including job opportunities. It’s also an efficient networking tool, and 140-character tweets force you to keep your message or question concise. When you make new contacts in your field of interest, ask whether they have a Twitter handle to follow. At conferences and social events, include your Twitter handle on your name badge. Use Twitter as you would a business card – a point of entry for follow-up conversation. As you build your network of colleagues and professionals, reach out to ask questions. And reciprocate by quickly answering questions directed to you. Tailor your 160-character Twitter description for professional relationships – use your real name (nothing silly) and include your location, the type of work you do and keywords related to your career interests. Then get started:
Search job-related hashtags.
Explore job hunting apps to identify openings.
Participate in Twitter job chats sponsored by professional groups and career experts.
A LinkedIn profile can be a window to potential employers and the first place where recruiters will look when seeking talent. Here are useful tips to make sure your LinkedIn profile is ready for prime-time viewing:
Consider your job-seeking objectives –
You cannot effectively brand your LinkedIn profile without a clear understanding of what position or role you are seeking.
No typos, misspellings or grammatical errors – first impressions online are as important as face-to-face first impressions.
Your profile should be error-free, succinct and articulate.
Who do you want to be seen as?
Every time you appear on LinkedIn, your headline or personal tagline goes with you. Make sure you brand your headline in a way you want to be seen, especially by potential recruiters. It is better to brand yourself for the job you want rather than the job you have.
Communicate value proposition – use the summary box in your profile as your personal sales pitch but targeted at recruiters. Include some keywords for which recruiters are likely to search.
Add specialties – be sure to highlight your specialties, as this is another good opportunity to add in keywords recruiters will use to search on this section. Public profile and URLs – have your personal name in your LinkedIn profile URL, i.e., “ http://linkedin.com/in/ yourfullname.” If you maintain additional social media sites, include links to these profiles too. Connect up your social networking presence –
LinkedIn can be used to connect up all of your social networking platforms, including RSS and Twitter feeds and blogs.
Recommendations and endorsements – ask your internship or work supervisors or colleagues for a long form recommendation or endorsement. Having positive recommendations and endorsements can often be the deciding factor between candidates.
Consistency matters – just like integrity and reliability, consistency is very important in the online world. Make sure the messages on your website, Twitter, Facebook and any other online sites are all consistent. Recruiters will do online searches for you before they decide whether to call you.
Keywords – search engine optimization is very important on LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn profile is about to become your electronic résumé, so scatter keywords recruiters are seeking throughout your profile. Add an industry in your professional summary because recruiters often use that field to search for candidates.
Update your status regularly
LinkedIn can be your very own PR machine. Regularly tell potential employers and recruiters what you have achieved or what you are doing. Recruiters are looking for evidence that you are keeping your LinkedIn profile active and up to date.Add more content – you will achieve more with LinkedIn the more content rich you make it. Use the experience section to explain and highlight each company in which you worked, and remember to include any board, civic or voluntary positions. Feature projects in your profile with images, video or presentations if appropriate. Make sure you are open for business – if you are searching for a job, make sure your contact settings are set to include career opportunities, consulting offers, new ventures, job inquiries and reference requests. Influencers and channels – get the most out of your LinkedIn experience by following influencers and channels that interest you. This will allow you to tap into cutting-edge insights and trends from industry leaders, and stay on top of news and events.
When you are searching for a job, demonstrating strong communication skills is essential, yet most people understand this concept superficially.
To be a good communicator, you should:
Know your audience Whether you are writing a letter, interviewing or presenting, the number one rule of business communication is to know the audience – the people who will be receiving your communication.
Research the company. In addition to reading the company’s website, find out about the culture and learn about its specific business problems. It is hiring people who can solve business problems. What do you have to offer the company? Also, do you fit with its culture?
Go beyond basic research and use a little psychology. That recruiter you’re talking with has been flying around the country talking with one person after another, day after day. Can you put yourself in that person’s shoes? He or she wants to talk with an interesting and confident person who’s ideal to work with and who stands out from the crowd.
You’ve made his or her day if you turn out to be the right person to bring in for a second interview.
In the cover letter and interview, briefly convey your knowledge of the company and communicate information that demonstrates your fit with the company and the advertised position.
Know yourself You can’t effectively communicate what you have to offer an organization if you don’t know your own talents, strengths and weaknesses.
To effectively differentiate and sell yourself, know what makes you unique. In the cover letter and the interview, prove with examples and results that you have skills to help business professionals solve their business problems.
Prepare Good presenters and writers prepare in advance. They rehearse their presentations and tweak their writing until they feel their message is clear and compelling. Even if you are a charmer, no one will be impressed if you demonstrate little preparation for the interview. For interviews, predict the questions you could be asked, prepare for them and practice answering them.
In letters, customize your message for that particular audience. Be concise and organized You’ve heard that time is money. That’s why business people won’t have patience for a disorganized and wordy paragraph or a rambling answer during an interview.
Avoid wordiness. Consider whether headings, subheadings and bullets in your written correspondence will help the busy reader easily navigate your message. In general, make the first sentence of each paragraph the main point and then support that point.
Be accurate and truthful If someone discovers you’ve lied, you’ll lose your credibility. Proofread, or you’ll be perceived as someone who doesn’t pay attention to details.
Know when to listen and when to talk Good communicators have different personalities. Some are outgoing and some are thoughtful listeners.
The best communicators can listen to the other person and keep a conversation going. One strategy for keeping a conversation flowing is to demonstrate interest by asking good open-ended questions.
Really listen, and you’ll learn a lot about the job and the company.
Developing Your Career Action Plan
Prepare yourself for a lifetime of progressive career management. A successful internship or job search begins with the development of a good career plan.
To develop your plan, you’ll need to engage in:
» Self assessment – consider your
interests, skills, values and personality in terms of career aspirations
» Market research – explore industries, functional areas and companies
» Career goals – consult with our advisors to align your skills and interests with likely careers
» Gap analysis – identify gaps in your preparation and pursue opportunities to build your strengths and bolster areas where you lack experience
» Personal marketing plan – develop an impactful cover letter and résumé, practice your
elevator pitch, and hone your communication and networking skills
Working closely with our network of alumni, employers and faculty, our employer relations team explores domestic and global markets for hiring trends and employment opportunities. We’re continually cultivating our partnerships
with exceptional companies – and building a reputation for interns and graduates who are ready for business, with tools and talent to create value for their organizations.
Writing Impactful Resumes
A résumé is a written document that lists your work experience, skills and educational background. A résumé is used as a marketing tool for job seekers.
Your résumé should be: » One page » Concise, accurate and professional
» Action- and results-oriented
» Customized to the specific position you’re seeking
» Proofed carefully for grammar, spelling and conformance
» Printed on high-quality résumé paper
When writing your résumé, use the STAR method for developing strong statements that describe your past and present experiences. Avoid listing only job duties. Instead, describe accomplishments and outcomes. Recruiters and hiring managers prefer to read success stories, not a list of tasks. For example: Situation – the situation or setting; the
background for context Task – tasks or tactics used to approach or assess the challenge Action – activities or actions used to effect the change Result – the outcome, a sense of scale, the quantifiable benefit
A weak résumé statement:
“A successful builder of high-performance teams that can address challenging client situations.”
You have just “bragged” on yourself without a context, an example or any sense of scale or success.
Convert it into a STAR statement…
A strong (STAR) résumé statement: “Assigned as a new project leader to a client who was dissatisfied with the firm’s services, rebuilt the project team and rewrote the application to the customer’s satisfaction, resulting in an extension of the multi-year contract.”
Broken down into STAR components:
Situation: assigned to a dissatisfied customer Task: to solve a technical issue (application programming) and a client issue
Action: pulled together a good team to solve the technical issue Result: achieved customer satisfaction and got a contract extension
Keywords for Résumés
Use action words to describe your experience and accomplishments and to effectively demonstrate your level of responsibility.
Tips on E-mail Etiquette
This is another way for recipients to identify who you are and how you can be reached.
Cover Letter Guide
Your Return Address
Name of Contact Person
City, Province, Postal Code
Salutation (Dear XXX):
Opening Paragraph: STATE YOUR REASON FOR WRITING
– Introduce yourself and the purpose of your letter: who you are and why you are writing. State the position you are applying for and why you are an ideal candidate. Briefly mention how you learned of this opportunity, or how the employer’s name was obtained and why you are interested in this particular company. Ensure your wording is creative and engaging and catches an employer’s attention quickly.
Middle Paragraph: EMPHASIZE YOUR STRONGEST QUALIFICATIONS – BASED ON THEIR NEEDS – Provide an overview of your competencies (talents, knowledge and skills) and unique strengths, stated in terms of the unique value you bring to the company. Support what you say by noting the positive results you achieved in internships, previous work or educational contexts.
Sell yourself by mapping your competencies to the requirements of the specific job of interest or organization.
Closing Paragraph: STATE EXPECTED ACTION – Thank the reader of your letter, state how you may be contacted (include your phone number and email address) and note a follow-up action item for yourself. Remember to state the specific date that you will be calling (approximately one week after you send the letter).
Your Signature (4 blank lines for this)
Your Typed Name
Tips on Successful Networking
The Self Introduction
Creating an introduction about yourself can prove useful when you are meeting employers at recruiting events, such as job fairs and information sessions.
To get started, take inventory of your accomplishments and identify the common themes among them. Think about what you have been recognized for – those times when you’ve achieved your best and made meaningful contributions.
Be familiar with what makes someone successful in the job you want and come up with examples of work you’ve done in those areas. Be sure to provide information regarding what makes you unique compared with everyone else who does what you do.
What should your pitch include?
» Education (school and major)
» Interests, talents, skills
Keep in mind also that your pitch will change along the way. Always think about your pitch and adjust it accordingly.
Tips on Networking
Be prepared. Be sure to have your pitch well rehearsed and ready to deliver. You never know where you’ll meet your next contact.
Be sure also to build your contact list, which can include, but is not limited to, former high school and college classmates, professors, names in the rosters of organizations you belong to, and people from your family telephone directory. It is also helpful to create an agenda before all meetings. This helps you stay focused while meeting with a new contact.
Be creative. Networking is all about marketing yourself. Be sure to include in your pitch a specific interest or something that is so unique it will be hard to forget. Those kinds of things stick with people and make them remember you. Send a thank-you note with your initials or something that will stick out to the receiver so that you are not forgotten.
Be resourceful. When looking to network or to reach out to those in a field you wish to enter, be sure to do as much homework and research as you can. Networking is a way to get your foot in the door before a position is available.
Be professional. When relationship building, use “please” and “thank you” and be sure to pay close attention to the person to whom you are speaking. Use his or her name often, give a firm handshake and be sure to have good posture. Make sure your dress is proper at all times and remember, you never know whom you might meet or run into when you least expect it. Also, be sure to send a thank-you note within 24 hours of your meeting.
Positive Self Talk Before Networking
“ I’m a nice person who is going to be accepted into this room.”
“ I’m as good as anyone else here.”
“ Yes, I am a little nervous, but so are most other people.”
“ I’m going to be friendly, courteous and polite; that way people will like me quickly.”
“ I’m going to smile, give good eye contact, shake hands and aim to remember people’s names. This will help me create a good first impression.”
“ When I pretend to act like a host, my confidence is going to build. For example, I’m going to talk to people who I see standing on their own and introduce them to others when it’s time to move on.”
“ It’s a business event, so everyone is here to meet new contacts – including me.”
“ I’m going to spend more time being interested by asking questions rather than talking too much about myself.”
“ I’m going to look positively for potential opportunities and follow them up.”
“ If at the end of the day all else fails, I’m just going to have to fake it ’til I make it!”
“ I’m going to have a good time!”
Six Essential Skills and Traits of Effective Networkers Traits:
How to Excel in Career Fairs and at Canada Job Expo Event(s)
A career fair is an event in which recruiters from many organizations come together in one large room to meet potential interview candidates. Recruiters typically set up tables or booths that display their company information. They stand and speak to interested people throughout the event with the goal of attracting students to their companies and, often, to find new employees. Career fairs are great opportunities to meet employers from a wide range of industries and potentially to obtain interviews with them. If you make a favourable impression, you have the best chance of being invited to interview.
Time spent at career fairs can pay off – it’s your chance to see many career opportunities that are open to you, and you may connect with potential employers who can offer you a job. They also provide an opportunity to practice your interview skills in a less formal environment. Career fairs are usually large events and can be overwhelming if you are not properly prepared. To be successful at a career fair, it’s important to prepare ahead of the event. Find out what companies will be there by checking the hosting organization’s website or looking for printed publications a few days before the fair. Usually a list of companies and a map of their locations will be provided at fairs.
If possible, find someone you know who works at a company you’re interested in; alumni are good resources. At the fair, you can mention the name of your contact to the recruiter, which can help separate you from the rest of the students. Employers expect you to know something about their companies before you talk to them. In addition to visiting company websites, you can use annual reports, press releases and newspaper coverage that can be found in the library or on the Internet. Maximize the brief time you have with recruiters by knowing how your skills and interests match their needs. Become familiar with types of career opportunities available at the companies of greatest interest to you (most company websites have this information) and prepare to sell yourself accordingly. You are the product, and employers are the customer.
Prepare your 30-second self introduction that includes your name, your education and your career interests as they relate to the company. Always come prepared with an example of your skills and experiences.
Schedule a mock interview with an advisor to practice your introduction and to discuss your marketing strategy. Practising will make you more relaxed and confident during the fair. If possible, arrive at a career fair early. Recruiters may have to leave early, and they can be tired and less attentive at the end of a long day. If you’re nervous when you get there, consider approaching a recruiter with a company that is not one of your top choices as practice.
It’s important to plan which company booths you want to target and focus on no more than three to five that are of special interest to you. You can visit more companies if you like, but make sure that your efforts are focused on your top companies first. It is a good idea to have more than one targeted résumé with different career objectives if you are looking at several career options (résumé should be on résumé-quality paper and you should bring at least one copy for each company you plan to visit).
How to Dress for Success First impressions last.
Did you know, within 30 seconds, people judge your economic level, your educational level, your social position, your level of sophistication and your level of success. Within four minutes, they’ve made decisions about your trustworthiness, compassion, reliability, intelligence, capability, humility, friendliness and confidence. Like it or not, it is often that first impression that determines your future – more than your professional achievements or educational credentials.
Make your first impression positive.
First impressions are made with the emotional side of our brains, not the rational, and experience has taught us that our first impressions are usually correct. The process of labeling others helps the world make sense to us, and once we apply a stereotype to someone, our rational brains seek to validate it. Because we don’t want to admit we made a mistake, we cling to our opinions rather than revise them, which means it’s crucial that the first impression you make upon someone is positive.
How can you make a positive first impression?
Determine your audience, identify that audience’s expectations and dress in a way that reflects those expectations.
Four Levels of Dress
Every company varies in its interpretation of workplace dress. Be sure to use these explanations as a guideline and always ask for clarification.
Traditional Business – For men: suit, shirt and tie. For women: matching skirt or pantsuit.
Executive Business Casual – For men and women: defined by the presence of a jacket.
Standard Business Casual – For men and women: defined by a third piece, such as a sweater vest, twinset, tie, scarf or tasteful jewelry.
Basic Business Casual – For men and women: defined as two pieces: top and bottom; a shirt or blouse and pants or skirt.
This should be reserved for when there is no interaction with clients or important events. Business casual does not include jeans.
Wardrobe Principles – These tips will help guide you when you shop for appropriate clothes for interviews and work.
Wear neutral colors and styles
Examples are navy blue, gray, brown, black and tan. Never underdress – It’s better to be
overdressed than underdressed, and it’s better to exceed expectations than to disappoint. Make sure your clothing is a good fit – Avoid jackets and pants that are too large or small.
Hair – For business, hairstyles should be neat and appropriate; nothing extreme or overdone.
Hands/Nails – Well-groomed hands and nails are an important part of your professional image. Nail polish shades should be soft, and polish should never be chipped.
Fragrance – The safest advice for fragrance is not to wear any at all for business. If you do, go very light.
Body – Make sure to be freshly showered/ bathed. Wear clothing that covers tattoos.
Breath – Brush your teeth before the interview. If you use mints or chew gum, make sure they are out of your mouth before you interact with the interviewer.
Shoes – Closed-toe shoes are the most appropriate to wear on an interview and when meeting with clients. Shoes should be clean and shined.
Skirts – Should be knee-length and cover your thighs when you are seated.
Socks – Wear them and make sure they’re in good shape and dark in color.
Shirt – White or light colors are the most appropriate choices.
Tie – Your tie should contrast appropriately with your shirt.
Jewelry – Wear minimal jewelry. Avoid noisy bracelets that can distract the interviewer or
client. Be cognizant of body piercings at all professional interactions.
First impressions are based on instinct, emotion and biases; stereotypes lie at the foundation of first impressions.
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