Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Secret Is Out!

Having trouble finding a job? Don’t know where to look?  How about trying the hidden market? Yes, that’s right, the HIDDEN job market. I never said getting a job would be easy…

The biggest job search secret is that 80% of jobs are never posted. Why? Well, job postings take time and cost money that employers do not have. If there is an open position, employers will do anything they can to hire internally, leaving students and new graduates with the leftover scraps. Job listings are a last resort for employers, but usually are the first place we all look when we see our bank accounts plummeting. So why start your search where the big guys are finishing?

The first thing you can do to get over this obstacle is not get discouraged. The stat that 20% of jobs are all you see when you do a search can be intimidating. There is a way around it. It just takes a little more work.

Remember networking? This would be a good time to put it into practice. Get in contact with your connections and start gathering information about who is hiring. Employed people know about internal positions, so talk amongst your friends and former employers for a referral. Go to events and meet new people - you never know who you will bump into. The job of your dreams could be one conversation away.

Setting up information interviews with employers you want to work for is also a great way to get your foot in the door. If it goes well, maybe they'll remember your name for their next open position. I would also suggest checking out business directories and professional associations for connections.

Career Services has tons of information on the hidden job market including directories, books and a workshop on “Job Search Strategies” to help you reach your specific career goals. So be smart, and start your next job search by looking where no one else is. View a CBS interview with Ellen Reeves, author of "Can I Wear My Nose Ring to the Interview?" here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Entry Level Job Search

Fold the newspaper back up! The most popular resources I tell people about are networking, Talent Egg and Eluta. Although the latter two are online resources I find them very helpful to give someone a jump start to their job search. And the bonus…it’s all Canadian!
Talent Egg provides students with career planning resources and a variety of job opportunities (internships, summer jobs, entry level positions) in Canada. Founder Lauren Friese has an ambition to bring employers closer to Generation Y and began a blog this year which allows students to voice their opinions to employers concerning the job search process and vice versa. Working out of an egg carton in Toronto, this team makes the job search process easier for everyone. Now students can enjoy a trendy resource and employers can find Canada’s best students faster.
Eluta is an online Canadian career directory. If you’re unsure of what to look for in a job post this is a great place to start. Eluta has done the work for you and provides information based on the benefits, starting salary, programs, vacation etc. that the company offers new employees. Keep in mind this website is for a wide range audience so unlike Talent Egg, some postings may read that awful “3-5 years experience required” statement. Search effectively by your associated category: ‘New Grads’, 'Under 35', ‘Top Employers’ and more.

Although I believe networking is and will always remain the strongest form of job search strategies, these websites are a great way to get a taste of entry-level job searching. Be careful when you’re using social networks and be sure to have a professional online presence – you never know who’s watching! Now that I've warned you... both Talent Egg and Eluta’s twitter accounts are always bursting with job postings and career advice. Start clicking!


Samantha Del Duca

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Does Who You Know, Know You?

Everyone has heard the saying, “It’s all about who you know.” In the world of social media, it is becoming increasingly easy to network with major industry professionals at the click of a mouse. The saying still holds true, however, it is still difficult to get that exclusive job interview without doing research and meeting new people. The good news is that networking is your best bet to getting your foot in the door.

Networking is extremely easy and can happen without you even realizing it! It’s like a party where everyone gets to mingle and sell themselves. Unless you are a hermit living under a rock, chances are you know other people, and it is this web of connections and knowledge that is the key to successful networking and finding that all important job.

Here at Career Services, we strive to give Brock students an advantage when it comes to meeting industry professionals in your field. A great way to network would be to attend our annual Career & Post-Graduate Expo in November where over 100 educational institutions, non-profit organizations and employers come on-campus to recruit the best and brightest Brock has to offer. This is a great opportunity for everyone to see who is hiring and get insider information regarding what to expect in the workplace and how to apply.

Information Interviews are also a great way to meet people doing what you want to do and get the info you need to get there. An information interview is like a regular interview; the only difference is that you are the one asking the questions. It is not uncommon for unclaimed internal positions to be advertised and offered to outsiders who have shown interest, so keep that in mind!

Career Services also holds Employer Showcases and Information Sessions throughout the year that gives students a chance to talk to representatives one-on-one about the benefits of working for them. Make sure to check the Career Services events widget for when an employer will be on campus.

For more information on networking, check out this article on, “How to Mingle with Strangers at Parties”.
Happy networking!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Applying to 'The Real World'

Welcome to 'the real world'...It sucks doesn’t it. Don’t let the unknown scare you off into another year of unnecessary school, tuition and debt though. You’re going to have to make the leap eventually, so why not do it now. If you’re not sure how to choose one position over another here’s a few things to consider which will help you decide if the job is right for you.

Benefits - If you’re looking for a job with benefits you can’t be picky. Since the economy took a hit it’s rare to find an astonishing health plan, retirement or vacation package like companies offered in the past.

Further Education Assistance - Do they offer to support you through additional courses? If you are looking to advance within a company this can be of great value.

Location - Do you want something close to home and cut transportation costs or do you want to travel within the city/country/internationally?

Parking and/or Transportation Cost - Do they own a parking lot? If not, are you reimbursed for parking fees or a public transportation pass?

Work Hours/EnvironmentIs it a 9-5 weekday job or shift work? Are you willing to work longer hours if your environment is appealing to you?

Salary - Do the work hours balance with payment? Or will you be stuck at work late only to come home and eat Kraft Dinner leftovers. Make an Excel sheet for cost of living and decide if it’s doable.

Retirement Plan Options - Will you be able to save for your retirement and escape to Florida, or are you going to end up in your child’s basement?

These are just a few things for you to think about while considering applying for a position. Sometimes if you don’t know exactly what you want to do, it’s easier to choose where you can see yourself living for the next 5 years. If you love Toronto-life then you probably already know you’ll need a Metro pass and a decent salary to afford your $800/month rent. It’s like filling out a crossword. Once you have a few answers, the rest comes easily!

Don’t forget to read between the lines, research the company and when you get there, ask questions at the interview.

Good luck!
Samantha Del Duca

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Black Binder

Remember all of those awards and certificates you've been given that were proudly stuck to the fridge, acted as a coffee coaster and then crumpled and kicked under the bed? Go find them now because they're actually valuable to your future! All this talk about 'the black binder' is finally explained in more detail right here so pay attention!

The black binder I speak of is also known as... *drum roll please* ...your professional portfolio. This is the binder you will bring to job interviews, networking events, performance evaluations or used to apply to graduate school. This binder is gold! It will contain all the documents you need to prove your accomplishments to an employer. The idea of organizing and documenting your career accomplishments may make your eyes cross but this will benefit you! A portfolio is a collection of organized documents you'll have for the rest of your life that you can continuously update. It also displays your personal/career development to an employer or academic institution.

Attention 1st grade Spelling-B can keep that award on the fridge. Things to include in your portfolio are as follows:
  • Applications - personal statement, resume, CV, reference letters
  • Educational achievements - diploma, course descriptions, academic transcript
  • Career progression - job descriptions, reports, memberships, evaluations
  • Workshop development - attended speaker series, seminars, conventions
  • Community involvement - recorded volunteer hours, ribbons, photos
  • Examples of your work – graphic design, lab results, essays, newspaper clippings etc.

And if you're a
Brock University student you can also add your Experience Plus transcript! This official transcript is a great addition because it shows a balance between your involvement in non-academic activities at Brock. 
No matter what your major is, the Career Resource Centre has numerous examples of how your professional portfolio can look. We also have an online Portfolio Development workshop and  a facilitated Portfolio Production workshop to help you build a unique portfolio of your own. Make sure to stop in and talk to a Career Assistant about showcasing your career achievements in a way that makes you stand out from the crowd!

1st Place Colouring Contest Winner,
Samantha Del Duca

Thursday, June 23, 2011

References: It's All About You

After you blow the competition out of the water with your top-notch interview skills you will be asked to provide references. You should have this prepared before you attend the interview and kept in that special black binder we talked about.

The reference sheet you give to your potential employer should contain three past or present contacts that can provide a review on your professional, academic and/or personal behaviour. No, your mom cannot vouch for you this time sweetie-pie. A family member is not an acceptable referral considering the obvious bias. That being said, choose your contacts wisely. Approach networks that can share positive feedback about your skills and work performance to an employer. And don't forget to ask them first! Sounds silly, but there have been times when employers can't reach your references because they've changed jobs or they're totally oblivious to the situation which just makes you look bad.

After you've asked permission, obtain your reference's information: name/title, address, phone/email and list your relationship to them: professional, academic or personal. Make sure your information is at the top of the page so the reader knows who's contacts these are!

Lastly, provide your references with a copy of the job description you've applied to (because you're smart and saved it) and ensure that they are aware of when, why and who will be connecting with them. Stay in contact with your references and inform them of your progress. Then, after the process is complete, send them a thank you! They've probably done some first-class bragging for you and at least deserve a card. (Don't forget to thank your employer for the interview too!)

Our Resource Centre has print samples of Reference Sheet formatting and content. There's some neat books with pretty covers too!

Note: If you are writing a curriculum vitae, your references must be included on your application prior to an interview.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mind Your P's and Q's!

Professional Etiquette

It’s not enough to remember please and thank you anymore. Employers and business professionals need you to know how to act professionally in a variety of settings, all while impressing their clients. This also applies to job interviews, so it’s vitally important to brush up on your professional etiquette before that all-important meeting.

There are so many things to keep in mind, ranging from how to meet and greet people, the proper way to dine and how to behave in an elevator. It can all be very overwhelming, especially when you are trying to make a lasting first impression.

For more information on professional etiquette, I suggest looking at the Brock University Faculty of Business website as they give specific details on the do’s and don’ts of professional etiquette. If you are a business major, the Business Career Development Office (BCDO) holds an Etiquette Dinner in partnership with CMA Ontario during the winter semester which is a facilitated workshop during a three course meal. If you’re just looking for some tips on interview preparation we have plenty of information online and in the Resource Centre for you!

Best of luck!

I think you misinterpreted the tone of my email.

Don't Sweat It: Interview Prep

Alright, it’s your turn to sit in the hot seat! Be confident and knowledgeable in the position you are applying for. Easy right? Actually, there’s a lot more to it than that. Preparing for an interview involves research and lots of practice. The following is a check-list for you to complete before attending the interview that will guarantee you no butterflies, no fidgeting and no sweat!

5. Read this!
We have a copy in
the Resource Centre
1. Self Assessment: Type Focus
 - Knowing yourself can help you make more effective decisions & be more confident in your answers

2. Research the company and the position you’ve applied to
- Show that you are committed to the relationship

3. Prepare three well-thought questions to ask the employer
- It’s like the unwritten code - do not go empty handed!

4. Retail Therapy! Let your credit card swipe your nerves away
- Dress to impress with professional business attire
- Use a black binder to hold your application, portfolio and notepad for reference

For tips to use during an interview check back here July 11-15 for a break down of the interview process. In the mean-time, complete our online workshop for more tips on preparing. Once you’re ready, use Interview Stream for access to practice questions and video yourself to review verbal and body language. And don’t forget, you’re always welcome to email, message, comment, tweet or visit us with your questions!

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Samantha Del Duca

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Your First Impression - In Ink

OK, you've prepared your resume; it’s perfect.
You are the ideal candidate every boss has been hoping for!
You swing from link to link through the jungle they call a job board and wonder when you can rest. Don’t give up yet! In the distance you see a landing (and according to your resume, you have the qualifications to make the leap). Your hands release the vine and you swoop through the air. In the midst of your glory you come to realize you've forgotten something…
Oh no! The landing seems to be separating itself from you. As you whirl to the depths of the jungle, head first toward the mouth of a hungry hippo, you realize you forgot a cover letter.
    The jungle swallows you whole
    The End.

OK it’s not that dramatic, but close!

Although a resume is a key component to your application, a cover letter can/should make a great impression. It’s your chance to introduce yourself, discuss specific opportunities you’ve had in previous employment and explain how you are the most awesome candidate for the job(professionally of course).

Always always always write a customized cover letter for each employer! Unless you are applying to 10 retail stores it is very noticeable when you’ve written a general letter. It just says ‘I need a job but I’m too lazy to actually dedicate time to personalize your first impression of me’. Weird right?

I will also recommend doing some ‘creeping’ on the company/organization you’re applying to. Get into the nitty gritty of who they are and what they stand for so you can tell them why you’d be a great fit! Tim Horton’s doesn’t need to know you love their Ice Caps and want a discount. They want to know you believe Timmy’s has been a valuable Canadian symbol since 1964 and you are proud to serve your country – or something like that.

If you’re totally lost, hate writing about yourself or don’t know how to start, do our online workshop or drop into the Resource Centre where the kings & queens of the jungle can review your application.

Later alligator!
Samantha Del Duca

Monday, June 20, 2011

Resume versus Curriculum Vitae

What’s the Difference?

A Curriculum Vitae, or CV, is often confused with a resume, which makes sense when certain countries use both terms interchangeably. Here in Canada, however, there are significant differences between the two, and it is important to know when to use the correct document.

Generally speaking, the resume is used when applying for various employment opportunities in the private or public sector. CV’s are reserved for applying to post graduate programs and academic teaching/research positions. A resume is strictly 2 pages max, focusing on your previous/current work & volunteer experiences. The skills you’ve developed and areas of specialization are important to highlight. A CV may include some of the above, but attention is given to: academic accomplishments, publications and presentations, teaching and research experience, awards and grants etc. CV's also typically include at least 3 references, whereas the resume does not include references.The goal of the CV is to present a full history of your academic credentials that can read from 3 to 10+ pages.

So when in doubt, always provide a resume to an employer unless specifically requested. For more information on resumes/CV’s or to have yours reviewed, visit our Career Resource Centre!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Hello! from YouTube

This is our first vlog... by the end of the summer we're gonna be superstars.
Don't be afraid to ask questions or leave comments on our YouTube channel, this blog or Jack McIsaac's facebook/twitter. We're always here to help!
Stay tuned because we have some fun videos on the way that will help you with your job search and make you laugh at our expense.

Allow Us to Introduce Ourselves

I’m SamanthaCareer Services’ Social Media & Senior Career Assistant.

Throughout the summer, I will be writing the Career Services' blog, managing Jack McIsaac’s social media sites, as well as assisting students in the Resource Centre.

I am a recent Visual Arts and Interactive Arts & Science graduate at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario.

I’ve had the greatest opportunity to work at Career Services (CS) for the past 2 years as a Career Assistant specializing in Promos/Communications. After backpacking Europe for the month of May, I'm grateful to be back at CS for another productive summer!

I’m Rachel, Career Services’ Public Relations and Employer Development Assistant.

This summer I will be contributing to the blog and organizing the Career and Post-Graduate Expo event coming up this November 2011.

I graduated from Brock University in 2010 with a degree in Pop Culture and obtained a graduate certificate in Public Relations at Niagara College in 2011.

I worked as a Career Assistant with Samantha in 2009-2010, returned as a PR intern and am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to stay at CS this summer with this fantastic team.


Thanks for reading! We're looking forward to sharing all our job search tips with you!