Digital Dirt


Digital dirt refers to your online presence; what’s on your Facebook page, your LinkedIn profile, your Twitter Feeds, your My Space page etc. Thinking about your own online presence, would it help or hinder your ability to get a job or move ahead in your career?

So imagine yourself going in for an interview, and you’re looking your best. You’ve taken great care to wear nice clean clothes, polish up the shoes, your personal hygiene and grooming are beyond reproach. Why you’re even on time and prepared with your firm handshake, great smile and direct eye contact. As you walk in and sit down, you’re feeling pretty confident about your chances because you know your resume got you this far so your experience and qualifications must have you in the running for the job. All you really need to do is not make any critical mistakes over the next 30 – 60 minutes or less. With me so far?

So as you’re sitting there feeling pretty good about things, the interviewer pulls up one of your personal profiles from off the web. “They can’t do that! That’ not right!” you are perhaps thinking right now as you read this. And why not? The internet is for EVERYBODY, not just you and your friends.
All of a sudden, you might be having serious trepidation and anxiety about exactly what they are looking at behind that screen. They might even turn it so you can look at it as well.

What was hilarious at 2 a.m. on a Thursday morning in front of your best mates is suddenly less than something to be proud of in the cold light of day sitting in a job interview between you and this stranger who has control of whether or not you get this job you want.

One of the things this interviewer is trying to do is to get to know the real you. After all, that’s why they ask the questions they do, such as, “Tell me about yourself.” But every interviewer assumes you are taking great pains to carefully put yourself together as professionally as you can specifically because you and them know you are being sized up. So looking at your on-line or digital presence is a way for them to either confirm the person in front of them is consistent with their behaviour outside the company, or possible at odds with the person sitting in front of them right now.

Whenever I’m talking about this with young people in particular, all kinds of objections are made. Some say that employers shouldn’t be able to see the stuff in the first place. Others will say what they do on their free time outside of work should have nothing to do with their work life. Sorry but those arguments don’t hold up in the real world.

You see if you’ve posted pictures of yourself surrounded by alcohol, semi-clothed, doing drugs or even illegal activities and then throw in the fact that all this went down at 2 a.m. on a Thursday morning, the interviewer can’t help but react to that. First of all how effective would you be coming in to work at 8:00 a.m. that day? How would the reputation of the company be affected if you were hired and customers started to associate this new employee with the guy they see possibly after hours behaving like that? It might be too risky to take a chance on; YOU might be too risky to take a chance on.

Ever noticed how much employers value honesty? You yourself, don’t you value honesty in others when you are dealing with them? Sure you do. We all do. Honesty and being genuine are tied together. If you are genuine, then the person sitting in front of an interviewer will be pretty much like the person on the internet. On the other hand, if the person on the web is greatly different from the person at the interview, the opposites arise…dishonest, less than genuine.

Suppose you wanted to be an elementary school teacher. The school board official is considering putting you in front of and responsible for 24 young impressionable children. While the resume is great, your credentials are unquestioned, there is this video of you in a drinking contest, stumbling around and passing out in your own pile of vomit. It’s totally hilarious to the 15 other people in the video yelling, “Chug! Chug! Chug!” Think you’ll get the job?

Here’s something you may not know. Companies often take the people they are short-listing for interviews and put some of their staff on a digital hunt to see what they uncover. Maybe you’re pretty savvy and you don’t use your real name on your profiles. Could be they access the pages of other people you know and check their photos out to see if you are tagged in them. Then whatever name you use there is searched and you are suddenly revealed.

If you don’t want your potential employer to see something damaging, delete it. Clean up your digital dirt so it doesn’t keep you from promotions, advancing or getting hired in the first place. It’s a simple choice really, you can clean it up now and not worry, or you can hope and pray you are smarter than the people trying to find you and that nothing will ever be found.

Have a look at this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJfw3xt4emY

Want An Interview? Read This


For years now, I’ve been working with clients in my role of an Employment Counsellor. I’ve shared my stories about some of the people I help, perhaps you’ve read the blogs I write and heard the advice I give. You might know how successful I’ve been in helping others reach their independence through employment. One such reader who is responsible for hiring yesterday told me, “I’ve just received and looked through 50 or 60 resumes today and only now I truly appreciate what you’ve been saying. I can’t believe what people send in on their resumes and letters!”

She cited examples of people reducing the font on their resumes because they wanted to get everything on a page but the overall effect forced a person to strain as they read it – that is if they didn’t just toss it aside. Then there were people who had double spaces after each bullet on their resume creating a very long document on multiple pages. There were people who also went to the trouble of increasing the size of the font to a massive size, some who used multiple fonts and one that chose a hard to read font.

But the mistakes went on. Some folks hid their qualifications seemingly on purpose; interspersing the critical job requirements they have throughout from beginning to end, sending the reader on a perverse treasure hunt to locate them. One person actually wrote, “I woke up this morning, saw the ad and thought I might as give it a go”. Well that sounds like someone who really targeted this job as a career move doesn’t it? Oh and there was the person who said they had great attention to detail and misspelled a word in the sentence.

Now lest you think it depends on the job these people were applying for and the relative education level of the people applying, these resumes were sent in response to a Management posting. If these submissions are examples of the very best these people can produce, just imagine the care and detail they’d take on a daily basis working in the job if ultimately hired.

Look, if you are going to apply for a job, submit something that does you credit not harm, and follow some very basic guidelines.

FONT: Ariel font size 12. That’s it people. It’s boring but easy to read. No italics – no not ever. Your only other possible choice is Times New Roman. Why? Applicant Tracking Software reads Ariel. Italics and those cute little boxes some people use don’t get read by the machine. So anything in those boxes or in italics gets skipped and ignored.

QUALIFICATIONS: Look at the job posting. Whatever the employer has listed as essential qualifications should be included in your resume right near the top under a heading ironically called, “Qualifications”. The employer wants to know if you meet their core requirements within the first few lines. If you hide it near the end, they may not get past the first section of your resume to determine this. Make it easy for them.

IT’S NOT ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT: One person wrote in their cover letter that they wanted the job because it’s close to their home. Do they really think the employer is going to invite them in for an interview because that’s their driving force for applying for the job? How about actually referencing the requirements of the job? Newsflash, employer’s don’t really care what you want. They want to know what you can do for them, not what they can do for you. You’re not applying for charity, you are applying to a business, so act like a professional and tell them how you will meet the requirements, how they’ll benefit from having you and most importantly why you are right for the job.

DEMONSTRATE YOUR FIT: You should be able to show how your education and experience together have prepared you for the job at hand. It should not come across like you spotted this ad while eating your breakfast cereal and thought you might as well give it a shot and see what happens. If that’s how you want to go to a yard sale on the weekend fine, but it isn’t how you impress an employer. Tell the employer flat-out that what they need and what you offer match up well.

ASK FOR THE INTERVIEW: Oh my goodness. You start off telling the employer in a letter that you are applying for the job, talk about your skills and experience, and at the end dance all around asking for an interview but never actually come out and request one? Isn’t that the intended purpose of the cover letter and resume submission? Be assertive; “I am requesting an interview to discuss this position in-person with you and/or your hiring team.” That’s not really so hard is it?

GET TO THE POINT: If you have a degree or diploma, put that in your qualifications section near the top of the resume. Sure, go ahead and also add it in the Education section of your resume which is near the end, but in that section you’d add where you got it and other courses etc. you’ve taken.

CONSISTENT FONT: No you shouldn’t have one font for your name, another for headings, another for content and a fourth for dates. You can increase your name and the job you’re after, but keep the rest in size 12 as mentioned.

Let’s get it together people.

Why The Word, ‘Passion’ Is In


Look at any on-line or on the wall job board these days and you’ll see the word, ‘passion’ or ‘passionate’ in many of those postings. Why is that and what’s really being sought by the employer? How passionate can a person be after all about selling socks or working on a line?

There are a number of ways to look at this. First of all there are many people looking for work today, and it’s a fairly known thing that few people stick with companies for decades anymore. When someone in their 20’s takes a job and launches their career, neither the employer nor the employee themselves plan on the person staying until they retire. The employer wants to ensure however, that the people who do work on their behalf work with enthusiasm and commitment while there to ensure the success and longevity of the company.

That doesn’t come as a surprise does it? I mean if you started up a business yourself, you’d have a tremendous investment of money and your future prosperity locked up in that enterprise. So don’t you want people who you hire to be strongly committed to making the business successful? If the people you hire are truly motivated themselves to succeed, the business has a high probability of being profitable and standing the test of time. On the other hand, if employees view their work as a job until something better comes along, they are less likely to put forth the extra effort that being outstanding requires.

Employers want to attract people who are enthusiastic about the work they’ll perform. Enthusiasm and passion come from wanting to perform at a peak level. If you can demonstrate some of that passion in an application and subsequent interview, you’re off to a good start. But how to demonstrate passion?

For starters, look and sound engaged and glad to talk about the work you’ll be doing. You know how all you have to do with someone in the early days of a relationship is mention the name of the person they are smitten with to get a dreamy look or a smile? It’s like that; the person’s body language changes instantly at the name because there is an emotional response. When you are talking about an opportunity before you, do likewise. Sit slightly forward in the chair, smile, vary the pitch and tone of your voice, emphasize or stress certain words in your speech. In short, sound enthusiastic when you talk.

Be cautioned however. Can you generally tell when someone you are speaking to is phony or over the top? Think of those infomercials on television where someone is absolutely bonkers over their plastic food containers instead of struggling with their old rolls of wrapping paper. Really? Does anyone really get that happy about leftover plastic containers? Those are actors who we tend to laugh at more than identify with. That’s not genuine passion. If you act excited about jobs you really don’t have an emotional investment in, people will see through you too.

Emotionally invested…hmmm… might be on to something here… So suppose you got to the interview and in wrapping things up you got that tired old question, “Why should I hire you over the other people we are interviewing?” Now further suppose you answered, “I stand out because I’m emotionally invested in the success of the business. While others might be looking for A job, I’m not; I want THIS job. This job is a good fit because I’m committed and personally motivated to succeed, and the opportunity to work with others who have a similar passion for this work is exciting.”

If this sounds crazy to you and phony, then the job you are going for isn’t the ideal one for you at this time. That’s just my opinion mind, but again, if you put yourself in the position of an employer, you want people who are truly committed to perform at their best – especially when they work without being supervised. People who are genuinely enthusiastic about their work require less supervision because they regulate themselves and excel because they enjoy what they do.

This win-win situation benefits both the employer and the employee. Ultimately, if the company succeeds and you are part of that success, your chances of reaping some of those rewards increases. Many companies, (though not all) who either fail completely or have to down-size, have an employee force that see their work as just a job; no more or less important than another job.

Here’s a little nugget for you; there is an endless supply of people who can competently do the same work you are capable of, but there are only a small number of people who are genuinely passionate and invested about doing the same work. So replacing people is easy on the one hand when an employer needs to. On the other hand, finding exceptional people who will find fulfillment and dive into their work with enthusiasm is much more challenging.

Do you wish you could stand out from the crowd and truly grow with a company? Good advice therefore would be to prove your self-motivation for the work to be done, exhibit some enthusiasm and passion, and tie your future success to effort you put forth each and every day. Your passion will make you both memorable and valuable.

Passion never goes out of fashion.

And Then I Told Her To Put Her Career On Hold


Yesterday I met with a woman following a two-week intensive job search with her. During that time I determined what she wanted, which is this case was a career as a Librarian Technician, Librarian Assistant, Information Specialist, Social Media Mentor, Information Researcher or Archivist.

Now with the exception of Social Media Mentor, she has recent education to support her career goal which would be working in the library system, but not in the role of a Librarian as that would require additional education. So you may find it curious then that I told her near the end of our conversation that in my opinion, she should delay going after her career goal which at this time she is likely to fail miserably at. Ouch! And I did use those words. You would have to be there of course to understand why I’d choose to use those words, but in the end, as an Employment Counsellor, they are the ones which I felt she needed most to hear.

You see at the moment, other events in her life are taking priority. One of the biggest of these is a prolonged effort to regain having her children which in the past were removed by a social services agency. She’s been working hard, (to her credit) to demonstrate to the agency that she is a fit parent, taking classes in good parenting, anger management and has been regularly meeting her children both on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Those are now two days a week when she puts visiting with them above working and all else.

So right off the bat, she essentially is saying to an employer that she wants to work, but isn’t available on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Now in addition to the above, she’s taken on some individual tutoring and has a few clients of her own which bring in some cash each month, but only a couple of hundred dollars. And then there are other things going on like an entire lack of family support and few friends upon which to gain any kind of emotional support.

Now the number of careers out there doing what she wants are few and far between. There just aren’t that many institutions and most aren’t hiring. She’s also limited by the geography in which she is willing to travel to again primarily due to the restrictions on seeing her children. So in essence, she wants a career in a field where jobs are few, is limiting herself in both the area she can work in and the days she can work, and is closed to considering employment outside her field.

This last point is interesting. I suggested to her strongly that at the moment, she would be wise to go after a job with a large retail chain that sells books and magazines. I pointed out that she’d get current experience on her resume to fill a void, be surrounded by books, use cataloging skills and research skills to find the right ones for people, and in so doing also have to learn their computerized database, another transferable skill. She dismissed this job before I’d even stopped talking – and that is something that always tells me the other person isn’t even listening.

Her point of few is that a job in retail is a failure. Apparently any job doing anything other than what she went to school for is a failure; utter and absolute with no middle ground. My argument was that in addition to the benefits I’d pointed out, a retailer might be more open to working around someone’s schedule, especially in the case of a part-time employee, than a Library where there were fewer employees and the position would be full-time.

It took a lot of doing, but eventually I may have got through when I pointed out that if the job at a national bookstore chain didn’t work out and she quit or was let go, that reputation wouldn’t likely follow her in her career. However, get fired for poor attendance and an inability to focus entirely while at work on the job in her career role, and that reputation could follow her and hamper other positions because the field is small, and those that hire network as a tight group.

I found it disturbing too as I mentioned that sees any work on the planet other than in those few positions listed earlier an utter failure. Can you imagine the self-pressure she’s put herself under than to see herself as a success? It’s like a scale from 1 – 100 where 100 is her career job, and 1 – 99 is a total failure. There is no room for any progression. You fail or you win. Period. I think many of us would have low self-esteem with such self-pressure to succeed under such self-imposed limitations.

And so, I told her in my opinion to put her career on hold and sort out the other priorities she has first so she can focus 100% on an employer’s needs in the future. In the meantime get a job; hopefully one with some transferable skills that she could use in the future at the interview for the career of her dreams.

Sometimes, the best advice; the words you need to hear, are words that might be the hardest to hear and the hardest to swallow. It’s not fun to tell someone they are their biggest barrier to employment, but is always helpful to be honest.

Using Your LinkedIn Network


Only because my reading audience extends beyond LinkedIn, let me first inform you if you don’t already know, that LinkedIn is a social media platform. On it, people post their professional profile, network with others, and explore job postings, post jobs, discuss issues pertinent to groups they are involved in and brand themselves.

Now just as Facebook has friends and Twitter has followers, LinkedIn has contacts; and it’s these contacts that I want to speak about today. Or rather, I want to know what if anything you are doing with your contacts.

After you create your profile, one of the key steps is start building your network. Many people will start with people they know; co-workers, people they regularly speak with in other organizations, professional contacts they do business with. Then at some point, you might decide to expand your network and try to connect with people who have similar job titles to your own in other towns, cities, provinces, states or countries.

This last part puzzles some people. After all why what might you have to gain by connecting with someone who does something similar to you half way ’round the world? In reality what you get out of such a relationship would largely depend on what your goal is and how much you take responsibility for initiating and nurturing the relationship. Doesn’t that sound like it’s true whether you are talking about someone around the world or just down the block?

Now me personally, I’ve found that I’ve had conversations with people; each conversation with a varying purpose than others from a number of perspectives. Sometimes people approach me and ask me to look over their resume. Other times they want to ask what I think of their profile, or to ask me something about how to get into the field of Social Services in general or become an Employment Counsellor specifically. Not as often, people reach out to me and ask me if they can be of some help in some way to me.

The question as to ‘why’ to network in the first place really comes down to what would you like to know or contribute. ‘Getting’ and ‘giving’ in the best of relationships is a two-way thing where you’re contributing as much as you are taking. Oh sure there will be people on LinkedIn who are in it only for themselves and what they can get out of others, but isn’t that true of people everywhere? The way I see it, I’ve got a career that makes me very happy and provides a lot of satisfaction. If I can therefore help out others and they don’t offer anything in return, that’s just my way of giving back.

The opportunity to help other people sometimes comes when people knock on your door to collect bottles for fundraisers (a local hockey team did this at my home on Saturday), or a youth organization gives you an apple for a financial donation, or possibly donating used clothing to a non-profit group. But it can also come in the form of donating your knowledge, your expertise, your experience in a mentoring capacity.

In addition to this, you might be after a new job. Once you’ve identified the company you are interested in working for, you might want to look up people via LinkedIn who work there now. Checking out their profiles could be a tremendous advantage for you in getting to know what people actually do there, what their backgrounds are including education, skills, causes they support etc. By reaching out to some of these people, you might find someone who would be willing to speak with you about the opportunity you want; how it came about, and what qualities not on the posting might be best to put forward.

Then there are discussion groups. Discussion groups are numerous and can focus on a specific group of people such as resume writers, or can be broad in scope such as people talking about professional development. You can search groups to find others with similar interests to your own and join a group, or you can initiate a group on your own and define the participation guidelines. Once you are in a group, your involvement could be only to read the thoughts of others or it could be to contribute on a regular basis to discussions, or anything in between.

When you do speak with others around the globe, you get perspectives and outlooks on topics that might alter or support your own point of view. You might find a best practice in the field you work in being done in England and you decide to try it out in Peru. You could be going about your business in Papua New Guinea and want to respond to a request for help from someone living in Iceland.

So how do you – YES YOU – utilize your contacts? Maybe you connect with people and never actually exchange emails or message each other at all. By sharing how you use your network and how you contribute to it, you can spur others to action who are perhaps very interested in actively engaging with others but don’t know where to start.

So what I’m asking you readers to do is take a moment or two and share what your experience has been in working with your connections on LinkedIn. It would be most appreciated I’m sure.

Pessimism


“Beautiful day today isn’t it?”
“Yeah but their calling for rain later this week.”
“Heard you got a new car. That must be nice.”
“Not as nice as you’d think, now I’ve got monthly payments to make.”

Can you spot the negativity in the conversation between two people above? Do you know anyone who strikes you as a generally pessimistic or negative person? You know, someone who can always find the downside of situations or warn of impending doom to come? I’m willing to bet that you know or have known at least one if not a few people who too easily could be described as pessimistic.

While everyone is entitled to their opinion, it can be disheartening and discouraging to have to work with a pessimistic person on a regular basis. Sometimes it can even feel like that person is pulling a project in the wrong direction or hoping it will fail somehow just to justify their low expectations. For the rest of the people who are banking on success and optimistic as they go about their work, this kind of person can be anything from mildly annoying to openly hostile.

Now here’s a question for you to ponder. Do you yourself come across to others as being a pessimist, either in specific situations or perhaps in general? If the answer to that question is yes, do you enjoy that role? What if anything do you derive from being a pessimist and how do your co-workers interact with you? And finally, you’ve got to ask yourself if you want to continue to be pessimistic or whether you’d rather come across as optimistic as you go about your work and interacting with others.

Being pessimistic means you’ve got this gloomy outlook; you expect things to fail. I’ve heard people say that by having low expectations and expecting failure all the time, you can only be pleasantly surprised if things turn out good, but if they fail, you expected it and aren’t disappointed. In my opinion, that’s a sad and very unhealthy attitude.

Make no mistake about it, you could find that this kind of prevalent attitude can be a career killer, or at least limit your opportunities; opportunities you may one day dearly wish you could take advantage of. In other words, it’s in your own best interests NOT to be a pessimist, aside from the general climate you create for others working with you.

People in upper management often have to share their visions for the organization, establish goals to be aimed at, develop mission statements and come up with values that the company strives to live up to. In order to do this overall, these become guiding principles that drive day-to-day actions from employees. Get everyone on board pulling in the same direction and the customer or client experience starts to then view the company in a homogenous way and the branding experience is consistent.

If on the other hand you were to go about your work with low expectations, interacting with customers and clients expecting things to fail etc., you’d likely be creating doubt in their minds about their own association with your organization, and they may seek out partnerships and investments with others who are generally more positive and optimistic about the future.

Now don’t misconstrue a pessimist with a realist. A realist generally looks at things factually. String together a series of facts and the outcome is predictable as they view it. That outcome may be positive or not, but they see outcomes based on the facts as they come to be known. So their expectation of what the weather will be for the company picnic this coming weekend is based on weather forecasts from trusted and informed sources. If it doesn’t look good to them, they base that view on the best information they can gather. The pessimist anticipates poor weather without really checking, or may expect rain even when forecasts don’t call for it.

The optimist view of the above scenario would be to hope for the best even if a forecast calls for rain, but it doesn’t mean they show up without taking precautions like bringing umbrella’s or arranging alternative sheltered locations just in case. You can still be optimistic but intelligent after all.

If you have aspirations of supervising people one day, know that most companies will steer clear of placing pessimistic people in positions of influence and leadership. Who wants to work for the gloomy boss who expects the worst all the time and goes about their job everyday with that outlook?

The most important thing to realize is that you have the ability to choose how you come across to others. It’s up to you what words leave your mouth, what facial expressions you put out to the world, what comments you write when asked for your input.

It costs so little to be more optimistic when the returns can be so enormous. Smile a little more, if you’ve nothing but bad things to contribute bite your tongue. You can still be cautious and point out things to be wary of without predicting doom and gloom consistently. You may find a change not only in your own outlook on things but, also a change in who you attract in those around you.

And by chance you’ve had this put before you by persons unknown, it’s possible someone is hopeful you’ll consider a change.

Your Resume; Too Early To Think About 2015?


As it’s now the mid-point of October, the calendar will roll into 2015 in 2 1/2 months. Now is the time to start thinking therefore about the connection between that event and your resume.

So why now you ask? Well if you are unemployed at the moment, or your hopes of landing a job different from the one you have at present haven’t been yet fulfilled, it could be that your resume isn’t as strong as it could be. One of the reasons might be a lack of current training, experience that’s too far in the past, and even a lack of references. In short, you need to do something about these situations instead of just putting the same resume with the same issues in front of different employers and hoping.

Those 2 1/2 months are going to come and go pretty quickly; you have a chance at the moment to look into upgrading some of your current skills therefore, or acquiring new ones. Whether it’s a night course at a College or Adult Education Centre, returning to school part-time or full-time, or even taking short-term courses like First Aid training, you should look into these things now.

Okay for starters, let’s say you’re only interested in taking a WHMIS class, a First Aid and CPR course or getting your SMARTSERVE certification (responsible alcohol service). If you look into those courses now, you might find places running those programs within a month or two, and you can update your resume before the end of the year. This gives you the chance to hit 2015 with valid, current certification on resume; ahead of others who are waiting to start fresh in the new year.

On the other hand, suppose it’s a return to school you are considering, possibly including night classes, part-time or full-time. If you wait until January to look into these things, you might find courses started in January and you missed the chance. Now you might have to wait until late Spring or early Summer admissions open up. Many orientations and admissions are going on now or have in fact already been done and you might already be too late. Surprised? Don’t be. Those institutions plan things in advance, need to get people registered, hire the teaching faculty, give administration time to hand out funding applications, review the applications they receive and notify students.

The goal here is simple and straight forward; you want a stronger resume as soon as possible in 2015 that demonstrates to an employer you’ve got recent and current academic experience. Why then wait for 2015 to be here before you look into upgrading which could take a big chunk of the year before you can say you’ve successfully passed a class? Don’t think it too much of a stretch to get in a class now and not even complete it until 2016 or 2017 depending on the course and how many classes you can handle at once. Yep, act now and you might have a good resume for the year 2017!

But what if a return to school isn’t in your plans? Could be that what you lack is experience. Your faced with that problem of not getting hired because you lack experience but you lack experience because no one will hire you. That’s not a new problem; people long before now have faced and overcome this problem.

A couple of suggestions to get experience on your resume quickly come to mind. First and foremost, volunteer your time with a non-profit organization. While it might be best to volunteer doing something exactly like the job you are looking for eventually, it can also be rewarding to volunteer with an organization who has a good reputation and is supported by the company or companies you wish to eventually apply to. If you can demonstrate that the skills you acquired in your volunteer position are transferable to the job you eventually want to apply to, this can help you feel your time isn’t being wasted, and it will strengthen both your resume and those previously tough interview questions.

The second suggestion is to take what one of my colleagues calls a, ‘survival job’. This would be short-term work outside your desired field that puts the present on your resume, raises your self-esteem, gives you some pocket-money, and strengthens the resume. Survival jobs could be taking a seasonal retail job in the mall when your long-term goal is actually working as an Addictions Counsellor. Maybe you see your future behind the wheels of an 18 wheeler, but for now you apply to work in a factory producing nuts and bolts.

These two suggestions; volunteering and a survival job, put 2014 on your resume, and if you are still there as the calendar rolls over, in January you have 2015 on your resume when others won’t have that luxury. That could be your edge in 2 1/2 months time over others. Employers like applicants with recent training, work history, education and experience. This demonstrates to them that you are used to routines, are dependable, and ‘work ready’.

So visit a school on-line or in person, meet a Guidance Counsellor for advice. Look into volunteering in your neighbourhood and offer your time. Contact a First Aid provider and get certified as a responder because that can be useful anywhere. Do any of the above or some other upgrading but do something and get going on it now!

Did I mention that now is the time to get going?