Job Searching And Job Websites


Times have changed significantly when it comes to looking for a job with the introduction and permanence of technology. Yet, I would argue that technology alone isn’t responsible for making the job search more confused than ever. If you take the increasingly variety of jobs and the many job titles that exist out there for essentially the same work, it can be overwhelming for some.

Get a few people together who are looking for work and you’ll find no doubt among those assembled at least one person who knows exactly what they’re looking for. They’ve got that title down; a Waitress for example. Of the others, you may have some looking for 2 or more specific jobs; an AZ Truck Driver or a Courier. These two are related and have transferable skills but remain two distinctly different jobs. Then there are those who are looking for employment but who have yet to come to a specific job. These people might name as many as 4 or 5 possible jobs, or worse yet, say they are looking for…”anything.”

Now, for those who know exactly what they are after, search engines on the internet work well. Enter the job title you’re after and the city you wish to search in and you’ll get results for that title in your city and perhaps the surrounding 25 km or so area nearby. It’s quick and easy.

Now for the others; those without that single title to guide them, it becomes a little more challenging and frustrating. Sometimes you can opt to enter the name of the city you want to work in and leave the job title or keyword section blank of course. This will upon searching, produce results for all the jobs in that area. Now many of those you’ll not be qualified to do or even remotely interested in either. The one advantage however is that you’ll get advised of jobs that might interest you, but for which you might have missed had you put in a single job title or keyword.

Take the Waitress. In addition to searching for waitress, other titles that might crop up are Server, Food and Beverage Server, Hostess, Host, Attendant. Back in the 80’s the terms Waitperson and Waitron were floated but these never really caught on.  So maybe the clever job seeker starts searching for food service instead; attempting to capture all the possible job titles. This can have unintended consequences too; returning delivery drivers for fast food outlets, catering positions and even the job providing beverages on local golf courses scooting around in a modified golf cart. Yeah that might not be what you had in mind. Then again…

That’s where we’ve evolved to at the moment though with job searching. You not only need to have computer basics down to job search and then apply online, you have to have the patience and tenacity to job search using your mind to play detective and get into what the employer might have thought when they came up with the title of the job.

Some organizations these days actually have bizarre and attention-grabbing titles for their staff, even though the work itself is identical to that performed in other organizations. There is a real job out there now for, “Minister of Talent” which as it turns out is the head of Human Resources. Or how about, “Senior Magician of Intellect”. Would you guess this job is Vice-President of Innovation  and Design?

Not only are these creative and somewhat playful titles confusing for those not in the know, but when the time comes for those holding them to job search in the future, what will their resumes look like when they put these titles down themselves? Whimsical, fun perhaps, but perhaps not best suited if you apply to traditional organizations with, “work inside the box” thinking.

I can tell you that as an Employment Counsellor, I often track down jobs for the unemployed people I work with who while job searching themselves, miss such jobs. How is then that I can find what they cannot? Some job seekers believe that Employment Counsellors, Job Coaches, Career Advisors etc. all seem to have access to these hidden job sites where the jobs are found. In truth, we all have access to the same internet and the same job sites. The difference must therefore be in how we search which in turn lands what we find.

Sometimes I’ll intentionally leave a title field blank. The return is a buckshot of all the jobs in an area. Sometimes I’ll narrow the search not only by city but narrow down the geographic surrounding area to include the city only, not the neighbouring 10 km’s or more. Searching by type of job – contract, part-time, full-time etc. or by seniority level is good too. After all, why frustrate an entry-level job seeker with senior-level positions or vice versa?

Now you can approach a Head-Hunter or Recruiter these days and let them match you up with employment. This can be beneficial or not depending on the person’s connections. Many people are in this game with no more qualifications than the job-seekers themselves. Tough market conditions always bring out some people scrambling to do what they aren’t entirely qualified for.

Job searching is easier if you have a good idea what you’re after and you’ve got the technological skills to navigate job search websites. Good luck out there in your job search.

Share A Favourite Online Resource


The internet is full of YouTube video’s, TedTalks, famous quotes, personal blogs, satirical cartoons, animated shorts, etc. And themes? Think and search for a theme and you’re highly likely to come across all kinds of resources on that subject. So, what single online resource is your personal favourite and why?

Perhaps you favour an inspirational video showcasing someone who has and continues to overcome tremendous personal challenges. Is it a funny clip that brings more than just a smile to your face no matter how many times you see it? Conversely, is it a real tear-jerker; one that has you getting the tissues ready now before you dare watch it for the 50th time?

It would be valuable to know in addition to why you love it so, how you make use of this item. If in your professional capacity you include it in your presentations, what kind of audience do you introduce it to and how? What’s the response like from your audiences? Is it included in some larger presentation of yours on a speaking tour, a workshop, best used when working one-on-one with people and if so, in what capacity are you working with them?

By sharing this one resource with me in the comments section, you and I could be part of a long string of people having a shared experience. The contribution you make by sharing a single resource could result in not only sharing that one item with others, but you in return might realize a gift of many more. No guarantee of course, but the awesome thing about sharing just one resource this way is that it takes up little of your time to copy and paste a URL with a brief explanation, and someone on the other side of our beautiful planet might in turn love it as much as you.

To get things rolling, here’s something for you from me. This is a link to a video clip but you could also search, “World’s toughest job” on your favourite search engine and click on video’s to find it.

http://bit.ly/ourworldstoughestjob

The reason I find myself liking this one so much is because in many of the career direction and employment workshops I lead, there is a least one if not a few women in the group who feel underqualified. They live and breathe low self-esteem because they made a choice to stay home and raise children in the past and are coming to job searching later in the game. When they hear others in the room speak of the many jobs they’ve had or the many years they’ve had in a job or two, they come across as apologetic when they say they have ‘just’ been a mom.

This video is one that then comes to mind. The clip is about creating a fake job but then holding real interviews with both men and women. As the applicants learn of the job responsibilities and expectations of them, they become increasingly shocked at how much is demanded of them in this job. When they learn the job will pay exactly zero, they are incredulous, one going on record saying that no one would do this, another saying it’s cruel and inhumane. Only at this point does the interviewer say that millions of people are doing this job every day and then reveals it’s being done by moms.

Now the impact on those in the group is typically that the women who were saying they are, “just” moms, now see themselves through a different lens. They feel better and many in the group think of not only themselves but their own moms. Often there’s a few with wet eyes in the group as they recall their own moms.

Now it doesn’t always have a universally wonderful feel for everyone in the room. Maybe someone who is adopted and never knew their mom or who had a rough upbringing wouldn’t respond positively. However, there is a shift in the room when I show it; with more respect for the moms in the room from those who might have felt superior with years of employment to draw on behind them.

So there’s a contribution for you to check out and see for yourself. What would you like to add? I’d rather you felt generous and give out of a wish to share than feel in any way compelled to reciprocate. I know a lot of you out there have a very deep reservoir of media clips, cartoons, quotes, TedTalks, infographics, images, comics, etc. Sure would be fantastic if you’d take the time to share just one of these gems.

For this is what the internet is really all about isn’t it? Sharing. When you search for some article or resource, you’re really tapping into someone else’s creation. They put it out there for anyone to view and benefit from. Maybe you’re a creative sort and you’ve made a masterpiece of your very own for all I know. Sharing whatever you wish here with me by way of your reply would be most appreciated!

This is one way we improve, grow, stay fresh, learn and educate not only ourselves but others. So educate me and your fellow readers.

By the way, this blog falls on my birthday, June 13; so my birthday request is one of the best kinds of gifts where we can all receive in the end!

A Valuable Workplace Activity


Passing on ideas to each other in the workplace is a pretty easy activity that accelerates learning and does so quickly and at relatively low-cost. The fact that its quick is important because reducing time increases savings, and if others already know information you’d have to hunt down, it can make you more productive in the short as well as long-term.

Over the next week one of my fellow employees and I are co-facilitating a workshop on building a virtual tool box. What’s in the toolbox? Cartoons, quotes, videos, articles, Prezi’s, speeches, lectures and more. Facilitating the process of collaboratively building our toolbox is the method we chose to go about it, and not presuming to be the only experts in the room and sharing only what we know.

By way of example, here is what we’re doing. We’re bringing together hosting 6 groups of about 20 staff each who hold various job titles; seating no more than 5 people at a table. On each table we have a laptop with internet access and MS Word. If you haven’t got access to Word, you don’t need it specifically; but you’ll need some word processing program to copy and paste to that will allow everyone to save their work on.

The first thing you should know is that we’re gathering these people together for in our case, an hour and fifteen minutes. While the time could be longer, its sufficient time for people to get into what we’re talking about and then end the session while interest is still peaking. The last thing you’d want I imagine is to drag out an exercise to the point where the audience is bored, ready to move on but the facilitators don’t seem to be in sync and what was fun and new turns into something akin to tooth extraction; painful.

First the two of us introduced the idea of the virtual tool box which one can carry wherever there’s internet access and computer availability. Carry a phone around with you and it could work, but ideally we’re talking laptop, desktop, large fixed monitors or I suppose tablets etc. In other words, large enough a group of people could see a screen without too much straining around a tiny screen.

In our presentation, we shared the idea of what we were doing and that in the end there would be a real tangible benefit for each participant. Each person receives no handouts during the presentation, but will in the end get the total of everything the 6 groups produces. Think of that; in our case we have six groups of 20 people – so 120 people’s collaborative work produced in a unified document and available to all. If 2 heads are better than 1, imagine the impact and value of having 120 people come together! Not bad considering everyone is contributing just over 1 hour of their time.

We begin with inviting each group to think of an audience in their workplace; will it be their colleagues at a team meeting where they are making a presentation, a client group, customers, maybe a management team. Wherever you work, think of those you might come into contact with; don’t neglect to think of yourself too. After all, you can benefit from watching a video, being drawn to a quote, finding meaning and relevance in a speech, being motivated by someone’s story etc. as much as anyone else.

Now once those at the table agreed on a potential audience for this exercise, (giving each group 30 seconds to decide on one), everyone is ready for the next stage; thinking about what you’d like to share with that target. So are you looking to motivate, help them problem solve, dress appropriately, work better together, understand a concept, aspire to consider possibilities etc.?

With your audience and what you want to communicate with in mind, each group is then turned loose on a single laptop on their table to explore the internet and find things having to do with what they want to share with the audience they selected. Maybe they find a TedTalk, an image with a quote, a cartoon or still image that is the inspiration for a conversation; anything that will spark dialogue, start a conversation and help deliver a point.

Now the MS Word document I referred to near the beginning is really for each group to copy and paste the URL’s into; noting the subject of the link as well. At the end of the hour and 15 minutes, each group may have 3 – 10 links which they’ve found, settled on and saved in the document. With 6 groups of people contributing, we could well end up with 18 – 60 links to ultimately share to the collective participants in the coming days after the last group participates.

We are encouraging each person upon receipt of this to spend some time opening up the links to see what’s there. Some will speak directly to them and they’ll find them helpful, while others won’t strike a chord. The ones that are helpful would be good to save in their personal, ‘Favourites’ on the internet. Why? These can then be accessed when wanted and quickly, grouped by topic in folders.

Now they have tools to use for the next team meeting, their own training events, working 1:1 with a client or customer, participant or a management group.

Feel free to copy our example, change it for your own workplace. Shared knowledge is a good thing.

Curb That Venom You’re Spitting On Social Media


It’s not a new phenomena but I have been struck of late with the rather unfortunate rise in rude, offensive and provocative language some people are using with a high degree of regularity on social media when providing their comments. Unfortunately, how they are expressing their views often says much more about the person than what they are actually commenting on. We’d all be wise to remember this.

Now debating is good as is expressing one’s owns views. Hearing varying viewpoints gives one perspective; often we say to ourselves as we read someone’s thoughts, “Hmm…I hadn’t thought of that myself”. When we hear a contradictory point of view or even a varying point of view, it gives us more information; an opportunity presents itself for us to learn something new and with that other information we might shift our point of view or not. Sometimes that other person’s views only reinforce our own of course and that’s perfectly fine; we are entitled after all to think for ourselves.

What I don’t particularly understand however is when people respond on social media which are in their nature public platforms, using strong, offensive language, cursing others with viewpoints other than their own. They use derogatory words that spew outright hate and refer to others who think differently than themselves as idiots. I imagine – although I have no way of knowing – that these same people wouldn’t dare use the same kind of language in person, and more importantly they wouldn’t talk as such in their workplaces.

Here of course we hit upon a subject of great debate which will no doubt bring people down strongly on one side or other. When we aren’t at work and we are on social media at the local coffee shop or in the comfort of our own home, is what we post on social media impacting us alone or does it extend to the reputation of those organizations to which we are employed? Some think they should be able to say whatever they want as freedom of speech issue; and further they should be able to say it with whatever words they feel like using without repercussions. However, as I say there are always others with varying perspectives.

Yet, when we hear someone’s point of view, it’s often significant to learn where the person is coming from which gives perspective to their commentary. Part of figuring out what their agenda is that shapes their point of view is knowing what political party they represent, what company they work for, what part of the country they live in, what their cultural background is etc. This background information often enlightens us who read their comments; knowing where they are coming from ‘explains it’ so to speak.

The thing one always should bear in mind though is the impact of the words we choose to use in expressing our points of view. Why? Simply put, while we might not care what others think of our views, our vocabulary or even us as people, the companies we work for care immensely. So much so in fact that they may go so far as to choose to disassociate themselves completely from us which is a kind way of saying we could be parting ways. That angry, venom-spewing tirade we post one day could be viewed as damaging the reputation of the organization we work for the next by association and we find we’re fired.

Again, some people strongly believe that what they say away from the workplace shouldn’t be anybody’s business but their own. That viewpoint however isn’t shared by everyone and if you’re relying on your employment for your livelihood, you might be best advised to check out the extent to which you can say what you want outside the workplace.

In Ontario, there was an announcement just a couple of days ago about the minimum wage rising to $14 on January 1, 2018 and then to $15 on January 1, 2019. While some applaud this move to strengthen the income levels of the impoverished, others lament the increases. That in and of itself seems only logical; varying viewpoints on an important issue. The impact of this decision affects low-income earners, business owners, taxpayers and politicians. In short, there is almost no one this decision won’t impact in some way.

Of course, many people have taken to social media, letting anybody who cares to know, exactly what they think of the move. Swearing, exclamation marks that imply shouting, profanity, insults, mud-slinging, defamatory remarks, put-downs; unfortunately the worst of us collectively is there on display. Why do we feel we have to assert our views while putting the people who hold contrary views down? Can’t we just express our own views civilly and leave it at that? Are all the other people who don’t believe what we believe automatically reduced to being devoid of a modicum of intelligence? What happened to respect for those with varying views?

I’m happy we have vehicles to express our points of view; happier still that we have social media to bring us views of others world-wide. Prior to the internet we were often confined to news organizations exclusively to expose us to others points of view: newspapers, radio, television and / or town halls and soap boxes. Hurray for progress.

Speak your mind of course, just mind your speak. Your reputation and by association those around you ride on your words.

 

 

No Applications? No Interviews. No Job. Simple.


The best way to get a 100% guarantee that employers will continue to reject and decline to offer you interviews is to stop applying for jobs altogether. Do this and you’ll be done with frustration, stress and the cycle of applying with hope only to taste the acrid bitterness of rejection; then to reapply again with optimism etc. Yes, give it up now and escape from voluntarily setting yourself up for ongoing disappointment.

Of course if you follow that opening advice, you’ll have a lot of time on your hands. Time that initially will seem like a wave of relief washing over you. After all, no more scouring the internet and job boards for minimum wage, entry-level jobs. No more fruitless networking meetings, resumes to tailor to specific jobs, no more need for LinkedIn; the freedom to post online whoever you are, whatever you want without a thought or care about who sees what. No more emails to send, nor the need to be checking your phone for possible invitations that never come. What a relief indeed!

The downside of course is that all this free time doesn’t exactly stop your brain from wandering back to thoughts of employment. Without a job or even looking for one, you’ve got about 7 hours a day, 35 hours a week, 140 hours a month etc. that you wouldn’t have if you were working. How many of those hours are you going to fill productively doing other things? Reading, traveling, exercising, watching television, fixing things around the home; all good in their own way, but for how long are these things going to keep bringing you the happiness they do now?

The most obvious stress for many is where does the money materialize from to allow you to keep living where you do now? There’s the rent or mortgage, food, utilities, repairs, transit, clothing, your morning jolt of caffeine. What about entertainment, unexpected expenses, illnesses, new glasses, dental visits, prescriptions, the virus protection on the laptop that needs renewing? Just a small list… So you start getting frugal if you haven’t already; thinking strategically about what you can do without; what you’re willing to sacrifice. That gets stressful after awhile doesn’t it? I mean, saying you’ll do without item B because you won’t give up item A only to find that in two month’s time your ‘must have’ item A is something you have to part with to keep item C. This is living?

Sometimes all these decisions just seem overwhelming right? Sure they do. This is when some people turn to self-medication which never really seems to have much of a lasting affect. Oh for a while they shift your thinking and provide short-term relief. In the long-run however the medications wear off and you’re back dealing with the original thoughts and you’ve added the lower self-worth and need for self-medication to your list of things to be disappointed with in yourself.

The thing about stressing while in a job search is that you’ve got one thing to hold on to that makes the frustration of a job search worth the effort; there’s the hope of success. Get into the interview stage when you’ve had a rough time even having your applications acknowledged and you’re making progress. Have a good interview or two and you feel the momentum building. Build on the momentum and you find your making the short-list; getting down to the last cuts. Get the job and all that frustration leading up to this moment suddenly becomes worthwhile. You appreciate the job more when you get it, you experience a moment of gratitude and appreciation for what it took to get you there.

All those expressions about putting in the hard work to get what you want, keeping your eyes focused on the destination or anything worth having is worth working for etc. suddenly have real meaning. You earned this one.

Gone are the days when many people got the first job they applied to or jobs just dropped into their laps without really even looking. Gone are the times when your good looks, natural charm, sexy clothing or mom could get you the job just for the asking. Well for most of us; there are still some regressive employers who still hire sexy, but think about it; do you really want to work for a person who hired you based on that? What are you setting yourself up for in the future? Get hired based on merit, job-specific and transferable skills, experience and you’re better off.

Don’t give up, give in, lose hope, listen to pessimism and grind your job search to a halt. Stick with your quest for employment and apply for jobs. Do your best to keep that positive outlook but allow yourself to be human and acknowledge the disappointment and frustration that a prolonged job search can bring. You can simultaneously be disappointed with progress but optimistic that you’ll eventually succeed.

Athletes have trainers, coaches and rely heavily on those who have previously achieved success to mentor them. Why not follow the same formula when you’re after something you ultimately want too? Seeking support while job searching, having a professional coach instruct you in how to be most effective and then having the discipline and intelligence to actually follow the advice you’re given with a commitment to your own improvement is exactly what successful people do.

Of course there’s always the alternative…

 

LinkedIn Notifications


When I open LinkedIn I can see right away that there’s some notifications waiting for me to open. The more connections you have, the more likely you are to have a number of these, and so with quite a few connections, these notifications come daily.

As I move to click on the small red dot on the notifications image (in this case what reminds me of a school bell), I wonder less and less what the notification will actually turn out to be. This is because more often than not, the notifications are to either wish one of my connections a happy birthday or to congratulate them on a work anniversary or perhaps starting a new job.

Now I’m not under any obligation to actually do anything with those notifications. I can ignore them and choose to move on with whatever else I want to do, or I can click and up comes a standard message I can send as is or edit. Typically the standard message is, “Happy Birthday”, “Congratulations on the new job” or “Congratulations on your anniversary”. With a second click I can send the message as is or as I say edit the message by sending an additional thought of my own.

Now me, I always choose to acknowledge the event connected with my connections. I know however that this is not a practice shared by others, and I’m actually not going to suggest or advise you as a reader of this article one way or the other. I’m going to share with you why I personally do think this is a practice I will continue to engage in however. I would think the only reason I’d stop to do this would be if a number of my connections contacted me and requested I stop. It would seem to me however that this practice must be working for the majority of LinkedIn users or LinkedIn itself would disable this functionality and stop promoting the practice of acknowledging events going on with ones’ connections.

One thing I have to say is that like so many other users of this social media platform, I have contacts I know intimately, others I know well, some I know moderately and some I’ve accepted as connections whom never really entered into dialogue with beyond initiating or accepting a connection. My response to these people will vary when I see a notification. To the extent I know the person and/or the actual time I have on my hands at a given moment dictates what I choose to do. Not much time and I send the standard LinkedIn proposed message; more time and I add a personal note of my own.

The real question of course is why. Why do this at all? Of what value is there in sending any acknowledgement? Well to me, I believe it’s one small way of maintaining a relationship with the person. Take the person I know well but not intimately. Maybe I’ve exchanged some messages back and forth over the years, provided some feedback on something they’ve said or they’ve commented on a blog of mine. Acknowledging their birthday costs me nothing but 4 seconds and aren’t they worth that? I think they are.

Should my contact change jobs I’d also want to know about this and I wouldn’t expect they’d individually notify all their connections about the change. This service provided by LinkedIn is a quick way to get the news out and new jobs are always cause for celebration. I think most people enjoy being congratulated and so I do so.

What of the person then that I don’t know all that well but who is nonetheless a connection of mine? I still take those few seconds to click on the, “Say happy birthday” message. Here I might opt to just send the standard greeting. Again, it requires so little effort I can’t help but think if I really value the connection why wouldn’t I give them 4 seconds of my time?

You might wonder why I’d even have a connection that I don’t really know that well or whom I don’t exchange much conversation with. Perhaps for you this is a bigger question. Well, yes there are people who just go about collecting connections at random and think it’s a race to have the highest number possible. I’m not one of those. I do think that in addition to building a network of people in my field, there is value in knowing people in other lines of work; connections where the benefits are not immediately obvious. I’m laying the groundwork for the future, and if they initiate a request with me, perhaps they are looking to benefit from me as a connection. So it’s not always what I can leverage from someone but more often than not what I might do for them.

Clicking on that ‘Congratulate so-and-so on their work anniversary’ is also important I think just because it’s nice to do. There’s no strings attached to sending the congratulatory message, I’m not asking for anything. It does from time-to-time result in a few messages back and forth; a check-in if you will and my relationship with that person gets some attention and nurturing.

So there’s some of my argument for the LinkedIn Notifications feature and it’s value. Sometimes it’s all the little things that cumulatively make a difference.