Follow these application tips to support a successful job search.
Here are our top tips for managing those conversations with the eLoft IMPRESS model:
Good luck with charging up your networks for career success in 2020!
An interview is a business meeting and, just like any meeting, it is important to go into it well prepared. In most cases, the interviewer will allow you the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview. Asking great questions is one way to impress them and has many advantages for you, the job seeker:
Prepare a wide range of questions
Now, sometimes, the interviewer answers many of your questions during the course of the interview, leaving you with nothing else to ask. To avoid this situation, prepare lots of questions and take them with you to the interview. Try to include some questions that link to the research you have done as it is less likely that these will have been answered during the normal course of the interview discussion. Taking along 8-10 great questions will ensure you have something left to ask at the end of the process.
So, what should be the focus of your questions?
Great questions will focus on the following areas (but don’t ask anything basic that can be answered through a simple online search):
Example questions to ask:
There is an infinite number of questions you could ask and they will vary depending on the role, organization, and the interviewer. Here are some examples to help you get started:
October 20 – 26th celebrates small business week in Canada with exciting events happening across the country. As of 2017, small businesses (< 99 employees) employed 8.29 million individuals in Canada or 69.7 percent of the total private labour force. Between 2013 and 2017, small businesses were responsible for the majority (67.5 percent) of net employment growth and this is predicted to continue. Source: https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/061.nsf/vwapj/KSBS-PSRPE_Jan_2019_eng.pdf/$file/KSBS-PSRPE_Jan_2019_eng.pdf
So, what does this mean for job seekers? Job opportunities for all sizes of organizations, and particularly for small businesses, often exist in the hidden job market. Many job seekers make the mistake of focusing their search on publicly posted job opportunities (the tip of the iceberg), thinking this is the optimal way to look for a job, but to be successful, they need to learn to uncover hidden opportunities.
The hidden job market consists of available or soon to be available positions that are not advertised publicly. Although it is very difficult to measure how large the hidden job market is (after all it is hidden), most if not all the information you will find about this source of job opportunities estimates it to be larger than the public job market. This is definitely a source of open positions you want to ensure you tap into during your search!
The Public Job Market
The public job market consists of those jobs that are advertised publicly. Jobs that would be considered in the public job market include:
How to Uncover the Hidden Job Market
There are several ways you can uncover the hidden job market and be the first to learn about positions before they are advertised.
To learn more about small business events across Canada where you may be able to uncover your next exciting hidden job opportunity, check out: https://www.bdc.ca/en/small-business-week/events/pages/default.aspx
For a more information on how to optimize your job search, check out our online course
Job Search Strategies and Networking Success
Job search entails a series of 3 doors you must open in order to be successful. These doors are sequential meaning you must get the first door open in order to move to the second door and the second to get to the third. If you manage to get to the third you are doing well and will soon land a job. If you are struggling with your search, try to figure out which door is stuck and what you need to do to navigate your way forward.
Door #1: Are your applications resulting in job interviews?
If you are getting interviews for 5-10% of the jobs you are applying for, then you have successfully opened door #1. If you are getting many more, fantastic – you are doing a great job with your applications. If, however, you are getting less, let’s look at some solutions in order to successfully open door #1.
Here are some solutions to help you in opening door #1 which is the toughest to navigate as there may be several reasons this door is not opening:
Door #2: Are you getting past the first interview at least 50% of the time?
If you are finding that you are getting interviews but being moved to 2nd interview less than 50% of the time, then door #2 is where you need to problem solve.
Let’s take a look at some possible solutions to move you through door #2.
Door #3: Are you getting 2nd or 3rd interviews but no job offers?
If you are successfully opening door #1 and door #2 – this is excellent news! It is only a matter of time before you will receive a job offer! You are almost there.
If door #3 is where you are stuck, you are best to seek the advice of a Career Professional who has a depth of experience working with job seekers. Consider the following:
Be curious, analyze your job search results and continuously navigate challenges to ensure you land as quickly as possible! Struggling with your job search? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free 20-minute consultation to see how we might help you navigate the 3 doors to landing a job!
Most of us have heard the saying ‘Rome was not built in a day’. This saying has been around for a very long time and is used to express the idea that achieving great things takes patience, hard work, and determination. Great careers are not built in a day either. The constant images and information we are bombarded with on social platforms can lead us to believe that others have it easy and make us wonder why it is so hard for us. The reality is, if you take some time to speak with people you know who have achieved career fulfillment and success, they will likely share with you a journey that involved many ups and downs, challenges and tough decisions. Building a great career absolutely takes Patience, Hard work and Determination. Let’s look more closely at building a great career using PHD.
Building a great career takes time – let’s be honest, you will be working for decades of your life and if you are looking to move up or gain a more challenging or senior position, it takes time to achieve this.
Job search is hard work and it is easy to think about a million things you would rather do than look for a job! Here are some tips to ensure you stay focused on the goal of finding a new job:
Determination in job search and in building a great career is about never giving up on your goals and dreams. When you are searching for a job:
Good luck building your career using PHD!
Contact us at email@example.com for a free 20-minute consultation to discuss how we can help you build a great career!
Landing an interview at your dream company is only the first step toward landing a job offer. Whether it’s working in a corporate organization, a trendy startup, or the public sector, you can be sure that the interview process is bound to be rigorous and you will most likely encounter a few curveball questions along the way.
Questions such as, "If you had a choice between two superpowers - being invisible or flying - which would you choose?" may seem to have nothing to do with the job to which you just applied. However, these tricky questions are meant to test your creativity/your ability to think on your feet, your problem-solving/critical reasoning skills, and your personality. Don’t fret, curveball questions can really throw you off in a job interview, but often there is no right or wrong answers. Here are 5 tips on how to make sure you provide good answers to unexpected questions.
Tip # 1: Prepare, Prepare, Prepare: Did you know that a quick Google search or search on Glassdoor can help you get a feel for the type of curveball questions out there? You might even find some hints about the questions used at specific companies. For example, "How many ridges are there around a quarter?" asked at a Big 4 Accounting Firm, or "How many basketballs can you fit in this room?" asked at Google. Remember the interviewer is looking for what separates you from other candidates, preparation is key and by practicing a few curveball questions ahead of time, you will really build your confidence.
Tip # 2: Give it your best shot: Getting it right is not the point. Instead, focus on demonstrating your ability to think it through logically and talk them through the steps you would take to find the solution. Answer the question while providing the situation, task, action and result to your solution. Whatever you say, as always, justify your answer thoroughly. Show them how you cope with the unexpected and how you remain rational and calm under pressure.
Tip #3: Know your main messages: Make sure you have identified the main messages you want to emphasize throughout your interview. Reflect on your strengths in terms of your skills, competencies and personality as they relate to your goal job and goal company. Use these themes and weave them into your responses. For example, let's say your main messages are around your logical thinking, calm approach, integrity and fairness. Then you are asked what's your favorite colour and why? You could choose blue which is known for trust, respect and calmness which reflects your personality.
Tip # 4: Don't second guess your answer and be yourself: It can be tempting to try to figure out what personality they are looking for to answer a curveball question "correctly" but STOP! Before you do this think about it carefully. You might be able to fake it in the interview but faking it consistently on the job is probably not realistic and very stressful. Better not to land the position than find yourself in the wrong fit job and organization.
Tip # 5: Take your time to answer: Don't rush your answer to a curveball question. The interviewer knows you probably didn't expect it so do take some thinking time. You can say "That's an intriguing question, let me just take a moment to think that one through'. This will buy you a few seconds of thinking time before you answer in a way that emphasizes the key messages you identified in your preparation.
Yes, interview questions like these can be more than a little intimidating, but, they can also give you a chance to show an employer who you are, how you think, and if your work style is a match for the position. It's unlikely you'll know in advance the exact question you'll be asked, but that doesn't mean you can't practice answering a curveball question ahead of time. Have a go before your next interview, because you never know where the next curveball is coming from.
For more tips on curveball questions and how to ensure perfect preparation for your next interview, see our full course, “Interview to Land” at https://www.eloftcareers.com/elearning-online-courses.html and follow us on social.
by Madison Ross, eLoft Careers Student Blogger and Recent Graduate, B.Sc. Honours Food Science Degree (Co-op), University of Guelph
What is networking? And why is it a valuable tool to have in your professional artillery? The term “networking” refers to a system of connections formed by individuals who share a common interest. Through the transfer of knowledge and ideas, business professionals can form essential ties and crucial connections. There are a plethora of networking opportunities available to people at all stages of their careers and getting started as early as possible with building great networks is the focus of this blog. Thanks to the internet, networking has never been easier. Everything from networking advice to business etiquette to LinkedIn how-to and much more can be made available to you at the touch of a button.
LinkedIn is one way you can grow your professional network and is an excellent tool to help you keep track of the people you meet and how their careers develop and evolve over time; however, finding ways to meet people face-to-face and get out from behind your computer can be much more effective and successful when it comes to building great networks. To improve your networking results, consider taking up a new hobby such as sports including golf, cycling, squash, hockey, yoga, sailing, tennis, etc. If you are willing to put in the time and have the budget golf would be a great skill to have for anyone interested in building a career in the business community. It is a game that has been associated with business networking for many generations! Alternatively, if you already play sports or are not the athletic type, consider joining groups or clubs that align with your areas of interest.
During my time at University, I grew my network by joining the Food Science Club, participating in College Royal, going to the Institute of Food Technology (IFT) Food Expo convention, and joining a recreational women’s hockey league.
One of the first things I did during the start of my first year was join the food science club, where avid foodies would meet biweekly to discuss various food science topics, work opportunities and other areas of common interest. This club provided me with several networking opportunities since a majority of the other food science students were in the co-op program. Through the food science club, I learned about an annual spring tradition at the University called “College Royal”. It provides an opportunity for current undergrads to setup elaborate displays and games to gain the interest of the public, to teach, engage, and excite guests about their majors. Overall, it was a great place to volunteer because you never knew who was going to walk through the doors, what questions you were going to get asked, or who you were going to meet.
Another great networking opportunity I had at University was the IFT Food Expo. It is an event that brings together more than 1000 food employers and allows food industry professionals and food science students to interact, learn and experience the most forefront food innovations in ingredients, equipment, packaging, processing, etc. As a food science student, I always saw it as a way to grow my professional network, and enhance my knowledge about the industry I wanted to start a career in.
To grow your professional network, the best thing you can do is to reinvigorate those extracurricular activities you enjoyed when you were younger and consider joining/picking-up new hobbies such as yoga, platies, gardening, cooking. At the end of the day, you want to invest in a hobby because you never know what opportunity will come knocking at your door. Good luck building your networks!
By Emily Wiseman, eLoft Careers Blogger, Bachelor of Commerce Graduate (University of Ottawa, 2016) and current Manager, Operations and Technology at Scotiabank
In the days of social media where more likes on your posts and followers on your various channels validates your social success, it is easy to translate this more-the-merrier concept over to your LinkedIn account and professional networking approach. However, the corporate world is a competitive and busy place - simply having a connection with someone online is not enough to have them take time out of their day to advocate for you and your career. In this post we will be looking at the importance of honing in your networking efforts to those individuals who can, and are willing, to help you take that next step closer to landing your dream role.
First a little bit about myself, I graduated from the University of Ottawa’s Bachelor of Commerce program with specialties in Finance and Accounting. In my final year I landed a summer position with Scotiabank and have now been in my current role as Manager, Operations and Technology for a bit less than two years. The titled concept of this blog is one that I believe was a key factor in my landing of the summer job that led to my current position shortly after graduation
Research and Select Employers of Choice
In the Canadian Accounting and Finance fields there are quite a number of big players, not to mention the medium sized firms who also present wonderful career opportunities. All of these firms market themselves towards business students as post-graduate career-launching pads and are actively seeking to hire. With such a large selection, one approach could be to try to connect with as many of these companies as possible with the hopes that one will see the potential in you and take you on. While these firms may all appear quite similar, I would advise looking deeper into the characteristics that make them unique and selecting your top choices to pursue. Some great starting points are to read up on company histories, mission statements and core values. Look into what really matters to you, for me this meant; corporate social responsibility efforts, a focus on advancement of women in leadership roles, international opportunities and support of inter-departmental transfers. By narrowing down the pool and really getting to understand your top choices’ culture and stories, you will be able to convey true interest in these firms rather than a “please anyone, anyone at all, hire me!” attitude. Firms want to hire people who will be dedicated to them as it is a large investment to hire and train an individual; they want you to be envisioning growth within their company - not simply wherever a paycheque can be found.
Find Key Contacts Within Your Employers of Choice
Once your research and selection phases are complete, your next mission is to get in front of some key people. You want to be able to make a connection with someone who either has the ability to make a referral to a job for you or can introduce you to someone who can. With job postings receiving sometimes hundreds of applicants, having a referral behind you can help you stand out and hopefully land an interview. Following your preferred companies on social media and LinkedIn can be a great way to catch upcoming local events being held near you. Some typical in-house events that present great opportunities to network are; speaker series, office tours, lunch and learns and alumni events. Beyond company-hosted events, industry events are another great source for connections – keep an eye out! In the following sections I will look at some isolated topics with specific advice on how to best leverage your surroundings.
Your first year of University comes with so many new hurdles and adventures, probably not one of your first year bucket list items is learning how to network. However nerve-wracking it may seem to attend a networking event, I hate to break it to you – the nerves will only go away with practice, not time! The sooner you take the leap and start finding your networking groove the better. Landing a summer job whilst in school can be a great way to ensure you have a job lined up post-graduation – so long as you perform well in the four month trial you are given!
Everyday contact potential
You never know who in your circle may know someone, or know someone who knows someone, that works or has worked at your dream company. Let it be known to those around you what companies and roles you are interested in so that if there is a potential connection in your existing network, you find it. Having someone who is further along in their career or even a retiree from the company can be an incredibly valued opinion to have backing you. Think of your Professors, family, family friends, co-workers etc.
How to approach and solidify a connection
First meeting is in person...
Should you be so lucky as to first meet your potential connection in person, ensure that you highlight the following in the time you have with them:
Someone in your circle has been able to give you a name and contact details - fabulous! Start by sending them a formal email:
Advice for the classic conference style networking event
Particularly common with University and College Business Faculties, these events gather together numerous firms looking specifically at hiring students for both summer and post-graduate positions. These events are the holy grail of networking opportunities and should not be approached frivolously. Typically each attending company will be represented by some recent graduates who have done well in their first years and by their Talent or Recruiting Managers.
Often the attending companies of these sorts of events will be posted online weeks ahead of time, take your time in reviewing their company profiles and research their typical entry-level jobs. Hopefully your top firms will be in attendance and if not, look into some of the lesser known companies to see if you could have the right fit and would like to learn more about them. Prepare for these types of events as you would for an actual interview.
e-Loft Careers – be a step ahead
In this post we have strategized how one can meet and impress a valuable connection in the hopes of securing a job referral. However, the preparation for an interview is a much larger topic than what can be covered here. While you can find many articles and YouTube videos online that go over the typically expected questions, I have found that for myself such exercises still leave me full of nerves that I am not adequately prepared. Luckily, if you are looking to take the interview opportunity seriously, there are more fulsome options available. Personally I prepared for my interview by taking the eLoft Careers Interview to Land course and I cannot recommend it enough. The course is designed by HR experts with long careers in the field who share the ins and outs of what employers are looking for throughout the interview process, helping you craft personalized responses to all of the key underlying topics that can be expected. The course walks you through all aspects of preparation; from what to not do two nights before an interview, what key experiences you can draw from, strategies for every type of interview style, to the perfect follow-up approach. This company also offers one-on-one sessions for a coaching session catered to you!
by Marco Maccario, eLoft Careers Student Blogger, Graduate Political Science and Spanish Literature (University of Western Ontario) and International Development (Humber College)
Starting Your Career Isn’t Easy
In the world we currently live in, I feel like everyone is always trying to uncover the best formula to make finding an ideal job that much easier. Back in my parents’ day, it seemed like work and jobs were so easy to find when you graduated. Now, things seem so much more complicated when you are starting out in your career. It is all about the connections you make, the websites you apply on and the networking coffee meetings you go on. I agree that all these are necessary ingredients to a successful job search recipe and finding an ideal job, but, I think there are other ingredients that are missing to this recipe that could truly enhance your success today and go a long way to future career success. The next several ingredients really helped me in landing a true dream internship at the United Nations and I would love to give you some insight on why I believe they helped me.
The 1st Ingredient: Learn Languages
The first ingredient that has helped in many aspects of my life: learning another language. Whether I was travelling, meeting new people, in a work setting or interviewing for a job, knowing another language was truly a differentiator! I was lucky to be raised in an Italian family, so I was blessed to know Italian by birth. However, I did not stop there as I came to understand that languages are not only interesting but an essential ingredient to success. It is never too late to learn a language and even basic working knowledge of a language can be helpful in life and work. I took on Spanish at the high school level and as a minor in University. From there I worked abroad using my Spanish and now have clients from Spanish speaking countries. The United Nations were looking for people that could speak other languages so having been raised in English/Italian and learning Spanish starting in high school, I had a good edge over other candidates. Many companies operate outside the Canadian or North American borders, so languages can be a terrific asset.
One of the easiest ways to start learning a language is online through websites such as duoLingo (https://www.duolingo.com/) or Rosetta Stone (http://www.rosettastone.ca/). From there I would recommend joining classes, local cultural clubs and go out in the community and learn the language real-time by speaking it. Going out and interacting with people who speak the language you are trying to learn is a great strategy and perhaps you can exchange languages by teaching someone English while you are taught their language. Finally, if you are able, travel and immerse yourself in the language and culture you are trying to learn. Even if you have to start with hand gestures, being forced to speak another language works wonders to progress your skills.
The 2nd Ingredient: Go Global
This leads me to my second ingredient...international work experience whether that is volunteering or a paid job. Being able to show a future employer that you immersed yourself in a new country and culture, lived on your own while going to work and getting familiar with your new surroundings are important ingredients in the right direction for a perfect recipe. Employers will see that you are adaptable, resilient, open-minded, adventurous, and open to change and challenge. All of these are qualities many employers are looking for in a new employee. The United Nations were looking for someone with these qualities to be an international advocate, and my languages, combined with my experience of having done an exchange, supported my success both at United Nations and when I went to Mexico to work for a not for profit.
The 3rd Ingredient: Post Graduate Education
Finally, my last ingredient, post graduate education. If you are able, pursuing a post graduate degree in the field that interests whether a Master’s Degree or a one-year post-graduate program at a College or University can help bridge your success into a great career. Each field is different but, in my case, a one-year degree at Humber College worked perfectly following University. It gave me that extra education piece that the United Nations was looking for. Graduating from a University is great but sometimes you need to follow up those four years with an intensive postgraduate degree to tie it all together. There are plenty of Colleges and Universities out there that offer great programs. To be completely honest with you I was always steered away from Colleges, but I learned more in my one year at Humber College then my four years at Western University. I have always been a University person but College was just so much more hands-on. The classes were practical and useful, and it really helped me be able to practice things I would need to do in the field and the work place. Post-graduate degrees often consist of a co-op component that gives you work experience (international in my case), but may also lead to a future job opportunity with that co-op employer. On that note I truly believe any relevant experience, whether that is volunteer work or as an intern, is very useful in building a great resume. In the end, when an employer looks at your resume, they won’t care if you were paid or not for your experience. They will just appreciate that you have the experience. If you ever have days off from school or some weekends available definitely try to volunteer, work somewhere or take classes… don't let that time go to waste, when it could be for the benefit of your future.
In conclusion, looking for a job is a full-time job. Stay humble and accept anything you can related to your field to gain experience because you may not get your ideal job right off the bat, but related experience will only help you to progress in the future. Spending time trying to become the next Foodie on Instagram or trying to think of an app no one has discovered is great, but even more important is to think about where you want to go, the type of job you dream of and add the ingredients bit by bit that will move you in this direction. I believe this approach was the recipe that helped me arrive at the UN headquarters in New York and will help you arrive wherever you would dream of for the future!