Category Archives: job-hunting

What’s Your Word?

According to the Toronto Sun, this is PwC’s personal brand week. (I have no idea what “PwC” stands for — even their website left me wondering. I guess their brand is so strong that their name doesn’t matter, heh. ) On their website, PwC offers this tool to help job hunters understand how they’re perceived in online searches. Armed with this knowledge, job hunters can then work to correct any inconsistencies.

To get the gig they want, job hunters and freelancers should be clear about what they have to offer a company — in other words, they should be clear about their brand. Recently a branding exercise has been making its way through the media: Choose one word that represents you.

Although I’d love my word to be innovative, daring, or brilliant, there’s no denying that my word is persistent. That, along with confident, is how others often describe me. I know I can do anything if I put in the time. From learning a new skill to getting the job contract I want, it comes down to daily habits performed with drive and consistency. Obstacles are nothing to me:  With persistence I find ways (hey, there’s some innovation for you!) to accomplish my own goals and those of the people and organizations that I’m fortunate to be involved with.

Once you’ve identified your word, you’re on your way to creating your brand. It’s a matter of making sure your brand is loud and clear — online, on your resumé, in person — to employers. Because your brand is unique, it sets you apart from the pack and makes finding the right fit easier for both you and prospective employers.


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Filed under authenticity, branding, freelancing, job-hunting, online life, work issues

A Systematic Approach to Job-Hunting: Step 2

This post is part of a continuing series about job-hunting the Donald Asher way. In step 1, you identified your job targets. Now that you know what job you’re looking for, it’s time to find the employers who will hire you to do that job. That’s right — you’re ready for step 2: identifying raw leads.

Asher groups raw leads into 3 categories: organizations, people, and ideas. Start building a list consisting of these 3 things. Include all the businesses who hire people who do your type of work, all the people you know in real life and online (yup, every last one of them), and all the ideas you come up with as you listen to the news or talk to people.

First, list businesses. This will take some research. Ask a reference librarian for help researching businesses, visit your university career centre, consult business journals, contact your local chamber of commerce and other business associations. Heck, check out the Yellow Pages.

Next, list everyone you know. And trust me when I say Asher wants you to list everyone. List your family members, your friends, your family members’ friends, your friends’ family members, your dog walker — everyone. Don’t stop there. List the groups and associations you belong to in real life and online, and then start making contact with the individuals in these groups. You get a job by talking to people, and Asher has plenty of stories of people finding work because someone — and it’s always the person you’d least expect — had a vital piece of information that led to a job.

Third, list any ideas for leads that occur to you as you listen to the news or read. Asher suggests doing things like finding out what businesses in your area have recently signed new leases — a sign that business is booming.

Your goal is to create a list of 100 leads, which you will maintain at all times. Once you pursue a lead to its conclusion, you’ll need to replace it on the list. According to Asher, telemarketers claim to get a yes about 4% of the time, so having 100 leads means you should get 4 job offers along the way.

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A Systematic Approach to Job-Hunting: Step 1

Donald Asher’s first step in a job search is identifying job targets. A job target has 3 components: industry, function, and title. Before doing anything, you need to know what job you’re looking for. You will not contort yourself to fit posted jobs; you will  go after the jobs you want.

Go crazy  with your job targets. Sky’s the limit.

I’m a freelancer, but if I were looking for old-fashioned employment, my job target would be publishing/editorial/editor.

Think big during your job search. What else would you love to do? At one time, I thought about the fitness industry, but after looking into it, I found out that I would need to spend time and money getting certified, and I’d rather put that time and money into my professional development as an editor. Although I love fitness and nutrition, I’m probably better off keeping them as a hobbies.

There is, however, another target I dream about. Actually, it’s more like a venue. Okay, it IS a venue: Rogers Centre. How cool would it be to hang out there all day, and if I happened to cross paths with the odd Blue Jay, well… let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

I’m thinking maybe  groundskeeper, dome operator, bat/ball girl… You get the drift. Definitely not interested in admin at Rogers Centre. I was in the offices one day, and you wouldn’t believe the questions people were calling with — I felt the pain of the receptionist. From her end of the conversation, I could tell people were calling about game schedules, parking, seating. Who needs the Internet when a land line is available?!

To clearly identify my job targets with Rogers Centre, I’d need to do a little research. I’d check out the company website, of course.  But when you want to break into a new industry, you may not know the job title you’re looking for. One resource to identify job targets is the National Occupation Classification. Also check out professional associations. Here are more helpful sites:

Dream a little (or big!) dream, do some research, and come up with 2 to 3 job targets.

You’re on your way to successful employment.

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A Systematic Approach to Job-Hunting

I recently discovered the books of career expert Donald Asher. In Cracking the Hidden Job Market, Asher offers a step-by-step approach to conducting a job search. The approach has 7 steps:

  1. Identify job targets
  2. Identify raw leads
  3. Convert raw leads into lists of names of specific people
  4. Turn a name into an appointment
  5. Sell in the interview
  6. Stay alive through the selection process
  7. Close the deal

So assuming you have your resumé updated and ready to go, and you know how to write a cover letter, it’s time to get this party started. My next post will deal with step 1.

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Stay-at-Home Parents and Prisoners

I’m back after a summer of baseball, beach days, and burnt marshmallow ice cream (from Ed’s — mmm) followed by ACL surgery as soon as the kids were back in school. It’s been 20 days since surgery, and, though I have a long road of physio ahead of me, things are getting back to normal.

I’ve continued to peruse lots of career books. The best by far has been Cracking the Hidden Job Market by Donald Asher. His advice is practical and straightforward and immediately resonated with me. He confirms that the most important thing to do as a job hunter — and this is true for freelancers, too — is to talk to people, talk to people, talk to people. Amusingly, he states that stay-at-home parents and prisoners have a similar problem: they have a career emergency. The best thing to do is to “bounce”: find a job — any job — in your industry to gain experience and show off your skills, and then constantly seek a better position.

After reading Asher, I’ve renewed my resolve to network.

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The Cold, Cold Call

I’m getting better at tailoring my resumé for specific companies and sending it out, but career counsellors still push the cold call. When you’re an introvert, the cold call is chilly indeed. I said last week that I would make my first cold call by Friday; it’s now Wednesday. The Wednesday after.

I attempted to make my first cold call today to a large company that I like. I’ve used their services before, and I’d really love to have them as a client. What better company could there possibly be to lose my cold call virginity to? Today was the day. Of course, I waited until the last minutes of the work day to make the call. I wrote down a couple of lines of opening dialogue on my notepad and dialed. My pulse quickened.

The phone began to ring, and … it went straight to voice mail.

I actually called a couple more times thinking I’d leave a message, but I didn’t. I sent in my resumé by email instead.

I’ll do another cold call tomorrow — I promise.

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(Y)eGod(s)! (editorial Gaffe of the day)

Nothing strikes terror through the heart of an editor like the sudden bolt out of the blue when you realize, belatedly ‘natch, that you’ve made a mistake. This happened to me a few minutes ago.

I’ve been sending out my cover letter and resumé via email. In the email message, I write, “My cover letter and resume are attached.” And that’s where my slothful ways are laid bare: with resume. Back in the day, when I first started using word processing software, I never realized that characters with accents were readily available for use. I used to simply spell the word sans accent — what’s the big deal, right? Well, it looks lazy, and, without the accent, the word is incorrectly spelled.

FYI, to make the e in resumé, use CTRL + ‘ and then e. I won’t be omitting accents again.

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Filed under job-hunting, spelling, words with accents