#110 - 198 East Island Hwy, Parksville, BC V9P 2H3      Tel. 250.248.3205   Fax. 250.248.4154

Tip of the month

July Tip of the Month

For most industries, RESUMES matter, but few of us actually enjoy writing them. However, learning how to write an effective resume can make all the difference in not only screening you in as a candidate, but also moving you to the top of the candidate’s list. An effective resume can be a game changer. Here are a few tips for writing a more effective resume:

Relevant Information- you usually only get one chance to make a first impression, so the information that you lead in with on your resume is vital. It is best practice if the first page of your resume includes the most important and relevant information to the job. The top third of the first page is “valuable real estate”, so be strategic with what is highlighted in this section! Writing an objective is not always the best use of “real estate.” Consider changing your objective to Highlight of Qualifications section or a Professional Summary, depending on your industry and employment goals.

Elaborate- tell the potential employer what makes you good at your job, what makes you shine- include some detail. For example: “Proficient in the use of computers” can become, “Proficient in the use of Microsoft operating systems, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and…”

Success- talk about your successes and accomplishments in previous employment, rather than responsibilities. For example, if you’re good at fundraising, tell them what you accomplished, as a result of being good at it: “Coordinated three fundraising events for local shelters that resulted in raising more than $50,000 that went towards services and resources for individuals without stable housing, while improving community awareness.” This tells the employer more about you and what you’re capable of, as opposed to saying, “Was responsible for coordinating all community events.”

Update as Needed- make sure you update your resume with current information. Update your resume on a regular basis as “general” resumes are a thing of the past. Resumes need to be adjusted, reworded and sometimes reorganized, depending on the job you are applying for. Applicants need to provide a resume tailored for each job, that makes it as easy as possible for the employer to screen you through. This includes education, training, employment, skills, and even links to up-to-date LinkedIn profiles.

Market Yourself- some of us have difficulty talking about ourselves, whether in person or on paper. Your resume is not the place to hold back and be humble. This doesn’t mean you need to be boastful or exaggerate, but it is essential to include information, skills, education and accomplishments that let potential employers know, exactly what you have to offer and how you would be an asset to them.

Eliminate Irrelevant Information- only keep in the information that is relevant to the job for which you are applying. Including information on skills or previous employment experience not related to the position you are currently applying for actually makes your resume less effective. More is not necessarily better.

June Tip of the Month

Acing Your Interview

You’ve submitted your application and you just got the call! You have been invited for an interview and you couldn’t be happier…except now you need to think about the interview itself. Here are some strategies to help you put your best foot forward, so you are prepared.

Ask questions – when the employer calls you for an interview, this is a great time to ask:

  • Who will be conducting the interview? Is it a panel interview, with more than one person?
  • Do you need to bring anything with you? Portfolio? Copies of certificates? References?
  • When and where will the interview take place?
  • How long can you expect the interview to last?

Thank the employer for calling and inviting you to the interview. Ensure you have contact details of the person who will be interviewing you, in the event you run into traffic, or something else comes up that day and you need to call the interviewer right away.

Prepare – you have already done some preliminary research on the company, when you applied for the position, so now is the time to dig deeper.

  • Research the position as much as you can, and definitely research the company/organization so you can speak to their values, mission statement or projects
  • Find out the dress code, and definitely dress for success – in fact, select your outfit in advance, and set it out the night before your interview
  • Go to bed early, wake up early, and practice some breathing exercises (or preferred relaxation technique)

Think about interview questions – do some research online, or attend Acing the Interview for an interactive way to prepare.

  • Go over any awkward questions in advance
  • Practice with a friend, family member or Employment Consultant
  • Know what is on your resume and be able to speak to your specific skills and abilities
  • Think of some examples when asked situational questions – be sure to leave out personal information though
  • Prepare some questions you have for the employer

Get organized – you have already asked what to bring with you. Make sure you bring a copy of your resume and cover letter (even though the employer has it), bring a print out of your references, your portfolio, if applicable, and any certificates that are required for the job.

Plan your time accordingly. Are you driving? If so, find out how long it should take you and where you will park. Leave early to give yourself time for unexpected setbacks. If you are taking transit, research the schedule and know your route. Create a back-up plan if possible. Try to not book anything immediately after your interview, in the event it runs longer.

Remember to be yourself – you have been invited for the interview because the employer likes what you have presented on your resume and cover letter, so now is your chance to impress them with your unique self. Believe that you are the right person for the job!

Follow-up after the interview. Thank the employer by sending a note, email or by making a friendly phone call to express your appreciation for the opportunity. Follow up within a week (or your predetermined time) to let the employer know you are still interested. Follow-ups not only demonstrate that you mean business, but it also leaves the door open for a possible second interview if the employer is struggling to make a decision.

May Tip of the Month

 

In todays’ job market, it can be challenging for youth to find a job when they may not have a lot of experience in the workforce.  In May’s Tip of the Month, we talk about tools youth can use to land an interview.

Best Practices for Getting an Interview

A strong resume and cover letter is your best way to get an interview. Read the job posting carefully and tell your potential employer you have the specific knowledge, experience, or skills that they are looking for.

Focus on any skills and attributes you have that best relate to the position. For example if you were applying for a serving position, you could tell your potential employer that you believe in offering excellent customer service ensuring repeat business, have positive client comment cards from a previous job, have a positive attitude and problem solving skills, and/or that you are calm in a fast paced or pressure filled environment. If you tell them about your experience in planting trees and landscaping, they will move on to another resume that focuses on the skills they are looking for, so make certain your resume focuses on skills related to THAT PARTICULAR JOB.  Don’t forget to do a little research on the business you are applying to. Reflecting knowledge of a companies values or how they operate, shows you take the time to get informed.

When you are confident your cover letter and resume are complete, make certain it’s spell-checked and reviewed by someone else (very important!), a fresh pair of eyes can help catch mistakes that otherwise may get your resume put into the ‘No’ pile.

If you are applying somewhere local (and the employer has not stated in the job posting that they do not want any phone calls or drop ins), consider dropping off your resume in person. If you make a good impression this can up your chances of being considered for the job. When dropping off a resume and cover letter in person, make certain to do a few key things…

  1. Ask to Speak to the Hiring Manager

If you just drop your resume off at the front desk you won’t get a chance to meet the person who may be in charge of hiring.  If you ask to meet them it shows confidence and a ‘take charge’ attitude.  The Hiring Manager will notice that you took a few extra minutes to do so.

  1. Smile!

It’s easy to be intimidated by introducing yourself to someone who may hold the key to your future paycheque.  Just remember they are human too, and at some point they likely had to go through the same job hunting process as you.  Smile, introduce yourself and shake their hand.  Being polite and courteous goes a long way.

  1. Talk a Little

You don’t want to make your potential new employer miss their lunch break while you verbally highlight all of your qualifications, but you also don’t want to introduce yourself, hand them your resume, and experience an awkward silence.  Have something to say planned in advance. ‘Hi my name is Katy and I was excited to hear about your job posting for a Server, as my skills would make me a great fit with ‘insert business name here’.’  Feel free to follow up with a question as it shows you are genuinely interested and curious. ‘I wanted to introduce myself and ask when you were planning on doing interviews.’  Having a conversation will make you more memorable, and can give your potential employer a lot of information about you; namely that you are polite, well spoken, well dressed, confident and interested.

  1. Dress for the Part

Proper hygiene and business casual clothes can really help you stand out.  No need to go overboard, focus on the basics: being clean, hair neat, wearing dress pants or a modest skirt, and a button down top.  The clothing style is optional, just make certain it’s not too casual, it’s free of stains and rips and in good condition, (shoes too).

These tips can help youth find employment, but above all remember it’s a process and we are here to help! Come visit us at the Career Centre for more information.

April Tip of the Month

You are at the Hiring Fair, now what?

The Career Centre Hiring Fair takes place on Thursday, April 12 from 12 -4pm at the Parksville Community and Conference Centre.

When you arrive at the Hiring Fair, take some time to get familiar with the layout, take a walk around the entire venue and see where everything is and locate the employers you would like to meet.  Make a list of all the employers you would like talk to.  In order to get some practice, start with an employer that is not at the top of your list and introduce yourself to them.  The more you do it the more comfortable you will be when it comes time to introduce yourself to that #1 employer you came to meet.

When you get to the employers table, be aware that some of the people who are there to speak with you can be owners, hiring managers, or even staff.  All of these people may be asking you questions, but you can also ask them questions about the work environment, skills and training needed, etc.

When you meet a prospective employer, start by introducing yourself.  Employers would really like to know who you are and are happy to see you there.  It is an opportunity to make a positive impression.   A simple introduction is all that is necessary at this point.  For example,

“Hi, my name is _____, I am happy to meet you today, I am interested in your company/business/organization!”

It is common to offer a handshake during introductions.

You should have done some research about the company beforehand and have a good idea of what type of position you would be interested in.   A good next step would be to give them a little more detail about what type of work you are looking for and what value you would bring to their company.  Here is an example:  “I am very interested in spending the summer working in a busy hotel where I will have an opportunity to meet people and make sure they have a positive experience while there are visiting our beautiful community.  I have taken some hospitality related courses and certifications and am excited to get to work using what I learned.”

Remember to listen carefully to their questions.   Spend some time beforehand reviewing typical interview questions and practicing your answers.  Enthusiasm and a confident, positive attitude are the key tools at an interview.  Know what they need to know about and when you have the interview make sure that you get those points across.  Provide short, positive answers to the questions and add a selling point whenever you can.  Always be truthful and answer questions to expose your accomplishments.

 

You did homework on the employers, so make sure that you thought of a couple of questions to ask them based on the research.  Not something that you could have easily found out by doing a little research.

When you are finished talking to the employer, let them know you would like to follow up with them and what would be the best way to keep in touch – get their contact information. Send a thank you note/card/email to those who interviewed you or whomever you had a good conversation with.

If it has been an actual interview they should be telling you what happens next such as when they expect to make their decision. If they don’t tell you, ask.  Or you can ask when you follow up.

Take some time to meet some other job seekers at the fair as well.  This is another way to enrich your network.  Keep in touch with any contacts you have made.

Even if the company doesn’t have a position for you, there could be other openings and opportunities in the future.  Show that you are interested and contact them once a month.

Be sure to take some time during the day for yourself, it can become overwhelming.  Step outside for some fresh air, have some snacks and drinks with you to replenish your energy, be sure to take some deep breaths.  Try to have fun!

 

 

 

 

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#110-198 East Island Hwy
Parksville, BC V9P 2H3
Tel. 250.248.3205
Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 8:30am-4:30pm