The best present of all

the greatest gift of all

the greatest gift of all

Be open to the present! “How to create unexpected opportunities”

With Black Friday signaling the upcoming holidays, it’s easy to start worrying about the job market in the New Year or reminiscing about how your job search efforts went in the past. While it’s hard to keep your mind in the present, you may miss potential job prospects.

It’s sounds like a paradox but you need to construct unexpected career opportunities. This concept is summed up in what John D. Krumboltz calls “Planned Happenstance.”

As an example of this theory, Krumboltz uses the story of high-powered professional sports agent, Leigh Steinberg. You remember the movie Jerry McGuire? Well, it’s based on Leigh’s life and career, most of which he chalks up to “pure, random chance.” But was it really random? Did he in fact manufacture his future career, albeit unknowingly, through a series of circumstances and choices?

In an interview Leigh recounts how it all started while attending the University of California at Berkeley while studying environmental law in the early 70’s. As luck would have it a freshman football team moved into his dormitory and after befriending several students he ended up eventually representing Steve Bartkowski, at his request, in contract negotiations with the Atlanta Falcons and well the rest as they say is history…. If you look closely at Leigh’s story you’ll realize that what happened wasn’t really “pure, random chance” but a set of circumstances that Leigh choose to act on, setting aside his own fears, he grabbed the opportunity before him.

You’re probably asking yourself how do I create these types of opportunities? Well, first you’ll need to develop 5 important skills:

Curiosity
Explore new learning opportunities. Take a course, try a new idea talk to insiders you would never have talked to before.

Persistence
Even when things get hard you need to re-exert your efforts and try again.

Flexibility
With emerging technology and changes in the workplace you need to adapt. For example, if a strategy in your job-search isn’t working, change your tactics.

Optimism
You need to keep positive and believe that you can attain your goals.

Risk-taking
Take a page from Leigh and go for something even if it’s risky, sometimes it’s in the process of trying that opportunities happen.

Now you’ll be able to say “show me the money!” sooner than you think!

Elaine Logie is an Employment Advisor at the Career Foundation and frequent MCACESBlogger. MCACESBlogs is series of posts aimed at helping job seekers with their respective paths. Be sure to follow our blog today!

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EEEEEK! Are you a scary Networker?!?!?!

Ever wonder how you come across to others while networking? Don’t you wish you could take a potion and become a network sorcerer or wizard, the likes of which has never been seen? Maybe a little eye of newt or wing of bat will do the trick? Well probably not…thankfully networking doesn’t require magic; just a few simple tricks to keep you from being one of the creatures that go bump in the night!

Frankenstein
Speaking of bumping …try not to network like you’re all thumbs and awkward to boot! So how do you avoid dropping your drink on a company CEO or inadvertently elbowing a server? If possible go to the event venue early before the crowds, look around, check out the guest list and then come back later. It helps to know your surroundings so you’ll feel more comfortable, plus nothings worse then not being able to find the washroom.

Mummy

What kind of scary networker are you?

What kind of scary networker are you?


You’ve finally got a chance to chat with an important contact, when suddenly the conversation starts to unravel, what do you do? Easy! Rise to the challenge and ask them about an upcoming trend in their field. You’ll show them you’re not ancient but on top of the latest information while gaining valuable insight into their opinions to better tailor your marketing strategy. Plus, everyone feels flattered when you take a genuine interest in his or her thoughts.

Vampire
Don’t suck the life out of a room! Pause between breathes and allow your other networkers to speak, it’s often in the pauses that “real” information can be gathered. Good listening skills show others that you have consideration for their ideas and opinions.

Zombie
It’s true that most people go to networking events to pick each other people’s brains but don’t go overboard and treat it like a buffet! Gently ask people questions, your not interrogating a helpless subject but sharing valuable information. Remember conversations are a two-way street, plus by sharing you’ll show others you’re not just out for yourself.

Ghost
Hey wallflower…yeah I’m talking to you! Try not to shrink away from the crowds and disappear into the scenery. If it helps take a friend, even if they aren’t really there to network they can offer some moral support… just don’t hang on them for dear life!

Now that you’ve tricked yourself into not focusing on the horrors of networking, the chances it’ll be a treat instead. Happy Halloween!

Elaine Logie is a student of the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College and MCACESBlogs blogger. MCACESBlogs is a series of posts, tips and musings for job seekers and their respective networks. Follow our blog and be less scared of the job search process. Happy reading! Happy Halloween!

The one thing you should be thankful for…

As the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend has come and gone, we lethargically dust ourselves off, find a forgiving pair of pants and go back to the daily grind of life.

What does your life entail? It could be a turkey pot pie of work, family, education, volunteering …and all of those layers in between.

We forge on, back to old habits, seemingly managing routines without giving conscious thought to who we’ve become, how we got there, and how the hell we’re going to fit back into our normal clothes.

If you’re reading this post, I encourage you to pause for a moment.

Pause, and give thanks to the MVPs within your network.

“How do I do that?”

Think about your accomplishments as well as your failures. Who has been there for you? For the wins? The losses? Both?

Your MVPS can be anyone–a sibling, an educator, supervisor, mentor or friend.

Give thanks to these key players in your life.

These are the people who believed in you long before you believed in yourself.

“What if it’s been a long time? I feel awkward!”

Know that taking quality time out of your chaos to acknowledge others is almost always welcome.

Expressing gratitude takes a minimal amount of time and hardly costs any money. And, by doing so, you are setting a fantastic example for your peers.

A phone call, email, text message, written note—in the time it takes you to heat up leftovers, you can thank a network MVP.

So, with that said, it’s time to practice what I’ve been preaching!

Twelve years ago to this day, two very special people took a chance on me. In spite of my protests, I began a job that many thought should not have been created in the first place.

From these two amazing women, I learned many things. Most important, I learned to the power of internal strength—the courage to stand up for what I felt strongly about, and the poise to do so with diplomacy.

Thank you for being my MVPs.

Without you, I’d be a turkey without any gravy or stuffing.

Lidia Siino’s background is in career development, communications, adult learning and facilitation. With a Diploma in Journalism and Certificates in Career Consultant, Workplace Leadership and Teaching the Adult Learner programs through Mohawk College, she enjoys teaching these topics to adult learners.
She has spent over 12 years as an Employment and Communications Specialist for MCACES, the Mohawk College Association of Continuing Education Students.
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Job Fair Not-So Confidential

If you’re heading to a Job Fair, be sure to read this blog post. Job Fair advice from an Employment Advisor and Recruiter’s perspective.

ABC: Alumni Blog Connection

photo credit: Senator Mark Warner via photopin cc photo credit: Senator Mark Warner

Job Fair season is now upon us! There is nothing quite like a Job Fair to size up competition and brush up on your own professional acumen.

Essentially, Job Fairs represent a professional one-night stand. Whether you are looking for work, more work or better work,  attending Job Fairs is a fantastic way to see what’s out there without making any kinds of commitments.

As someone who has attended Job Fairs as both a job seeker and recruiter, I’m happy to provide you with some tips to make you stand out…in a good way.

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Perception & the Employment Interview

You only get one chance to make a good first impression—so don’t mess it up and read one of our most popular Blog posts!!!

mcacesblogs

Job seekers need to remember that your perception is your reality when it comes to the interview process. Many of them may have had some job interviews already and others may not have had quite as much opportunity to experience that part of the hiring process. People learn how to perceive things as they grow up by what they see, experience and hear. For instance, a person’s experiences and how they deal with them will all have an impact on that person’s individual perception. In the world of employment, there will be many opportunities and different ways to perceive a particular situation. Quite often, how a candidate perceives a situation can be completely different from how a recruiter sees them and how they answer the interview questions. Don’t let your become of one of those unprepared candidates. You cannot afford to risk having a poor interview performance in this tough…

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Mentorship is a Two-Way Street

It’s a lot like asking someone to hire you because you need a job. What’s in it for them?!

It’s a lot like
asking someone to hire you because you need a job. What’s in it for them?!

Ask a highly successful person about important milestones on the path to a rewarding
career and he or she will most likely credit the influence and help of a mentor. We can all agree on the value of a mentor, but how to acquire one is not as obvious. Simply approaching a more senior professional that you respect and admire and asking him or her to be your mentor feels awkward and there’s a good reason for that. It’s a lot like asking someone to hire you because you need a job. What’s in it for them?!

From the outside, a mentor may seem akin to a fairy godmother who taps us with her
magic wand and transforms us into more successful versions of ourselves, never asking
for any favours in return. In reality, a true mentorship is much more of a partnership and the benefits have to go both ways.

To illustrate, imagine that you are just starting out in your career and you are being interviewed for internships by two different managers. One of them admits that he doesn’t have a project in mind for you just yet, but that he is happy to hire you anyway and is confident you will have a good learning experience just hanging out with the rest of his group. The other is very keen to hear that you have some of the skills she requires for a project already on the go. Her group is smaller and she really seems to need an extra pair of hands. She lays out what your contribution will be and you are surprised by the level of responsibility you will have. This is definitely not a “make work project”. Which position is more likely to result in a mentorship? !

While there are no guarantees that you will acquire a mentor at critical stages in your career, you can choose to work in environments where mentorships are more likely to flourish. A true mentor will have a vested interest in your success, usually because you are bringing something to the table which increases her chance of success. A two-way street. Win, win.

Caroline Burgess is an Educational Consultant and student of the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College. MCACESBlogs is a series of posts aimed at assisting job seekers and those in career development. Like what you read? Be sure to share our info to your network. Happy reading!