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!

Hamilton Hub for Community Based Resources!

If you’ve been searching for a hub of hamilton community based resources, look no further. My Community Resources provides job seekers, service providers and members of the community with dozens of resources and job postings.

As founder Antony Godwin writes; “My Community Based Resources is a central repository of community resources designed to provide up-to-date and emerging career, labour market and job search information for the benefit of job seekers and/or newcomers. It is also rich in training and second career resources, and contains useful information pertinent to local, non-for-profit, municipal, provincial and federal government departments.”

Information is updated frequently and can be viewed at: http://mycommunityresources.blogspot.ca

Go ahead an bookmark this website, a definite hub resources for Hamiltonians and the surrounding Community.

Antony Godwin is a graduate of the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario. He currently works as an Employment Consultant and has extensive Career Development experience. 

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What’s Your Brand?

I am not an avid Coke drinker by any means but during the holidays I cannot resist purchasing a six pack of those little glass bottles of dark, sweet, caffeinated liquid!  And even though we become inundated with the holiday polar bear commercials, this is not what provokes me into making the purchase, either.

What is it then, you might ask?  Well, it’s the way that those little glass bottles make me feel.  That’s right, drinking soda from glass bottles elicits a feeling of sheer, unadulterated happiness that reminds me of my childhood.

Coca Cola wasn’t even my drink of choice as a kid; it was Cream Soda by The PopShop, for crying out loud!  But, soda in any kind of glass bottle brings me immediately back to the carefree days of my youth when during ‘special occasions, we popped the cap of any icy cold bottle of pop and drank in its syrupy goodness!  So, kudos to Coca Cola and their brilliant job at branding!

Branding is not a product, a logo or a mission statement.  A brand is how a person feels about a product, service or organization.  Strong brands like Apple, Google and Coca Cola are all highly credible, high quality brands that promote a general feeling of trust and security amongst consumers.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you yourself could convey that kind of feeling to an employer?! Well…you CAN!  It’s called Personal Branding.   Start by developing a brief statement that communicates who you are, what you are looking for and how you can benefit an employer.

Often referred to as “the 30 second elevator speech”, this pitch is like a mini commercial about yourself!  Practice this statement often so that it comes across naturally when you are networking or introducing yourself to prospective employers.

Continue to build your brand through a professional resume, a portfolio, and don’t forget your online image!  Be consistent and work to maintain your brand. A strong, clear brand can help you become known for what you are good at and hopefully set you apart from everyone else!

coca cola

“…drinking soda from glass bottles elicits a feeling of sheer, unadulterated happiness that reminds me of my childhood.”

Karen Cake is a student from the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College in Hamilton, ON. For more information about the Career Consultant Certificate Program, or how MCACES helps students with Employment Advisement, please contact Lidia Siino, Program Manager at lidia.siino@mohawkcollege.ca.

Uncovering the mystery of a Good Cover Letter

What does your cover letter say about you?

What does your cover letter say about you?

The secret to writing a good cover letter…it should be customized to each employment posting! The tailored cover letter is the first formal document the employer reads about you.

Uncovering the Mystery:

  • Does your cover letter capture the employer’s interest/attention?
  • Does it connect you to the position?
  • Does it emphasize that you are a perfect fit for the position?
  • Does it convey that you have knowledge about the company?
  • Is it professional in tone and appearance?
  • Have you made a great first impression?
  • Have you included your branding?
  • Is the letter head consistent with what you used on your resume and reference sheet?
  • Is it free of errors?
  • Did you address the cover letter to a specific person?  (and quote the job number)
  • Is it one page in length? (clear and concise)
  • Did you use high-impact accomplishment statements?
  • Did you have a friend or colleague review it?

If you take the time to develop a tailored cover letter which is professional, visually attractive, easy to read and has a good balance you have completed the first step in the process to land yourself an interview with the company you are applying for. Next step for you is a customized…..Resume!

Melanie Graham is a Continuing Education Student currently studying within the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College. MCACES offers a comprehensive Employment Advisement program for our students. For more information about Employment Advisement, please visit the MCACES website, www.mcaces.ca or contact Lidia Siino, Employment & Communications Specialist at Lidia.siino@mohawkcollege.ca.

Keeping the “Confidence-tub” Filled

One year ago around this time my name was called as one of 28 to be laid off from a company which I had invested over 6 years of employment. The feeling that day would equate to pulling up the drain plug on a bathtub filled with warm confidence. Initially I was in shock and in dismay that this had happened, but the bathtub was still warm so not much to worry about. My time with the company had been a good one with its series of gained experiences, and I was confident that they would be of value for the next employment opportunity.

ImageI went through the numb motions of collecting my objects; signing off on severance documents; wishing my other 27 laid off brethren “all the best in their future endeavours” (A saying used as often as a credit card during the Christmas rush!) and finally setting up a meeting with the company appointed career counselor. I did feel a slight chill as I exited the office. I think the level started to drop in the tub. But there was no need to reach for the tap. Why should I? I was “filled” with confidence, and knew the next job was right around the corner.

Days turned into weeks. Weeks turned into months. I was applying to jobs and getting interviews, but nothing concrete as an offer. Some of my ex-colleagues had already moved on with other jobs. Now the “confidence-tub” felt half full. I started questioning my abilities to provide for my family, community, city, province, country, and world! Did anybody not want this valued citizen for his experience and labour abilities? The more I worried and panicked, the lower the level in the tub got. How was I going to help support my family? How much more would I have to endure until the drain got plugged? Would there ever be an end to this?

Just when I thought I heard the echoing rumble of the last bit of my confidence flow down the drain, my career counsellor, was there to help fill the tub again. She guided me in establishing a career path that clearly matched my current skills and competencies. Becoming a Career Counselor was to be the next chapter in my diverse vocational novel.  I became alive! I got active and applied myself through college courses; leadership programs; and volunteering. Each of these gave me a sense of purpose and drive, in building my confidence. The more confident I got, the warmer I felt. The warmer I felt, the more open I was to new opportunities. The confidence-tub was filling up nicely, yet the drain was still open.

At first I was concerned that I would lose my confidence but as time went on I noticed that there were days when my tub was overflowing and filling others. There is no greater feeling than helping someone else when they are low. Oddly enough when I would be having one of those “draining” days, someone was always there with a spoon, cup, bucket, hose, vat, tanker, or other vessel to help out. I began to realize that there was a flow to this confidence.

To this day, the drain still remains unplugged; however it is no longer a concern. I now know that confidence is a life skill attitude which is ACTIVELY developed and used on a daily basis. Confidence is now a labour of love that keeps me moving forward regardless of what obstacles life places in front of me.

My new mantra for filling the confidence-tub?

As the Dos XX man says: “Stay thirsty my friends”.

Christopher Grice is a Continuing Education Student currently studying with the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College. MCACES offers a comprehensive Employment Advisement program for our students. For more information about Employment Advisement, please visit the MCACES website, www.mcaces.ca or contact Lidia Siino, Employment & Communications Specialist at Lidia.siino@mohawkcollege.ca.

I Object to Objectives!

When we talk about building a résumé we refer to prime real estate space and how to use it effectively. The common fear is that you have so much to put on your résumé and only two pages to complete the task and yet you use up at least four lines including spaces with an objective that isn’t going to assist you with getting an interview.  Why you ask?

How much thought did you put into your objective?

Is it the same one you use for all the job postings?

Do you object to objectives?

Do you object to objectives?

Have you customized it to the current company you are applying to?

Is it even relevant to the position you are applying for?

Is it a selling feature for you?

Does it peek the employer’s interest in reading more?

Wow, and to think this is at the very top of your résumé which is the most prime real estate going in a résumé. Would this space have been put to better use? Now that I have your complete attention, let’s look at what to include in an Objective.

When writing an objective, indicate the level or type of position you are seeking and the skills you want to use in the position. It provides an opportunity for you to give some indication to describe and customize why you are the perfect candidate for the job! Ask yourself, what makes you stand out from the rest?

Otherwise I will stick with the statement that I object to objectives! Leave it off and don’t waste the space!

Melanie Graham is a Continuing Education Student currently studying with the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College. MCACES offers a comprehensive Employment Advisement program for our students. For more information about Employment Advisement, please visit the MCACES website, www.mcaces.ca or contact Lidia Siino, Employment & Communications Specialist at Lidia.siino@mohawkcollege.ca.