Are you a sugarplum, rum ball or candy cane?

Admit tingly this post required a bit of research, first off I honestly didn’t know what sugarplums were, apparently they were a popular Christmas treat in 16th century England and are basically stewed plums in sugar cane cooked to gooey perfection…sounds pretty yummy! So now the big question, when job searching what are you most like? A sugarplum, rum ball or candy cane? It’s a question for the ages! Take this sweet questionnaire and find out:

1. Do thoughts of you keep dancing in an employer’s head long after an interview?

A)   No, I just hang around and see what happens

B)   Yes, I make sure I send a positive thank you card and follow up later

C)   I’m not sure, I can’t remember!

 

 2.  Are you multifaceted and have many different colourful skills to offer?

A)   Yes, I have many skills and I’m always looking to add more to my repertoire

B)   No, I don’t have a lot of skills but what I have has stood the test of time

C)   I have a sprinkling of skills here and there but only on the surface

 

3.  When you’re not offered a job do you tend to stew about it or hook up with new opportunities?

A)   I figure it just wasn’t the right fit and use the chance to catch the interviewers attention and ask how to improve my skills

B)   Yes, I stew and think constantly about what happened

C)   I just roll with the punches!

 

4.  Do you leave your job search space a big ol’ sticky mess or do you make sure that everything is hanging in its proper place?

A)   In my space everything has it’s spot. I use a job search and network-tracking sheet. You just never know when you might get a call for an interview!

B)   Yeah I have papers everywhere but my memory is good and I can recall information when needed

C)   I’m a bit messy but at least it’s all in one spot!

 

5. Are you able to fit into many different situations or are you relegated to only one type of environment?

A)   Yes I’m adaptable and can move from site to site if needed

B)   No I can only be in a specific place and don’t feel comfortable in situations outside my element

C)   I’m adaptable and can roll from one thing to another within reason of course!

 

Well this is not exactly a scientific questionnaire, but if you answered mainly:

A) You’re a candy cane; you’re minty fresh and up for anything!

B) You’re a sugarplum baby! And although not exactly current or neat you’ve stood the test of time

C) You’re a rum ball; you know how to keep your cool no matter what!

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5 Reasons why you need to job search during the holidays!

Most people stop job searching around the holidays, but really this is a big mistake! This time of year is the best for job searching; in fact, I’ve started several jobs during November and December. Here are just a few reasons why this is a great time to make a name for yourself:

 Less competition

Everyone is so busy that they aren’t paying as close attention to the job market, this is your chance to swoop in and land that interview!

 Networking opportunities

Holiday parties are some of the best places to network. Everyone is more relaxed and giving. I’m not sure if it’s just me but generally, albeit the day before Christmas, people are friendlier and more open to talking to strangers.

 A Slower pace

Unless you work in retail, this is a slower time when employers might actually have time to speak with you. Vary rarely do companies initiate new projects during December since staff can’t fully commit with holiday time and seasonal gatherings to attend.

 Laying the groundwork

Even if you don’t score an interview you are still laying the groundwork for continuing to develop your contacts in the New Year. Don’t miss out on making a good impression and then following up afterwards.

 Practice! Practice! Practice!

With a chance to see more of friends and family members comes the opportunity to get help with interview questions or elevator speeches. The trick is to make it fun…maybe like charades! In a more relaxed atmosphere everyone may come up with some unique or novel approaches to tricky questions.

 Most importantly don’t give up; your skills are a gift waiting to be appreciated by the next deserving company! 

 

Elaine Logie is a MCACES Blogger and student of the Career Consultant Certificate Program. MCACESBlogs is a series of posts aimed at job seekers and their peers with all sorts of tools and techniques for job search. Like what you read? Be sure to follow our blog today and pass it on! MCACES is always on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mcacesjobsearch

ImageHappy reading!

The 12 days of job searching…and a partridge in a pear tree!

Day 1 (Partridge in a pear tree)

Start your network tree!

https://mcacesblogs.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/networking-tree/

Day 2 (Turtle doves)

Work with your wingman to navigate tricky networking situations.

https://mcacesblogs.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/get-a-job-search-wingman/

Day 3 (French hens)

Learn something new, maybe even a new language. Being bilingual in the work place is always an advantage in Canada’s changing cultural landscape.

 Day 4 (Colly birds)

I don’t know what the heck Colly birds are! I always thought it was “calling birds” so I’m going with that! Call your reference people and contacts to let them know you’re looking for work.

Day 5 (Gold rings)

Well not everything that shines is gold and vice versa. Sometimes a position that doesn’t look that good on paper can still lead to other opportunities within the company, remember some jobs are a foot in the door.

Day 6 (Geese-a-laying)

Make sure to lay the groundwork for new network opportunities in the New Year!

Day 7 (Swans-a-swimming)

Keep your head above water, even when things get tough take a break and go for a walk (or swim…)

Day 8 (Maids-a-milking)

Try to milk your network for advice and who knows you might be able to become a protégé to one of your mentors.

https://mcacesblogs.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/whos-on-your-bench/

Day 9 (Ladies dancing)

Keep your feet moving! Look outside the computer “box” so to speak and hit the pavement by visiting businesses in person. A friendly introduction may even get you speaking to the hiring manager!

Day 10 (Lords-a-leaping)

Be open to the unexpected and leap on new opportunities even if they don’t follow your career plan exactly, you just never know where it might lead you.

Day 11 (Pipers piping)

Next time you’re at a networking event, pipe up and let potential contacts know about your unique skills.

Day 12 (Drummers drumming)

Ever heard the saying ‘”dance to the beat of your own drum”?  Well it’s true! Job search strategies are not a one-size fits all solution. Sometimes you have to try different methods to find out what works for you and your industry. 

Is it just me or are there a lot of birds in this song! I had no idea…Happy Holidays Everyone!!

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How to survive holiday parties when you’re out of work

Keeping on budget

Ok other then avoiding BYOB parties there are plenty of other things you can do to stay on budget and still have fun decking the halls.

Here’s a few suggestions to keep you on track

  1. Go with a friend and offer to split the “gift” then skip on the bill cause that’s what friends are for right? JUST KIDDING! If you do that you’re sure to get a lump of coal from Santa!
  2. Bring something handmade or re-gift (just make sure you remember who gave the original item or things could get awkward)
  3. Offer to help with cooking or other tasks before the other guests arrive
  4. Ask if the host or hostess would be open to an “exchange” party, like a cookie exchange. That way you won’t have to cook as much and waste money on expensive ingredients, plus you’ll get a variety of cookies to munch on. Just watch the waistline!

Mitigating the mingling

How do you counter the most common and potentially awkward introduction question of all…yeah you know the one! “What do you do?” For starters you definitely don’t want to say “I’m unemployed” or “I’m out of work” It may result in some much-needed sympathy but it could also lead to possible avoidance. Who wants to party with a buzz-kill?

 So how do you handle it?

You can always say: “I’m in-between jobs” or “I’m working on some leads” which sounds much better. As well, if you’re taking classes or upgrading your skills you can mention that too.

But how about taking it up a notch and give an answer that’ll really get the conversation started:

“I’m pursing/looking at new opportunities in my field” 

OR

“I’m exploring work possibilities and open to change”

These answers will open up the conversation so you can talk about your skills and what specifically you’re looking for, which will sound much more proactive and positive. Now who doesn’t want to party with someone like that?

Now grab the eggnog (but not too much!) and have some fun!

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That’s a wrap! “How to survive the holidays on a budget”

So the holidays are just round the corner and you’re not looking forward to having to scrimp and save when it comes to gift giving… but who’s to say being on a budget means you can’t have a little fun showing gratitude to those who count?

Family and Friends

It’s important to show your closest supporters your appreciation for their patience and words of encouragement!

What to give?

You can give a personal “gift” card for various things like helping them shovel snow from their walkway or make them a special dinner or if you’re particularly handy maybe offer to do some DIY work around their place.

Your References

Why give them a gift? It’s simple; by giving a gift to your references you’ll show your appreciation for their support and remind them you’re still looking for work.

What to give?

Make it personal; place the ingredients for your favorite soup mix (with instructions!) in a reusable jar or bowl, or a hot chocolate or mulled spice mix wrapped in a mug. The bulk barn is a great place to get affordable and unique ingredients. You can make a whole care package like this by placing everything in a basket from the dollar or second hand store, then wrap in cellophane and viola you’re done! You can always hand deliver your gift or drop it off at their place of work. By making up your own basket you’ll save a bundle of money!

Your Network

Why give them a gift? Similar to your references you want to remind them that you’re looking and available to work.

What to give?

For your network, it’s usually better to keep it simple. Either create homemade cards, or if you’re not particularly crafty pick up a few cards at your local dollar or discount store.

And remember by showing appreciation when it counts you’ll keep yourself off the naughty list!

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Your Holiday Job Search

It’s holiday time and whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah or Diwali it’s a time where the daily grind pauses and people come together to celebrate with family and friends. Attention shifts from work or looking for work to celebrations and gift giving. Does this mean you should pack up and shelve the job search until the New Year? The answer is ‘no’. While it can be refreshing and rejuvenating to connect with family and friends, this can also be an important time to focus on your job searching efforts. Many people assume companies do not hire in December, so it is common for job seekers to stop looking for work. In fact, I have had two jobs in my career that have started in December so I am living proof that the hiring process never stops.

If you think about it, since many people stop job searching until the New Year, competition for jobs during this time automatically dwindles. You speak to any Employment Counsellor and you will hear the same thing; in your job search where competition is fierce you must make yourself stand out, in a good way, to employers. You want to narrow the competition. Perfect! With many job seekers taking themselves out of the running for jobs during this time of year the competition is narrowed for you automatically.  And there are more positions out there than what you may think. Many companies are aware of their hiring needs for the next year and want to get any hiring out of the way by the end of this year so they can take their holidays. Take advantage of it!

How do you find out about these job opportunities? You can avail yourself to the usual suspects- looking for work using newspapers or online methods. But think about it. What happens most around this time of year? Holiday parties! So, put your networking skills to good use and talk to people about your job search. For the most part you will be mingling with family and friends so since you already know most of the people there the networking becomes a little easier. You never know the connections your cousin with whom you haven’t spoken to all year has with other people who may be hiring. Now I’m not suggesting you hound people and mention it over and over again that you are looking for work. You must be reasonable about it or else you risk being referred to as the crazy, tipsy and ‘desperate for a job’ person.  I’m just saying that by mentioning your job search in a sentence or two will be enough to plant the seed to those you were talking to.

If all else fails and you get no leads over the holidays, take the time to revamp the resume, practice interviewing or schedule information interviews for the New Year. Volunteer! It’s a great way to meet new people, exposure yourself to new experiences (that can add to your resume) and it’s another way to network.

Use this time wisely! It can result in one of the best gifts you can get this year- a job.

Carrie Marino is a student from the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Follow our MCACESblogs for the latest tips and techniques to improve your work search! For more information about MCACESblogs, or the Career Consultant Certificate Program, please contact Lidia Siino, Professional Development & Communications Specialist at lidia.siino@mohawkcollege.ca 

The holidays are a perfect time to search for work!

The holidays are a perfect time to search for  work! Start now!