Tuesday, 23 April 2019

How Important Are Keywords In Your Job Search?

Case Manager Job Description  - www.allycareersolutions.com

Keywords are the skills, abilities, credentials, and qualities that a hiring manager is looking for in a candidate. They indicate to the hiring manager that you are qualified for the position.

Keywords play a significant role in your job search and your marketing documents including your résumé, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile. They are used by Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and recruiters to identify appropriate candidates for specific positions.

Where do you find keywords? They can be found in the specific job posting, in job descriptions, on the company website, and on the company LinkedIn page. Categories of keywords include industry, location, job title, industry-specific skills, certifications, tools, technology, company names, and job type.

Include keywords in the sentence structure of your marketing documents. Typically, hard skill keywords are used to search candidate applications and online profiles. If having a particular skill or credential is essential to the position, the hiring manager will start with those keywords to identify possible candidates. Soft skill keywords generally are considered secondary and are more important when it comes to determining the fit between yourself and the organizational culture.

I incorporate soft skill keywords more so in the cover letter and career profile section of the résumé, as well as in the LinkedIn summary. Soft skill keywords describe your qualities and your working style. The 10 main categories of soft skill keywords are attention to detail, communication, teamwork, adaptability, problem-solving, creativity, work ethic, interpersonal skills, time management, and leadership.

One of the tools that I use to help me visualize the keywords from the various sources is word clouds. There are a number of free software word cloud applications available online. One I use is www.tagcrowd.com. All you have to do is copy and paste the job description into the text box and click visualize. The words are displayed by size according to how often they are repeated in the job description. The largest words are the ones repeated most often in the text. It provides a quick visual check as to what words are important to the employer.

If you are more creative and want to play around with various shapes, font styles, colours and other criteria you can check out www.wordart.com. This is the software I used to prepare the word cloud for a Case Manager role displayed above.

If you require any assistance in incorporating keywords into your marketing documents and LinkedIn profile, contact elaine@allycareersolutions.com for help with harnessing the power of keywords!

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

7 Survival Tips for Working Remotely While Travelling

With the availability of the internet in remote countries and locations, you can continue to work and stay in touch with your customers and co-workers. If you are on the road travelling, these 7 tips can help make your work experience more efficient, effective, and successful:

  1. Check the electrical requirements of your destination country, make sure you have a 3 prong adapter for your laptop.
  2. Research the time difference, download a time zone app on your phone/laptop,  like Time Buddy to keep track of online meeting times, webinars, and other appointments. Pay particular attention if the time difference is 12+ hours which can push activities into the next day.
  3. Set up and test how you are going to communicate before leaving, download your chosen apps, like WhatsApp or Viber; set up and test your video communication like Zoom or Google Hangout.
  4. Always include your electronic devices in your carry-on luggage to reduce any possible damage or loss.
  5. When booking your accommodations, pay particular attention to the availability and quality of the available internet. Refer to recent reviews from sites like TripAdvisor to see if any recent guests commented on their internet experience. I would highly recommend including a travel router, also known as a portable WiFi router to help with poor internet reception. A backup plan could include purchasing an Internet SIM card.
  6. Schedule your work routine when you are the most productive. This will enable you to enjoy the sights and culture of the local area.
  7. Carry a pen and pocket notebook to jot down any critical information or use the note function on your cell phone.

Do you have any tips to add to my list or interesting travel/work stories that you would like to share?  If so, add them in the comment section below or send them to elaine@allycareersolutions.com    
Happy travelling......

Friday, 21 December 2018

How To Manage Career Transition Over The Holidays

Make a plan to optimize your job search efforts over the holidays.  Research events that are happening in your area, use sites such as www.eventbrite.ca, local Chamber of Commerce, business associations, and community groups.   Book them into your calendar.

Set Your Goals to meet and speak with at least 3 people at each event. Be prepared to respond to the question " what do you do? " by stating your skills or interests, such as "I manage IT systems to enhance the users experience" or " I am a budding pastry chef ", whatever is true for you. You never know who you will meet.  If appropriate, you can ask to connect with them online via LinkedIn to keep the conversation going!

Volunteering for a special event or joining a service organization is another way to boost spirits and engage with the community. It is a great way to meet new people and expand your network, as well as provide structure to your routine.  Giving back can be so rewarding on many different levels.

Currently, there is a call out for job search volunteers to assist with a 3-week study being undertaken by Seneca College in collaboration with the Career Professionals of Canada. The purpose of the study is to assess the benefits of hypnosis in reducing career-related stress. If you are interested, you can learn more at https://careerprocanada.ca/research-study-hypnosis-and-job-search-stress/

Work the Plan by showing up at each event prepared to meet new people, knowing that you have lots to offer. Connect with them on social media to let them know that you appreciated talking with them. Arrange a follow up meeting, if you identified some common ground during your conversation. 

By making and implementing a job search plan over the holidays, you can expand your network. One of your new contacts may very well refer you to your next employment opportunity. What a great way to start 2019!

If you have any questions or comments, contact elaine@allycareersolutions.com

Monday, 12 November 2018

7 Tips You Need To Know to Accelerate Your Career

I had a question from a recent post-secondary graduate. He had obtained an entry-level position in his chosen field and wanted some advice about how to kick-start his career.
  1. Get help from a certified career development professional, if you need assistance with identifying your career goals, creating and or managing a career plan.
  2. Commit your career goals to paper, this process helps make them real.
  3. Create a timeline to achieve your goals including the specific steps for each time period.
  4. Re-visit your career goals periodically, every 3, 6 or 12 months to assess how you are doing.
  5. Identify any weaknesses you may possess.  Knowing what areas you struggle with will enable you to put supports in place to successfully achieve your goals.
  6. Be a continuous learner, take the initiative to look both inside and outside your organization for skill building opportunities. Be willing to invest in yourself - time and money to enhance your skills.
  7. Build relationships with other professionals in your field to share information, resources, and industry trends. Join professional associations and groups, find a mentor.

Career development is defined as " the lifelong process of managing: learning; work; leisure; and transitions in order to move toward a personally determined and evolving preferred future."

November 12 -16th is National Career  Development Week.  A good time to create and or reflect upon your career plan. By engaging in and taking responsibility for your own career development, you can achieve your goals!

Contact elaine@allycareersolutions.com for one on one career coaching. 

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Never Under Estimate the Power of the Thank You Note

One of my career coaching clients asked me if she should send a thank you note after the interview. My response was, yes! 

She had been interviewed for a term teaching position and was 1 of 2 people selected from the substitute list. Teaching is a very competitive field and it is an arduous process to obtain a full-time position.  Taking appropriate action to differentiate yourself from other candidates is a must.

Sending a thank you note or email after the interview serves 3 primary purposes:
  1. Let's the interviewer(s) know that you appreciated their time and the opportunity to meet them.
  2. Reminds them of the skills, knowledge, and experience that you can contribute to their team.
  3. Reiterates your interest in the position and demonstrates your thoroughness.

In my client's case, the "thank you" email added to her overall professional impression.  The interviewers specifically commented on the fact that she made the effort to send the thank you when contacting her with the employment offer.

Adding a thank you note to your job search process provides another opportunity for contact with the decision makers. It can also open the door for further discussions with the organization, should you not be the successful candidate for the immediate opportunity. Either way, the thank you note can be a powerful tool to add to your job search.

If you need assistance with job search strategies, contact elaine@allycareersolutions.com to book a complimentary discovery call.