Tuesday, 14 April 2020

How To Make The Most Out Of The COVID-19 Experience

We are all familiar with the real estate saying – “location, location, location” and how significant a factor it is when making a wise investment in your home or business.  Never has “routine, routine, routine” been a wiser investment in your life and mental health, than at this moment in time. Colleagues, clients, friends, and family I have talked to are feeling the stress of the uncertainty that currently exists.

COVID-19 has turned our lives upside down. It will take a significant amount of time to gain a new sense of normal.

I believe in the Serenity Prayer - "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."  ~ Reinhold Niebuhr ~ 

When creating a routine – it is not just about physical tasks for the day; it also includes your mindset. Your mindset is the basic beliefs you hold about yourself and the world. It defines how you feel, what actions you take, and the habits you choose to develop.  It shapes your internal and external responses to the world around you.  Are you a person who sees the glass half-full or half-empty?

Dr. Steve Orma, www.drorma.com, a CBT clinical psychologist, talks about the parallel benefits of creating exercise routines for our physical bodies, like that of creating routines for our mental health. Things like intentionally choosing how you want to “be and behave” in the moment. Each morning as you wake up you can choose how you want to conduct your day, eg. Being kind to yourself and compassionate to others. This sets to tone for you to begin interacting with the events of the day. If your day becomes hectic or chaotic, go back to your intention words; repeat them silently or aloud, to regain your composure.

Tips for creating a new routine include writing down the things that are important to you to do each day for a week. Think about setting time aside to try new things like mediation, journaling, listening to your favourite music, or learning a new skill. Look at your weekly calendar and block time for what activities matter most to you. Don’t be afraid to adjust and change your activity blocks to respond to life events. Remember, if you don’t have a plan then you run the risk of life events taking over your time and not getting to the things you deemed important.

Some of the benefits of coming up with a routine that works for your new reality includes:

ü  less stress as you are making time for the things that are important to you including work, leisure, and relationships
ü  better sleep when you stick to a consistent sleep schedule and don’t get stuck into binge-watching TV, Netflix or gaming
ü  improved health when you include regular physical activities and healthy eating habits
ü setting a positive example for others in your family to make their daily and weekly routines

Routines can create great personal satisfaction, as you see yourself becoming the person you want to be and spending your time on the activities that you value, with the people that mean the most to you.

This is similar advice I provide to my clients in career transition. Making a daily schedule that works for them creates an environment for success. It is a strategy that works!

Are there any other benefits of creating a new routine that works for you? If so what are they? Please add them to the comment section below.  

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

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Are you releasing from the Canadian Military? Are you thinking about a career in Information Communications and Technology?

Coding for Veterans is a new option for military members to consider when planning a second career upon leaving the military.

Coding for Veterans was established in 2018 as a Not for Profit corporation. Jeff Musson, CEO of Dynamite Networks and Patrick Shaw, CEO of Digital Advocacy firm Amplifi are the two founders who have spearheaded this initiative. They have collaborated with government, academia, and the Information Communications and Technology (ICT) industry to recruit and train veterans to help fill the current and pending tech labour shortage.

Two training streams are being offered, one is Basic Coding from Durham College, second is an advanced program of Data Analytics and Cyber-Security from the University of Ottawa. Each program offers relevant civilian industry certifications that ICT employers require. The programs are delivered online asynchronously to enhance accessibility for veterans across Canada.

Military members bring many soft and hard skills to the ICT sector including leadership, resilience, adaptability, ability to learn, teamwork, problem-solving, integrity, strong work ethic, dedication, varying levels of technical ability and security clearances. These skills and traits are in high demand in the ICT sector.

According to the 2017 and 2018 annual reports by the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC), there is Canada wide shortage of technical talent and it is forecast that the demand is going to increase exponentially.  According to the report, Canada is headed for a major technology talent shortage due to limited supply- increased demand, skills mismatch, and an aging workforce.

The ICTC predicts Canada will need 182,000 individuals to fill new positions for computer-related operators, web technicians, software engineers, programmers, artificial intelligence specialists, cyber-security professionals, and other related roles by the end of 2019.

Want to know more, attend the Second Career Assistance Network (SCAN) seminar offered in your area via the Base Personnel Selection Office. The Halifax SCAN seminar is Nov. 19 and 20th. Visit the Coding for Veterans kiosk and attend the presentation scheduled for Nov. 20th

Check out the following websites:

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