Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tales From A Toronto Job Seeker - Part 1

So, I haven't blogged for a while and thought it was time to put fingers to keyboard and get back into it. More for the creative outlet than anything.

I started this blog on November 21, 2006 to document my job search after leaving It was an interesting way for me to keep track of the process, and to also fill in those gaps in the day when not scouring job boards, networking, Linking In and partaking in other top secret stuff that I can't mention here in case the other Toronto Job Seekers read it and leapfrog me into a plum role!

Searching for a job is something that most people will have to do at some time in their life. It can be pretty worrying not to feel that you're actively earning a living, but balancing that is the thought that when on your deathbed, you're not going to say, "I wish I'd spent more time in my office cubicle. Too late now!"

As a firm believer in the work/life balance, it is very important that you work hard for yourself or your employer, but find time to forget that and relax a bit ... otherwise you're never "off" and will burn out very quickly.

The same goes for the daily job search. Spend a few hours a day engaging in that process, but realize it's not a bottomless well of jobs. There are only so many APPLICABLE and RELEVANT jobs you are suited for and have a good chance of getting, so don't spread your net too wide. (The Caps Lock was intentional by the way to show that people are only suited to certain jobs, so don't panic ... and wait to apply for those you really have a passion for and think you'd be good at. Your fake enthusiasm for jobs you don't want will soon show, and then you'll be parting ways with that company pretty soon after. A waste of your time and theirs, and also hurting the person who was qualified for that particular job in the first place.)

My personal aim is to apply for an average of two jobs a day. Sometimes it's none -- sometimes it's four. Depends on the timing of when they are advertised or you hear about them behind the scenes via contacts, friends and family.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of being on LinkedIn. At the very, VERY least, research the company you're applying at -- even if the application form is one of those crappy "import from resume, no formatting, computer reads it first before a human sees it" online hiring tools. That way you can at least show some respect and address your cover letter to the hiring manager personally. The little touches go a long way and might elevate you over the competition.

Talking of respect, it goes both ways. Usually you get an auto-generated response to acknowledge your job application, so at least you know it got there. Sometimes you hear diddly squat. I would like to give a shout out to Shawn Mitchell, Director of Content and Communications at CharityVillage who took the time to send two personal e-mails explaining the delays in the hiring process on their end. That kind of response is very rare, so hats off to him for representing what looks like a great place to work!

This will be an ongoing series, so more to come in Part 2. As always, open to job leads. You can find me on my LinkedIn profile. Thanks!