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September 24, 2014

E & L Centre Tip of the Week:

Don't Let A Job Title Influence You

By: Joe Issid
Monster.ca Tech Jobs Expert

There is an age-old adage that goes something like this: don’t interview for the job at hand; interview for the job you want. While it offers pretty vague advice, the principle is still somewhat valid in today’s IT job market. If you are looking to start or extend your career in IT, you should be focusing your efforts on looking a little bit deeper.

A mistake that many candidates make is focusing too much on the actual job title and not looking at other factors related to the position.

Often, many candidates can be intimidated by a “Senior” designation or put off by the word ‘Assistant’ in the job title. Don’t let that person be you. You’re smarter than that. Below are some factors that could be better indicators of a position than the posted title:

Company Size

Larger companies can often be stingy in offering up impressive job titles as recruiting and HR policies have very defined protocols for such matters. So don’t dwell on the big bold letters at the top of the job posting (as it very likely could have been created by someone completely unrelated to your discipline).

A “Senior DBA” at a small company might have a more impressive title, but working as a ‘Database Specialist’ at a large multi-national corporation may be a better overall position for you in terms of exposure, technology and team dynamics. Large companies typically have far greater opportunities for career advancement and may be able to offer better financial and benefits packages. But they may not offer you a sexy title. On the other hand, a small company may be willing to give you the job title that you really want simply by asking nicely. You can’t get what you don’t ask for.

Industry

As a good job seeker, you are very aware of the industry that you are researching. As a skilled IT professional, you realise that your skills are very transferable and in demand. A company in an IT-related field (for instance, software development or web hosting) may be in a better position to offer a stimulating and more progressive IT environment than, say, a shoe manufacturer. Bring your skills to the industry that best matches your interests and aptitudes, regardless of what your business card may say.

Platform

It’s all about the tech! Read the job profile closely and see if you can get an idea of the type of infrastructure that you would be working on. A job title means very little if you spend your days helping end-users fix Windows XP problems if you would rather be deploying large-scale server clusters to the cloud.

Ask yourself a very basic question when you look at a job profile: would this job excite me? Remember, it is the job that you will be performing and not the title.

Your Interests and Experiences

As each candidate offers a unique set of skills, an interview should revolve around the interests and experiences of said individual. As a candidate, it is your responsibility to offer this information to an interviewer so that they can be as informed as possible. Do not confine your answers to the limit of the job title at hand: use this meeting as an opportunity to discuss your experiences and knowledge in other related areas. If you are interviewing for an IT Help-Desk position but you have some web development skills, mention it. The job may have some unpublished requirements that could fit your unique skill set.

At the end of the day, you will need to decide what is a good fit for you and whether you can live with a formal job title that you do not like. Just keep in mind that a job title actually means very little as it is the work that you do that is important.

Ultimately, a future employer will not care what your previous job title was as long as you can demonstrate that you performed it well and it is relevant to his/her current needs. And to be frank, the glory of a sweet job title can rub off very quickly if you don’t love what you do.

My advice: find the right job and then call it whatever you want


September 22, 2014

Chatelaine and Profit's 2014 top female entrepreneurs in Canada includes 2 Saskatchewan women.

Congratulations to Corrin Harper of Saskatoon-based Insightrix Research and Rachel Mielke of Regina-based Hillbert & Berk!

http://www.profitguide.com/manage-grow/success-stories/11-essential-business-lessons-for-entrepreneurs-69131



September 18, 2014

E & L Employment Tip of the Week:

The Perfect Job Interview in 8 Simple Steps

You landed the interview. Awesome! Now don't screw it up.

I've interviewed thousands of people for jobs ranging from entry-level to executive. Easily three-fourths of the candidates made basic interviewing mistakes.

Did I still hire some of them? Absolutely... but never count on your qualifications and experience to outweigh a bad interview.

Here are eight practical ways to shine:

1. Be likable. Obvious? And critical. Making a great first impression and establishing a real connection is everything. Smile, make eye contact, be enthusiastic, sit forward in your chair, use the interviewer's name.... Be yourself, but be the best version of yourself you possibly can. We all want to work with people we like and who like us. Use that basic fact to your advantage. Few candidates do.

2. Never start the interview by saying you want the job. Why? Because you don't know yet. False commitment is, well, false. Instead...

3. Ask questions about what really matters to you. Focus on making sure the job is a good fit: Who you will work with, who you will report to, the scope of responsibilities, etc. Interviews should always be two-way, and interviewers respond positively to people as eager as they are to find the right fit. Plus there's really no other way to know you want the job. And don't be afraid to ask several questions. As long as you don't take completely take over, the interviewer will enjoy and remember a nice change of pace.

4. Set a hook. A sad truth of interviewing is that later we often don't remember a tremendous amount about you -- especially if we've interviewed a number of candidates for the same position. Later we might refer to you as, "The guy with the alligator briefcase," or, "The lady who did a Tough Mudder," or, "The guy who grew up in Panama." Sometimes you may be identified by hooks, so use that to your advantage. Your hook could be clothing (within reason), or an outside interest, or an unusual fact about your upbringing or career. Hooks make you memorable and create an anchor for interviewers to remember you by -- and being memorable is everything.

5. Know what you can offer immediately. Researching the company is a given; go a step farther and find a way you can hit the ground running or contribute to a critical area. If you have a specific technical skill, show how it can be leveraged immediately. But don't say, for example, "I would love to be in charge of revamping your social media marketing." One, that's fairly presumptuous, and two, someone may already be in charge. Instead, share details regarding your skills and say you would love to work with that team. If there is no team, great -- you may be put in charge. If there is a team you haven't stepped on any toes or come across as pushy. Just think about what makes you special and show the benefits to the company. The interviewer will be smart enough to recognize how the project you bring can be used.

6. Don't create negative sound bites. Interviewers will only remember a few sound bites, especially negative ones. If you've never been in charge of training, don't say, "I've never been in charge of training." Say, "I did not fill that specific role, but I have trained dozens of new hires and created several training guides." Basically, never say, "I can't," or "I haven't," or "I don't." Share applicable experience and find the positives in what you have done. No matter what the subject, be positive: Even your worst mistake can be your best learning experience.

7. Ask for the job based on facts. By the end of the interview you should have a good sense of whether you want the job. If you need more information, say so. Otherwise use your sales skills and ask for the job. (Don't worry; we like when you ask.) Focus on specific aspects of the job: Explain you work best with teams, or thrive in unsupervised roles, or get energized by frequent travel.... Ask for the job and use facts to prove you want it -- and deserve it.

8. Reinforce a connection with your follow-up. Email follow-ups are fine; handwritten notes are better; following up based on something you learned during the interview is best: An email including additional information you were asked to provide, or a link to a subject you discussed (whether business or personal.) The better the interview -- and more closely you listened -- the easier it will be to think of ways you can make following up seem natural and unforced. And make sure you say thanks -- never underestimate the power of gratitude.


September 15, 2014

4 more days until our "Employer-Job-seeker Morning Mixer event" on Thursday September 18th at 7:30am!

Join us for a quick breakfast and networking with various employers from the customer service, administration, trades industries and more!



September 15, 2014

The Elizabeth Fry Society of Sk is hosting a wine and cheese reception with Kim Pate, O.C., Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies, on September 25.

6:00pm Thursday, Sept 25
Rouge Gallery, 2nd floor, 245-3rd Ave S

For information contact info@elizabethfrysask.org

Ms. Pate has been appointed to the Ariel F. Sallows Chair in Human Rights at the U of S College of Law.

http://law.usask.ca/news/order-of-canada-recipient-kim-pate-joins-college-of-law-.php



September 11, 2014

Take Back the Night 2014

Join the annual march to end violence in our community.

7:00pm Thursday Sept 25
meet at Station 20 West

Organized by the Saskatoon Women's Community Coalition, University Of Saskatchewan Students' Union, YWCA Saskatoon, and the Saskatoon Peace Coalition. #takebackthenight



September 10, 2014

Are you a renter? Does your housing meet your needs? Do you know your rights?

Saskatoon Renters' Community Supper
5:00-7:30pm Monday Sept 22
Station 20 West

For info call 306-657-6100 or email renters@classiclaw.ca

Presented by the Saskatoon Anti-Poverty Coalition, the Saskatoon Poverty Reduction Partnership, @CLASSIC_YXE and the U of S College of Law.



September 10, 2014

E & L Employment Tip of the Week:

Why You Still Need a Cover Letter, Even If No One Reads It

I’ve recruited for over 15 years, and I almost never read my candidates’ cover letters. The one exception was when I knew the hiring manager read the cover letter because then I wanted to see how our feedback compared. Matching up on our feedback would help me adjust my screening going forward. Otherwise, the cover letter had no use to me, and I know many other recruiters and employers feel the same way.

HOWEVER, as a career coach, I strongly encourage all my job seeking clients to draft a powerful cover letter. While the majority of people in the hiring process don’t read the cover letter, those that read it really care about it. Since you will never know in advance of sending your cover letter whether or not it will matter, you have to assume it will matter and take great care with your cover letter. Here are other 3 reasons why a cover letter, even if you’re not sure anyone reads it, can help you be a better job seeker:

Writing the cover letter forces you to highlight what really matters. The cover letter is in prose so can speak to the reader differently than the list structure of a resume. A cover letter doesn’t have to be chronological like a resume so you can talk about things in a different order or emphasize different points in your career. Finally, a cover letter is highly selective, not a grand overview of your entire career like the resume. You want to be brief with your cover letter, so you can only talk about a few things. What are the 2, 3, or 4 things across the entirety of your skills, expertise and background that you want the prospective employer to know? When you make these choices and commit them to paper, this helps your networking, interviewing, and overall positioning in your job search.

The cover letter can say what a resume cannot. You can emphasize a specific time in your career, set of skills or expertise. You can draw parallels between diverse experiences. You can explain an employment gap, put a structure behind non-traditional career choices, or otherwise make your case for the uniqueness of your career. A good cover letter tells a story that directs the reader to where you want him or her to focus.

You can speak directly to an individual reader. It is unrealistic to have a tailored resume for every type of job that you are seeking. Even if you wanted to spend the time, the structure of a resume has limits on what you can customize. A cover letter, on the other hand, can easily accommodate items directly related to the reader. You can demonstrate what you know about your prospective employer’s organization or industry. You can talk about why you want to work there. You can itemize your specific contributions relevant to that one employer.


September 10, 2014

Ready for a fresh start?

Get 16 weeks of free training with YWCA Trade Journey, with an introduction to carpentry, plumbing and sheet metal fabrication.

Learn more at ywcatradejourney.ca and sign up for an info session!



September 5, 2014

The Saskatoon Literacy Coalition has an open invitation for everyone to attend their annual celebration on INTERNATIONAL LITERACY DAY. This Saturday, September 6, 2014, there will be cake, entertainment, and of course, lots of books. It starts at 10 AM at the Saskatoon Farmers' Market in Riversdale, at 414 Ave B S in Saskatoon. They welcome you to join in on the celebration and help promote literacy in our community, mixed with fun. Your presence and interest do make a difference! For more information, www.saskatoonliteracy.ca



Saskatoon Literacy Coalition - Welcome!
www.saskatoonliteracy.ca
A non-profit group working to promote literacy in Saskatoon and raise public awareness about the importance of a literate society.


September 4, 2014

Join us for our "Employer - Job-seeker Morning Mixer" event on Thursday September 18th from 7:30-9am!!! For more details please call Josie at (306) 244-7034 ext 176



September 3, 2014

Executive Director Barb Macpherson urges meaningful actions to stop violence against indigenous women--see today's StarPhoenix.

YWCA Canada is the largest national provider of shelter for women and children fleeing violence, and "fundamental to our work is a commitment to exposing and responding to this issue, including the inordinately high and disproportionate number of indigenous girls and women who are victims."

http://www.thestarphoenix.com/life/Inquiry+essential/10170269/story.html



Inquiry essential
www.thestarphoenix.com
Re: Calls for inquiry persist (SP, Aug. 26). On behalf of the board and staff of YWCA Saskatoon, I want to thank Premier Brad Wall for adding his voice to the growing number of people locally, provincially, nationally and internationally who've called for a national inquiry into missing and murdered…


September 3, 2014

E & L Employment Tip of the Week:

Avoid These 7 Killer Cover Letter Mistakes

By Peter Vogt
Monster Senior Contributing Writer

The student's resume was impressive. The formatting was impeccable, the content was excellent, and he did a great job of focusing on accomplishments instead of job duties. If I were an employer, I would have been impressed.

Then I looked at his cover letter and imagined the employer tossing that perfect resume into the trash bin.

Many college students and recent grads destroy their resumes by accompanying them with halfhearted or downright terrible cover letters. While some employers don't bother reading cover letters, most do. And they will quickly eliminate you if you make these cover letter mistakes:

Using the Wrong Cover Letter Format

The student's cover letter looked more like a cut-and-paste email than a business letter. It had no recipient information, no return address and no date. The letter screamed unprofessional.

Be sure your cover letter uses a standard business-letter format. It should include the date, the recipient's mailing address and your address.

Making It All About You

It may seem counterintuitive, but your cover letter, like your resume, should be about the employer as much as it's about you. Yes, you need to tell the employer about yourself, but do so in the context of the employer's needs and the specified job requirements.

Not Proofing for Typos and Grammatical Errors

Employers tend to view typos and grammatical errors as evidence of your carelessness and inability to write. Proofread every letter you send. Get additional cover letter help by asking a friend who knows good writing double-check your letter for you.

Making Unsupported Claims

Too many cover letters from college students and recent grads say the applicant has "strong written and verbal communication skills." Without evidence, it's an empty boast. Give some examples for each claim you make. Employers need proof.

Writing a Novel

A good cover letter should be no longer than one page. Employers are deluged with resumes and cover letters, and their time is scarce. Make sure your cover letter has three or four concise but convincing paragraphs that are easy to read. If your competitor's letter rambles on for two pages, guess which candidate the employer will prefer.

Using the Same Cover Letter for Every Job and Company

Employers see so many cover letters that it's easy for them to tell when you're using a one-size-fits-all approach. If you haven't addressed their company's specific concerns, they'll conclude you don't care about this particular job.

It's time-consuming but worthwhile to customize each cover letter for the specific job and company.

Not Sending a Real Cover Letter

Some job seekers -- college students, recent grads and even those with years of work experience -- don't bother sending a cover letter with their resume. Others type up a one or two-sentence "here's my resume" cover letter, while others attach handwritten letters or sticky notes.

There is no gray area here: You must include a well-written, neatly formatted cover letter with every resume you send. If you don't, you won't be considered for the job.


August 27, 2014

Is it time for a a federal leaders' debate on women's issues? Let's discuss childcare, income inequality, or Canada's global leadership on women's rights.

Caroline Andrew, Director of the Centre on Governance, University of Ottawa writes for the Ottawa Citizen.

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/politics/andrew-time-for-another-federal-leaders-debate-on-womens-issues


Andrew: Time for another federal leaders' debate on women's issues
ottawacitizen.com
Friday marks the 30th anniversary of the first — and only — leaders’ debate on women’s issues in a Canadian federal election campaign.


August 27, 2014

E&L Tip of the Week:

Why Should We Hire You? Responding to the Job-Interview Concern that Underlies All Questions

By Miriam Salpeter

"Why should we hire you?" It's the underlying question inherent in every interview inquiry. Even if interviewers don't ask this exact question, it's what they want to know. Your job is to supply appropriate answers. You'll need to describe reasons using concrete examples illustrating how and why you are a good fit for the organization.

Answering the question well requires two things: knowing what you offer and understanding what the organization wants; these elements are equally important.

What You Offer

Why are you a good fit for the job? If you don't know your skills, it will be difficult to land an opportunity. It's imperative to understand what you have to offer when applying for positions. I tell my clients to post the question, "Why should we hire you?" on their bathroom mirror, refrigerator, or anyplace they will see it during the day. I instruct them to answer, out loud, keeping different companies in mind each time. This type of rehearsal will help you hone in on what you have to offer.

What do you enjoy most about your job? It's likely those aspects correlate with your strengths and may help identify reasons to hire you. For example, do you enjoy spending a lot of time negotiating, preventing problems (or solving them), or interacting with people from various backgrounds? Are you a writer, whose best time is quietly typing, alone at the computer? Or, is presenting in front of large groups your favorite thing? Make a list of what you would consider your best strengths.

If it's difficult choosing your best skills, consider asking for help and doing some self-referential research. Dig out old performance reviews, read what people have written about you in LinkedIn recommendations, and ask your friends or colleagues about your strengths.

Identify what is unique or special about you. How have you gone above and beyond the call of duty? What did you accomplish that no one else managed to do? Did you volunteer to tackle a problem and solve it? Give yourself credit -- ideally, your past work will provide a strong, supportive platform for your next job.

Don't underestimate the value of looking at yourself, your skills, and your accomplishments and outlining the key points you will want to share with a prospective employer.

What the Organization Wants

While the focus of "Why should we hire you?" is on "you," the interviewee, it's important to remember the answer isn't all about you. The most successful interview responses focus on the hiring manager's needs. Framing replies that demonstrate you understand their problems -- or "pain points," makes a big difference when competing with many other qualified candidates.

What are the skills to focus on when you apply for jobs? It's usually not very difficult to identify what employers are looking for; their 2,000-word, in-depth job descriptions don't leave much to the imagination. Many firms post videos, and manage Facebook sites and Twitter feeds touting their organizations and why you might want to work there. Skip these resources at your own peril -- they are telling you exactly what you need to know to be a strong candidate.

To prepare to successfully interview -- frame your answer to, "Why should we hire you?" to suit the employer's needs. Print and highlight the job description, looking for the top three or four most important details. Do they include terms such as, "cross-functional team," "team work," and "team player" several times? If your answer to, "Why should we hire you?" (asked directly or as an underlying question) does not mention and focus on your abilities as they relate to teams, you are probably out of luck.

Does the company's YouTube channel have a series of videos outlining its commitment to customer service? You'll want to include details about your interest in client relations as part of the reason the employer should hire you. If an organization emphasizes a topic, it's likely management will appreciate your letting them know why (and how) you are a good fit. Think of an interview as an opportunity to build a bridge between what the company wants and what you offer -- and to figuratively lay a red carpet across the bridge, encouraging the employer to walk across!

Final Thoughts: What if There's a Disconnect? You Know You Need to Emphasize a Skill or Accomplishment that's not a Strong Suit?

The job requires leadership skills, for example. You know the interviewer will want to discuss it, but it's one of your weak points. What should you say?

Give examples of non-work related leadership stories if your work history isn't very leadership focused. Maybe you led a volunteer team and raised a lot of money, for example. It does help to be able to work in information about how you demonstrated leadership at work. To address this topic, break down the definition of "leadership" and identify some matches between what you've exhibited on the job and what the job requires.

For example, a leader:
• Takes responsibility for his or her actions
• Can think on his or her feet and make decisions
• Can convince others of a viewpoint or plan -- and inspire them to cooperate
• Sees the bigger picture and makes suggestions to avoid obstacles

When the interviewer asks why the organization should hire you, include a leadership-focused reply, such as, "I know this job requires strong leadership experience. The best leaders think ahead, make good decisions and skillfully convince others to cooperate." (Then, tell a story illustrating a time when you used those three skills.)


August 26, 2014

E & L Tip of the Week:

Job Termination and Your Resume

by Kim Isaacs

Your employer just let you go. You need to find another job, but how should you handle your termination on your resume?

The days when you signed on with a company and stayed with it until retirement are gone. In today’s climate, employers are much more understanding when they see a less-than-perfect work chronology. Follow these tips regarding losing your job to ensure you’re creating the strongest resume to up your chances of being called in for an interview.

Don’t Mention It

No matter how sour your termination, do not explain the circumstances on your resume. You will have a much better chance of impressing hiring managers if you deal with this question in face-to-face interviews.

Be Honest

If you were recently let go, resist the urge to keep your position listed as “to present” on your resume, giving the appearance that you’re still employed. You will have to explain yourself later on, and potential employers might think you tried to mislead them.

Laid Off? Use Your Cover Letter

If your termination was due to a layoff rather than a performance-related issue, consider mentioning it in your cover letter. Employers are more forgiving of layoffs, so mentioning this might work in your favour. You can write something like this:

As you may have read, [Company] announced a round of layoffs, and my position was eliminated. Although saddened to leave this company, where my performance has consistently been rated as outstanding, I am looking forward to repeating my same record of success for my next employer...

Focus on Your Accomplishments

Your goal is to wow your potential employer by highlighting your accomplishments and skills on your resume. Even if hiring managers are wondering why you left a certain employer, your resume should be strong enough for you to receive invitations to interviews in which you can explain your situation in person.

Assess Your Contributions
When updating your resume, it can be difficult to put your emotions aside and write a strong description for the employer that let you go. But this is exactly what you need to do. If you’re stuck, seek the opinions of colleagues who respected your work and ask them about your performance -- they might remind you about contributions you’ve made that you took for granted or forgot about. Here are a few questions to ask yourself regarding your performance:
• Did you take on responsibilities outside your original position scope? Were you able to juggle multiple projects and duties while maintaining the highest emphasis on quality?
• What were your key contributions to your employer? In what ways did you excel at your job, and how did your employer benefit from having you on board? Specific, measurable outcomes of your work have the strongest impact.
• Did you go above and beyond the call of duty? How did you contribute to bottom-line results?
• What types of challenges did you face? What did you do to overcome these challenges? How did your performance benefit the company?
• Have you instated procedures that improved overall efficiency? Were you known for fast or accurate work output?
• Were you part of a team that was recognized with awards or accolades? Did you receive positive commendations by your supervisors (or clients, vendors, coworkers, etc.)?


August 26, 2014

Ever heard of the "Handy Group of Companies"? Join us for our next Employer Meet and Greet and learn more about Saskatchewan's largest independent rental company!

Our session is set for Thursday August 28th from 1:30-2:30pm, please call (306) 244-7034 ext 176 for more details! See you there!



August 25, 2014

Join our free 8 week RENEW program, for women you have experienced breast cancer at any point in their lives. Share your story and participate in gentle, relaxing exercises and informative support!

Registration deadline is Monday September 1st 2014, please call (306) 244-0944



August 22, 2014

Our website, www.ywcasaskatoon.com is currently down. We apologize for the inconvenience! We are working to restore it quickly. You may contact us directly at (306) 244-7034 for information about YWCA programs and services, or follow us on Facebook.


August 19, 2014

What do you think about the ALS ice bucket challenge? Should donors make a donation to support a great mission they believe in--no gimmick needed? Or is it a fun way to raise funds and awareness?



July 29, 2014

Great story from Global Saskatoon on the girls trades and technology camp happening this summer through SIAST Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology. Check out the announcement about UN empowering women from Business and Professional Women's Club Saskatoon Inc. (BPW Saskatoon) #gogirls #YWCATradeJourney #womenintrades

http://globalnews.ca/news/1475160/camps-encourage-girls-to-learn-skilled-trades/



Camps encourage girls to learn skilled trades
globalnews.ca
As Saskatchewan continues to hunt for skilled trade workers around the world, local camps encourage girls to take up trades.


July 23, 2014

E & L Tip of the Week

To Whom It May Concern: No One Is Reading Your Cover Letter

By Nicole Wray

To Whom It May Concern, your cover letter probably isn't being read. Especially if you're starting it with "To whom it may concern."

According to a Forbes article written by a recruiter with 15 years of experience, many recruiters "almost never" read the cover letter. However, unless you are told not to include one, cover letters are a job search must do.

Here are three things to consider when creating a winning cover letter.

The basics: customize your cover letter

Whether it's a human or a computer reading your cover letter, including key words from the job posting will show the reader that you've done your homework. Be sure to clearly state the position you are applying for, the main skills required for the position and how your work experience demonstrates that you possess those skills.

To really impress the reader, research the company and include one or two facts about the business that relate to the position you're applying for (for example, "I read in Canadian Business that you won the Xyz Award for the best creative marketing campaign last month").

A cover letter offers the opportunity to directly address the reader, so if it's not listed on the job posting, use your resources (Google, LinkedIn, a telephone) to find out who you need to address your letter to. To go the next step, make sure that your application lands in their inbox.

The content: honesty is the best policy

Forbes recently published an article about a cover letter that Wall Street bosses are calling "the best cover letter ever."

In the letter, a summer internship applicant writes, "I won't waste your time inflating my credentials...The truth is I have no unbelievable special skills or genius eccentricities, but I do have a near perfect GPA and will work hard for you."

Such upfront honesty won't work for every industry, but this internship applicant was rewarded for avoiding a common cover letter downfall — the tendency to exaggerate your qualifications.

Inflating your skill set by using vocabulary that's outside of your everyday language makes a cover letter awkward to read and difficult to write. To create a cover letter that's professional, yet conversational, don't use two words where one would work and don't use a 10-cent word where a two-cent word will do.

Above and beyond: when to craft a creative cover letter

A creative cover letter alternative must be of professional quality and must highlight your skills as they apply to the job you are competing for.

For example, instead of writing a traditional cover letter for a corporate communications position that I applied for, I created a media kit about myself including a press release, a fact sheet and my resume. Although I didn't get the job, I scored an interview at a great company.

If you're willing to go the extra mile to craft a creative cover letter, know the industry you want to work in, be professional and use common sense. A poorly executed YouTube video probably won't get you an interview for an accounting position. However, a well-made website (this genius mock-up of an Amazon.com product page featuring his candidacy as the product) might put your resume on top of the pile for a digital media position.


July 23, 2014



July 23, 2014

Our next YWCA Employer Meet & Greet with CIBC
happens 1:30pm Wednesday July 30 at the Y

Learn about opportunities to excel in a career with CIBC

For more information call 306 244 7034 x 176

#YWCAmeetandgreet



July 16, 2014

You are invited to attend the community planning event with lunch
presented by Saskatoon Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP)
Tuesday July 22, 9:00am-3:30pm
at the White Buffalo Youth Lodge

SHIP is developing a homeless partnering strategy to guide funding decisions over the next five years for administration of the federal government's investment.

For more information contact awilson@shipweb.ca



July 16, 2014

E & L Tip of the Week

The Most Useless Phrases in Your Resume

By Jenna Charlton

Looking for ways to make your resume stand out? Here's a tip: don't rely on words like self-starter, flexible, hard worker, team player, or highly qualified. If you do your resume may get lost in the shuffle. These types of words and phrases are way overused, according to a recent survey by OfficeTeam.

The survey asked the question "what is the most overused and meaningless phrase you see on resumes?" to 1300 senior managers working at companies with 20 or more employees, The words listed above plus the phrases 'problem solver' and 'people person', pop up so often on resumes that they're no longer helping candidates stand out. Amanda Evans from OfficeTeam says that "there's only so many times an employer can see the same words and phrases on the 50 – 100 resumes he/she has to go through before they start looking the same."

The survey's findings suggest that managers would rather read resumes that tell more of a story about the candidate. "Job seekers don't need a complete resume overhaul, but if you're using these terms use them in specific instances that reveal how you're a self-starter, or high qualified. Give an employer some examples," says Evans.

Another key component of writing a stand out resume is to look closely at the job description. Take note of the language and words used in the description and use them in your resume. "Employers often use keyword searches to scan through online resumes. They're looking for words and descriptions that are specific to the job," says Evans. Those keywords are usually in the description. Use them to replace some common terms and then elaborate. It is more likely your resume is going to get noticed if the language you use matches the language used by the company.

This also means tailoring your resume to the job you're applying to. It's certainly a lot of work to change a resume every time you apply for a new a position, but it is a necessary process. Another benefit to going through the description closely and altering your resume to fit is that you are essentially preparing yourself for a potential interview. You'll have already done the work in pointing to a few specific areas that qualify you for the position. In an interview, you can elaborate on the points already made.

If you are including some of these overused terms on your resume, OfficeTeam offers some suggestions for how to make them stand out.

OfficeTeam's tips on using overused terms:

Highly Qualified: Don't just say it, show it. Describe for the hiring manager what you bring to the role. Emphasize skills and note certifications you have earned.

Hard Worker: Everyone has her or his own idea about what this term means. Explain how you've gone the extra mile, like meeting tough deadlines or how you tackled tasks outside your job description.

Team Player: Give an example for how you partnered with a colleague to get a job done.


 
 
 
  Welcome to the YWCA  
 
 

Ready to trade your dead end for a fresh start?

Introducing YWCA Trade Journey—for women who are interested in starting a career in the trades.

Experience 16 weeks of training including carpentry, plumbing and sheet metal fabrication, and start your trade journey.

The YWCA Trade Journey program includes:

• Free skills training for 16 weeks with a group of women
• Opportunity to experience 3 trades
• Help finding your new job and starting out
• Employer contacts and interview preparation
• Support as you work toward your apprenticeship
• Support every step of the way

It's perfect for women who are:

• Positive, hard-working and enjoy learning
• Healthy and active
• Ready for new challenges

Your journey into the trades starts with a single step.

Attend a YWCA information session to learn about the program and hear from women who are already working in the trades.

Your journey doesn't end when you finish your training.

We’ll support you as you start your career in the trades, find your first job and work toward your apprenticeship. We can help you succeed in your new career in the trades. YWCA Saskatoon has helped empower women for over 100 years. Contact us to take your first steps toward a job that offers higher pay, personal growth, and opportunities for advancement.

Register for an information session at www.tradejourney.com

For more information: call 244-7034 (ext.131) or email tradejourney@ywcasaskatoon.com 

 
 
 
 
 
 
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