Managing Your Career Goals


Skysthelimit2Photo Credit Brandur Ossursson

I can’t begin to count how many times I hear phrases like “I’m planning to…” “I’m trying to…” or “I am going to…” That kind of thinking is a cop-out that gives you permission to procrastinate or ignore your goals. A few months ago, a guest on a local news show put it this way: imagine saying you are trying to feed the dog. Face it, the dog’s going to die if you only try to feed it. Do it or don’t, but be honest & definite with your intentions. Taking a defined approach with your job search or career management goals will help you to actually move toward your objective. Here are 5 quick tips to take control of your career planning:

A Smarter Way to Job Search

TicTacToePhoto Credit Amanda Downing

Like Ben said, it's insanity to keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results, but this is exactly what the majority of jobseekers do every day, growing more and more frustrated. They hit the job boards over their morning cup of coffee, identify some positions they think they could do, and then spend the rest of the day cranking out applications. Tomorrow they'll get up and do the same thing all over again. Why? Well, for starters, it doesn't work very well, but they don't know what else to do and figure that somebody has to get hired, so why not them? So for 2014, my mission is to get people off the hamster wheel that's going nowhere, and help you all revamp your search.

Instead of looking for openings on the job boards, try looking for employers you want to work for, regardless of whether they're hiring. How do you find them? Check out the sector listings for the geographic area of your search.

Lost in Translation? Changing Your CV to a Resume

Resume Nguyen Vu Hung

Photo Credit Nguyen Vu Hung 

If you are thinking about leaving academia, or have already started looking, one of the first decisions you face is whether to use a cv or a resume for your search. The curriculum vitae is the academic standard in North America (not to be confused with the EU CV), but let's face it – it's a long and boring document that lists every presentation, paper and class, as well as academic committees and it's usually full of jargon. The trick is to take those same academic experiences and translate them for employers to show your value.

Depending on your field, you can see the difference in sections (CV/Resume Section Headings) that you can expect on a resume vs. a cv. Teaching and lab/project management would go under Professional Experience on a resume. The Research section would only be included if you are going into a research based position or industry, otherwise you can include your dissertation research under Professional Experience and give yourself the job title of Researcher. Alternately, you can include a Relevant Projects section on your resume if you are in a project heavy field like engineering, and you could put your dissertation there.

When translating the content, you want to use bullet points, not mini-paragraphs. Begin bullets with action verbs, and include results or outcomes as much as possible. Teaching evaluations, publications, and successful funding applications count as results.

Writing Counts in Resumes

Photo Credit

When it comes to resumes, I have one simple rule: if you can’t prove it, you can’t say it. That means statements like exceptional customer service, outstanding project management skills, and superior communication and leadership are O-U-T. Why? Because unless you won the Exceptional Customer Service Award, it’s just your opinion of your performance. Your resume needs to balance your desire to promote all the amazing qualifications you have with the needs of the employer who is desperately searching through piles of applicants to find the 10 (or so) best to interview out of hundreds of candidates. If you don’t offer proof, you likely won’t make the cut.

Employers want you to demonstrate your abilities, rather than claim them. Here are some suggested alternatives to the usual resume fare:

Is Your Resume Ready for the 2014 Job Fair Season?

HamiltonDeanMcCoyPhoto Credit Dean McCoy

If you’re in the Hamilton Ontario area, and looking for a new position, you’ll want to mark January 23rd on your calendar. The Connect to Careers fair, a collaboration between higher education institutions and Hamilton Economic Development will take place at Careport and is open to the public from 1-4pm.

Whether you’re attending this fair or another event in your community, you’ll want to be prepared to take advantage of all those employers in one space. Begin by researching the list of organizations attending. Too many jobseekers make the mistake of discounting a company because their primary industry is outside the applicant’s field, like an engineering or accounting firm if that’s not your background. Remember that medium-large organizations hire people beyond their area of specialization. They have HR professionals, administration, sales, marketing and more. Keep that in mind, and do your homework.

Now that you have a sense of who is coming, ask yourself which employers might be a good fit for you. Use LinkedIn to look up employees and get a sense of their background (go to the company page and see how many employees are on LinkedIn). Did you notice any keywords that appeared regularly? Do those words match your background? How about education? Any similarities there? Make note of any trends you notice in looking at people’s profiles, so you can use this in editing your resume.

You will only have a few moments with representatives at the fair, so your resume will need to make a lasting impression that will help them connect your conversation to your documents. A few quick tips to help you get started:

Who are we?

Catherine Maybrey Coaching Services provides comprehensive career coaching packages to help clients move forward in their transition through action. As the principal and owner, Cate believes in “telling it like it is” and helping her clients to reach their goals through a combination of education, information, and collaboration. She also works with employers to provide custom training and organizational effectiveness solutions, believing that people should work smarter, not harder.

Our Services

For individuals seeking assistance with their careers, we offer support for everything from resumes and cover letters through growth and advancement, specializing in clients with graduate degrees and mid-level careers across all fields. We also offer client group coaching programs and custom designed solutions for organizations.

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Hamilton, Ont