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Steps I Would Take if I Were Beginning a Job Search

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Steps I Would Take if I Were Beginning a Job Search

M. DeFalco of Winnipeg, MB, emailed me this question: How would you start searching for a job today?

Many factors influence a job search, such as the job seeker’s age, location, profession, level of experience, digital footprint, expected starting salary, and if they cultivated a professional network. In addition, there’s the ongoing carnage in the job market, especially in the tech sector, and an economy rapidly heading south. Nowadays, the job market is hostile, which job seekers must tame.

If you had asked me when I was in my 20s what my dream job looked like, I’d have answered:

  • A well-known company, preferably a household name (g., GE, Bell, GM, Ontario Hydro).
  • A title that bolsters my professional image and resume.
  • High pay, with plenty of benefits and perks.
  • A wide range of internal career paths I could pursue.
  • Having the opportunity to work on creative projects.
  • Gaining career-advancing experience.

If you ask me now:

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  • Company stability, both financially and in terms of industry.
  • Believing in the company’s mission.
  • Alignment of the company’s values with my own.
  • A harmonious working relationship with my boss and coworkers.
  • Having a direct, measurable, and visible impact on the company’s success.
  • Having autonomy.

If I were starting a job search tomorrow, the four steps I’d take are:

Step 1: Make an announcement.

My first step would be to heed the adage: A closed mouth doesn’t get fed. I’d inform, via phone calls, everyone I know—family, friends, my entire professional network—that I’m looking for a new job. I wouldn’t simply say, “I’m looking for a job.” I’d specify the type of job I’m seeking (industry, title, location). For example, “Unfortunately, I was part of Ponsonbys downsizing, which you may have heard about in the news. I’m now seeking a digital marketing position with a mid-size fashion house, ideally based in mid-Toronto.”

The more people are aware of my situation, the greater the likelihood of opportunities being presented to me.

In addition to my announcement, I’d activate LinkedIn’s ‘Open To Work’ feature. Activating this feature will display a green banner (#OPENTOWORK) on my profile picture, indicating that I’m interested in new employment opportunities.

 

Step 2: List the benefits of hiring me.

Today businesses are focused on keeping their workforce pared down to business-critical functions only. Having overhired and an expected recession are the reasons for most of the layoffs and hiring freezes so far this year, which I believe will continue throughout next year. Companies are cutting jobs that are distracting from the company’s profitability.

Keeping in mind today’s businesses have a lean mentality, I’d list all the benefits of hiring me. In other words, what would an employer gain by hiring me?

  • My extensive industry experience, including being well-connected within my industry and profession?
  • My expertise as a subject matter expert (SME) in a particular area of my profession?
  • My having a proven and measurable track record?
  • My being bilingual?

I’d list all my skills (hard and soft) along with my experience using my skills, which is worth paying for.

Step 3: Update my LinkedIn profile and resume.

Employers hire for results. Therefore, I’d edit, where necessary, my LinkedIn profile to be results-oriented. Instead of using non-quantifiable statements that seem like opinions, I want my profile to be filled with quantifiable sentences—sentences with numbers that quantify. Using quantifiable sentences will make my work structure, productivity, and results tangible.

  • Unquantified: Improved staff performance across all divisions, resulting in increased profits.
  • Quantified: Led a staff of 20 employees with innovative policies that yielded a 27% increase in profits over the previous year.
  • Unquantified: Answered calls.
  • Quantified: Handled 80-100 inbound customer calls per day.

I’d reflect on my past 10 years and ask myself where and how I:

  • Increased revenue, profit, or generate sales. (The more you can speak to this, the better.)
  • Increased (or reduced) X by Y%.
  • Saved time.
  • Improved a process, thus saving money and/or time.

I’d also think about what accuracy I’ve achieved, the quantity of work I did, and the amount I processed. Very few job-related tasks can’t be quantified in some way.

Once my LinkedIn profile reads as I want it to, including having filled out all the sections (e.g., education, licenses & certifications, skills, languages, volunteer experience), I’d update my resume, so it too was result oriented.

NOTE: Studies have shown that complete and optimized profiles increase the likelihood of being found and receiving opportunities by 40 times.

 

Step 4:

Lastly, before officially kicking off my job search, which’ll mostly involve my reaching out to hiring managers and recruiters to tap into the hidden job market, I’d reflect on what I want my next job and employer to look like and, most importantly, where I see myself fitting in.

As I’ve mentioned in previous columns, making finding where you belong a priority is the best compass a job seeker can use. Therefore, my job search won’t be the traditional “I’m looking for a job.” Instead, I’ll be looking for where I’ll be accepted. Hence, I won’t be looking for a job; I’ll be looking for my tribe.”

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Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send Nick your questions at artoffindingwork@gmail.com.

 

 

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A shortage of pilots is making travel chaos in Canada even worse

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From pandemic-related travel restrictions to extreme weather events, Canada’s travel industry has navigated an unprecedented amount of uncertainty of late. And now, just as demand for travel has returned to its 2019 level, airlines are navigating their next patch of turbulence: a lack of qualified pilots.

According to Transport Canada, in a typical pre-pandemic year, roughly 1,100 pilot licences were issued. When complemented by foreign-trained pilots, that was generally more than enough to satisfy the needs of carriers as large as WestJet and Air Canada, all the way down to regional, charter and cargo airlines.

But as demand for flying collapsed in 2020, so did the number of new pilots getting their paperwork. Government data shows less than 500 licences were awarded in 2020, a figure that fell to less than 300 in 2021 and just 238 last year.

The department told CBC News in a statement that while labour shortages in the airline sector has been “identified as a priority area for action,” there are no current plans to loosen regulations. But the agency says it’s doing what it can to “increase the competitiveness of the Canadian flight training industry as well as improve the viability of aviation careers to address any shortages.”

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Whatever changes do come will do little to help anyone in the short term, and travellers are already seeing the impact of the industry’s current labour crunch.

Staff shortages were a factor in charter airline Sunwing’s cancellation of 67 flights over the last two weeks of December, along with extreme weather.

Salaries for experienced pilots generally go up faster and higher at the major airlines than they do at most others, they are so typically able to have their pick among those available. That causes shortages just about everywhere else.

The head of the Air Transport Association of Canada says it’s a problem that had been brewing for many years, even before the pandemic.

“We haven’t had enough pilots for a long time, mostly at the regional level,” John McKenna said.

Long, expensive process

Getting a commercial licence is the last step in a multi-year process of becoming a pilot, a journey that can cost tens of thousands of dollars and take years.

In Canada, for many that journey ends with a dream job at either WestJet or Air Canada, but because of the expense and time commitment of training a new pilot, the major airlines often hire top staff from smaller carriers instead of methodically developing their own.

“Their fishing grounds is the regional carriers. And the regional carriers go down to the smaller carriers, air taxi groups … those levels have been hurting for many years,” McKenna said.

Canada’s two biggest airlines told CBC News in emailed statements that while there is indeed a higher than normal demand for pilots right now, both of them are managing to meet their needs.

“As a large global carrier operating the most modern, largest aircraft, we are a very desirable destination for talented pilots,” AIr Canada said. “As a result, we are able to attract pilots as required.”

“We have and continue to responsibly manage and plan our operations to meet the anticipated demand of our guests and are fully staffed across our network to support our operation,” WestJet said.

That’s not the case for everyone else. Small airlines often have so few pilots on staff that it doesn’t take the loss of very many to stop planes from flying.

Dave Boston
Dave Boston is a licensed pilot and also runs a job board to help other pilots find work. (Dave Boston)

In the fall, Sunwing applied to bring in more than 60 temporary foreign workers to meet demand for pilots, but that application was rejected, which exacerbated the chaos seen at the end of 2022. The airline has since cancelled almost all flights out of Saskatchewan and most out of Manitoba for the rest of the winter travel season.

Pandemic reduced numbers, too

It’s not just the big boys gobbling up all the qualified pilots, either. Many simply left the profession during the pandemic.

“Two years ago, to the day, literally almost every pilot [was] out of work,” says Dave Boston, a pilot with 25 years experience who’s also the man behind Edmonton-based aviation job board, Pilot Career Centre.

Faced with furloughs and layoffs at airlines big and small, many pilots tried to wait it out, but many simply moved on, he told CBC News in an interview.

“Many who had businesses or other interests, after maybe six months to a year, had to put food on the table, and they left the industry,” Boston said.

For the pilots who are left, headhunting is the new normal. He says he hears from desperate airlines every day, because they either can’t find the staff, or just lost yet another one. “It’s very common for pilots, unfortunately, to work there for six months [then] get a surprise interview that they don’t expect to get, and then they’re gone,” he said.

“It’s a real challenge right now.”

Zona Savic, right, listens to her instructor inside the cockpit of a flight simulator unit at Seneca College. Savic has long dreamt of being a pilot, and a lack of qualified flyers means she should have plenty of job prospects once she graduates.
Zona Savic, right, listens to her instructor inside the cockpit of a flight simulator unit at Seneca College. Savic has long dreamt of being a pilot, and a lack of qualified flyers means she should have plenty of job prospects once she graduates. (Shawn Benjamin/CBC)

One person hoping to meet that challenge is Zona Savic, a soon-to-be graduate of one of Canada’s premier aviation schools, Seneca College in Peterborough, Ont.

While she had planned to go into engineering, she joined the Air Cadets while in high school, and was quickly bitten by the aviation bug.

“I just knew from the moment that I was in that plane, this is what I was going to do,” she told CBC News in an interview.

She’s on track to get her pilot’s licence soon, and while she may do additional training to become an instructor herself, she says it’s a load off her mind to know that she won’t have to worry about finding a job.

And even better for the industry, she has no qualms about working her way up at smaller carriers flying niche, remote routes.

” I just love the feeling of flying, so if that’s what I’m doing, I don’t really care if I’m in Paris, or in Nunavut,” she says. “Anything is good for me, as long as I get to experience that.”

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Q4 economic growth slows to 1.6% as aggressive hikes bite

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Canada’s economy geared down at the end of 2022, growing at about half the pace of the third quarter and setting the stage for a period of little to no growth.

Preliminary data suggest gross domestic product was flat in December as increases in retail, utilities and the public sector were offset by decreases in the wholesale, finance and oil and gas industries, Statistics Canada reported Tuesday in Ottawa. That followed a 0.1 per cent gain in November, which matched economist expectations in a Bloomberg survey, and a 0.1 per cent increase in October.

Overall, the monthly gains point to annualized growth in the fourth quarter of 1.6 per cent, according to an initial estimate from the statistics agency. Though it will likely be revised, it’s down sharply from a 2.9 per cent pace in the third quarter, 3.2 per cent during April to June, and 2.8 per cent in the first three months of last year.

The numbers show that higher interest rates, which have jumped 425 basis points since last March, are slowing economic activity and weighing on consumption. The lagged effects of the Bank of Canada’s aggressive tightening campaign are expected to drag growth to a halt this year, with economists seeing two quarters of shallow contraction in the first half of 2023.

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That’s a key reason why Governor Tiff Macklem and his officials said this month they plan to hold the benchmark overnight lending rate at 4.5 per cent if growth and inflation evolve broadly in line with their outlook. While the 1.6 per cent growth in the final quarter is slightly stronger than policymakers forecast last week, signs of slowing demand are mounting.

“The economy hasn’t yet absorbed the impact of past rate hikes,” James Orlando, an economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank, said in a report to investors. “Even though today’s growth numbers are holding up well, the BoC can feel comfortable keeping its policy on cruise control a little while longer.”

In November, growth in services-producing industries was partially offset by a decline in the goods sectors, the statistics agency said. Interest-rate increases continued to dampen activity for real estate agents and brokers, residential building construction, and legal services which have been trending downward since spring.

Construction dropped 0.7 per cent, with new construction of single detached homes and home improvement leading the decline. Accommodation and food services contracted 1.4 per cent on lower activity in bars and restaurants. Retail trade decreased 0.6 per cent, with the food and beverage subsector falling to its lowest level since April 2018.

The central bank expected fourth-quarter growth of 1.3 per cent annualized, while economists in Bloomberg surveys predicted a gain of 0.9 per cent. Official data for December and the fourth quarter will be released Feb. 28.

Based on initial estimates, Canada’s economy expanded 3.8 per cent in 2022, broadly in line the Bank of Canada’s estimate for a 3.6 per cent growth.

“The overriding message is that the economy is just managing to keep its head above water, which squarely fits with the BoC’s view,” Doug Porter, chief economist at Bank of Montreal, said in a report to investors.

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Nike sues Lululemon, says footwear infringes patents

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Nike sued Lululemon Athletica on Monday, saying that at least four of the Canadian athletic apparel company’s footwear products infringe its patents.

Nike in a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court said it has suffered economic harm and irreparable injury from Lululemon’s sale of its Blissfeel, Chargefeel Low, Chargefeel Mid and Strongfeel footwear.

Nike said its three patents at issue concern textile and other elements, including one addressing how the footwear will perform when force is applied.

The Beaverton, Oregon-based company is seeking unspecified damages.

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Lululemon, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Christopher Cushing) 

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