Nov 01

Never send an electronic job application without a cover letter. Your potential employer may not read it in its entirety immediately, but most employers definitely do expect you to take the time to write a cover letter and to do a good job of it.

The cover letter is your potential employer’s “first look” at you.  Just as you would not go to an interview poorly groomed and dressed, so should you not allow the slightest hint of sloppiness in your cover letter.

Make it businesslike: Address it to the person using his or her title and the name and address of the firm.  You don’t have to sound stilted, but don’t be too informal, either—this is not, after all, an email update to a friend about the party you both attended last Saturday night!

Before hitting the “send” button, be sure to double check your cover letter minutely; correct any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors you might have made. If your email signature includes emoticons, remove them.

Taking the time to write a professional-sounding, correctly formatted and appropriate cover letter will go a long way toward getting you the interview you want.

Oct 30

Well, you did it—congratulations, they’ve just offered you a job!

Strange as it may sound, you need to evaluate that job offer carefully to make certain that it’s one you want to accept. Here are a few things you need to consider:

The job itself:  Will you be proud to say that you work for this company? Does the work you will be doing interest you, and does doing it fit well with your long range career goals?

Your supervisor: Do you think you can work well with the person who to whom you will be reporting? You’ll need to feel comfortable, and you should only work for people who are prepared to help you grow in your job and your career.

The money: This includes benefits as well as salary. Is the offer for a figure you can live with—and on? What’s the potential for raises?

The company culture:  Find out as much as you can about the people with whom you’ll be working before you accept the position. Do their personalities and work styles mesh with yours? If not, is there a way around the potential conflicts?

In addition to the above, you must also consider the number of hours per week the job will require, including commuting time, and the potential for moving up within the organization. Only after you have considered all these factors should you accept the position.

Oct 29

In response to a 2006 technology talent report that identified the need for over 9000 skilled workers in both technical and customer facing roles, the BC Technology Industry Association — along with a host of established and emerging tech companies — is stepping up efforts to woo talent from outside BC.

Vancouver, BC (PRWEB) October 27, 2007 — In response to a 2006 technology talent report that identified the need for over 9000 skilled workers in both technical and customer facing roles, the BC Technology Industry Association — along with a host of established and emerging tech companies — is stepping up efforts to woo talent from outside BC. First stop on the whistle tour is Chicago, Illinois where BC tech companies, among them, Sierra Wireless, PMC-Sierra, Business Objects and Vision Critical, will meet with soon-to-be graduates, recent graduates and alumni at four targeted academic institutions.

“Sierra Wireless is participating in this mission because we see out-of-province talent as an essential part of our recruiting strategy. We’ve known for some time that the BC talent pool isn’t large enough to meet the growing demands of the tech industry so it is good to see the industry pulling together to address our needs,” said Jason Cohenour, Chief Executive Officer Sierra Wireless.

BCTIA’s Labour Trends in the British Columbia Technology Sector report, delivered earlier this year, points out that the technology industry, which employs approximately 70,000 workers today, forecasts adding 15% more employees in 2007/2008. One data point that illustrates the need today is the more than 1200 open opportunities posted to TNET, a popular BC technology job portal.

Under the BCTIA banner of TechTalentBC, this industry-led attraction initiative is one way the tech industry aims to address the serious skills shortage it is facing.
A task group, comprised of senior human resources representatives from BC technology companies has been working with the BCTIA over the summer months to develop the initiative.

“If we don’t act now the situation will only become more serious and will prevent our companies and our industry from growing,” said President, Rob Cruickshank. “These outreach efforts allow tech companies to get in front of potential employees in other jurisdictions to discuss tangible opportunities, and to paint a clear picture of work and life in BC. It’s a compelling story and a strong reason to come work, live and play in BC.”

In order to gain access to these potential employee audiences, the task group will work with academia, government and industry to engage career officers within targeted academic institutions. Other international recruiting forums targeting the US West Coast, are currently in the works.

To support the attraction campaign, BCTIA has launched an information portal, that highlights career opportunities and information about working and living in BC.

In addition, BCTIA is also pushing for changes to the current Provincial Nominee Program in order to accelerate the hiring process for out of country talent. As well, it is establishing ways to grow the required talent in BC through specialized education and training programs.

Any BC tech company that’s looking to hire key talent is invited to participate in this initiative and can contact BCTIA directly.

About the BCTIA:
BC Technology Industry Association (BCTIA) is a not-for-profit, member-funded organization that represents start-ups to established technology companies, across the province. Incorporated in 1993, the BCTIA has served the province’s technology industry for over a decade and today is recognized locally, provincially and nationally as the voice of BC’s technology industry.

As the voice of BC’s technology industry, BCTIA is committed to the ongoing growth, sustainability and prosperity of BC’s economy and the technology industry that serves it. The Association delivers opportunities for members to connect, learn and grow their businesses in BC. For more information visit

For more information, please contact:
Catherine Ducharme

Oct 25

Too often, the temptation for a new high school grad who’s writing an essay for a college application is to try and sound older and more knowledgeable about the world than he or she has had time to become—which results in essays that sound pretentious, pompous or both. When writing college entrance essays, you need to write about something you know inside and out, a topic on which you are a genuine expert.

There’s really only one topic on which every person is undeniably an expert, and that’s the topic of oneself. So when writing your college entrance essays, be sure you make them personal as well as relevant and entertaining.

They should be about you, about what you’ve done, what you want to accomplish in college and in life. They should pertain to the courses you will study if accepted to college, and to the career you envision for yourself. They should also be a little lighthearted to avoid sounding preachy or too self-centered.

Keep your college essays about you, relevant to the college curricula and interesting, an you’re sure to do well with them.

Oct 23

Most college applications these days require that prospective students write an essay about themselves and why they want to attend that particular college as part of the application process.  Though this may seem daunting when you first consider it, keeping these tips in mind will help you pull it off successfully:

1. Write naturally.  This doesn’t mean, write sloppily or overuse the vernacular. It means don’t try to impress the admissions committee by overusing your thesaurus in hopes of sounding more erudite than they are.

2. Stick to the topic. Pare your essay down to the essentials requested will give you a big edge over all thise insecure applicants who will try to bore their way in by overwriting.

3. Start with a real attention-grabber. The admissions committee will probably spend no more than two minutes reading your essay. If you don’t grab their favorable attention in the very beginning, you won’t grab it at all.

4. Don’t summarize your essay in the introduction. Why should people read your essay if you tell them what’s in it before it even begins?

5. Keep a logical flow to your essay by using transition sentences between its different sections; otherwise you’ll leave readers scratching their heads and wondering what paragraph three has to do with paragraph four.

Oct 18

Stand Out In a CrowdDon’t be modest about what you’ve managed to accomplish in life. Be bold, and shout it from the rooftops instead!

Well, okay, maybe not from the rooftops—you might attract the wrong kind of attention up there.

The point is, if you don’t tell others about your accomplishments, who will? You don’t have to bore people to death with long-winded recitations of how you did what you’ve done, either.  Simply sit down, list all your accomplishments from kindergarten until now, then pick the ones that you think set you apart from the crowd.

Use your short list to develop a few catchy ways to introduce these into your resume, your conversations, and your emails, then do just that.

You’ll stand out from the crowd for sure, now!

Oct 16

Creating Your Own Personal BrandTo get a leg up on the competition in today’s highly competitive business world, you’ll need to do a lot more than simply be the best.

You’ll need to develop a personal brand that lets people know that you’re the best in an instant!

Brand, of course, have been around for years. But it’s only been recently that small businesses and individuals have recognized the important economic and professional benefits that branding provides. Branding is about encapsulating all the relevant information about who you are and what you do in a short and readily recognizable form.

To develop your own personal brand, begin by listing those qualities, characteristics and achievements that distinguish you from your competitors — or your colleagues. What did you do to make yourself stand out last week? Last month? Last year? What do you think that your customers and colleagues or co-workers list as your greatest strength? Your second greatest strength? What is your most noteworthy personal trait—always being punctual, always wearing a smile, getting things done in record time? What do you do that adds value to your customers and to the world?

Once you have developed your list, begin moving from the facts to a few short lines that allow you to “sell the steak, not the sizzle.” Once you’ve got these lines, which are your brand description, start looking for places to display it. Call up the local newspaper and offer to write a series of articles on your specialty for free. Contact service organizations, community colleges and other local entities and see how your knowledge might benefit the people who use them.

Now, you’re on your way to becoming branded!

Oct 16

Directory of Schools has, once again, lived up to its domain name by providing an extensive and comprehensive listing of American colleges and universities. This convenient access to both traditional and online schools is a time-saver for those who lead busy lives, yet wish to pursue higher education. The one-stop DOS website also provides a new “personal assistant” service as part of its ever-expanding educational menu.

Santa Rosa, CA (PRWEB) October 16, 2007 — In a continuing effort to live up to its domain name, Directory of Schools - the number one source for online schools information — has released a commercial-free listing of every accredited college and university in the United States. For those who are busy and would love to find all of their education resources in one place, DOS is the source for comprehensive information about accredited traditional and online schools.

With all of the publicity surrounding illegal diploma mills, or ‘life experience degrees’, millions of degree-seeking students find comfort in knowing that there is a safe place on the World Wide Web to find reputable, accurate and thorough information. The DOS site also contains articles about how to avoid being victimized by diploma mills and how to choose a school that is a good fit.

Using the new Colleges and Universities in the United States directory is a snap. Just click on one of the states and peruse the alphabetical listings of schools in that state. Each listing contains the school name, address, and phone numbers. A number of schools also have e-mail contact addresses or highlighted links to information forms that, when filled out, will generate the mailing of a packet of the requested school information.

The new listing of colleges, which is easily located on the DOS website, also contains direct access links to local community and state college admissions departments. A potential student can quickly locate admissions personnel who are knowledgeable and committed to helping those who are considering higher education.

For almost 10 years, Directory of Schools has maintained a similar comprehensive listing of U.S High Schools on its website. Designed as a resource for those who are relocating or who are seeking additional information about their local schools, this listing has aided students and parents in their information searches.

Of course, financial aid is a crucial part of any college search; and most of the colleges and universities included in the new listing are equipped with designated financial aid departments and counselors that provide information to students regarding scholarships and grants, student loans, FAFSA, and more. They offer resources regarding completing federal and private financial aid applications, looking into alternative education financing, finding disability resources, and locating grant monies that target specific groups of applicants.

In addition, Directory of Schools has also instituted a new “Personal Assistant” service for those who have additional questions that are not answered in the extensive school content on the DOS website. The Contact Us link provides this excellent service.

Information seekers will find that Directory of Schools is not only their first stop for education information, but their last stop as well.

Since 1999, has connected over 21,000,000 potential students to accredited online schools and e-learning information. More than 9,328 online degrees and professional certificate programs in over 1,364 schools represent the commitment to excellence in online education through partnerships with universities, colleges and trade schools. strives to insure that partner schools are reputable by utilizing an in-house verification process which reviews accreditation or vocational industry standards relevant to each school. In addition, a comprehensive national Directory of High Schools in the United States is available on the website, along with numerous other resources. Career-minded individuals need make only one cyber-stop for all of their distance learning needs.

Oct 11

When you want to do an effective graduate job search, search first on; with an extensive network of more than 90,000 Web sites, 173 newspapers and 45 TV stations, it’s  one of the largest online recruitment and career-advancement sources for employers, recruiters and job seekers.

More than 21 million job seekers access monthly, and nearly 90% of users are college educated.

The site offers resume writing tips for new graduates, plus scores of “how to” articles on virtually every topic imaginable that relates to job-seeking. Representative article  titles include 25 Companies That Are Good for The World and Your Wallet, How to be a Winning Job Candidate, 5 High-Tech Tricks to Use in Your Job Search, Five Secrets to Working With a Recruiter, Hiring Outlook for Freelancers and What You Need to Know About Job Scams.

There’s more information on career than any job seeker will ever need, so if you need advice on how to get the graduate job of your dreams, go there now!

Oct 09

College career centers offer some of the best opportunities to help students learn how to improve their job search and land a post-graduation job. In particular, career-center sponsored job fairs allow students to touch base with dozens of employers at a time. Yet many students skip these events or waste their time because they don’t know how to conduct themselves around recruiters. In his new book, Shawn Graham provides pointers to help college students perfect their job fair experience and enter the job market on the right foot.

Indianapolis, IN (PRWEB) October 9, 2007 — Between studying for exams, tailgating at football games, and juggling extracurricular activities, it can feel almost impossible for college students to squeeze time into their schedules for a visit to their college’s career center. A new survey, however, indicates career centers offer some of the most rewarding opportunities for students destined for the job market.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ 2007 Graduating Student Survey, successful student applicants (those who had already secured a full-time job) relied far more heavily on job-search services offered through the career center–on-campus interviews, speaking with company representatives, and viewing employer presentations–than did unsuccessful applicants. Successful applicants were also more likely to have applied for jobs at a career fair.

Shawn Graham, author of the newly released book Courting Your Career, says one of the most effective ways to land a good job after graduation, is for college students to make time to visit their campus career center and its events–particularly career fairs.

“Career fairs are like clubbing for job seekers,” says Graham. “They offer a great way to make contact with a large number of employers in a short period of time. They also allow you to practice your job search and conversational skills.”

Too often, however, job seekers squander their career fair experience, leaving them with few legitimate job leads, and only a handful of free pens and brochures to show for their attendance. According to Graham, this scenario typically applies to passive and unprepared job seekers who lack the knowledge they need to make the most of the hour or two they have to speak with recruiters. In his new book, he offers the following tips to help job seekers maximize their career fair experience:

1. Determine target organizations. Job seekers should identify and research companies they’ll want to speak with at the fair. This will help them determine how many resumes to bring and brainstorm questions to ask the company representative.

2. Don’t monopolize a recruiter’s time. Typically, job seekers will have about two to three minutes to spend talking with recruiters. To make the most of their time, job seekers should develop a brief introduction of themselves that highlights their interest in the organization as well as their skills and experience.

3. Avoid taking a lot of free stuff. Grabbing a handful of freebies teeters on appearing unprofessional and greedy. Job seekers also do not want to be seen carting a bag of goodies from table to table as though they were trick-or-treaters.

4. Collect business cards. If a recruiter doesn’t give you his or her business card, check with the career center to see whether the recruiter’s contact information is already on file.

5. Follow up with contacts after the fair. Whether it’s a phone call, e-mail or cover letter to the recruiter after the career fair, it’s important to reference the meeting at the fair. Notes taken during the career fair can also remind job seekers of key points to address in their follow-up as well.

Courting Your Career is available at all major bookstores and from the publisher ( or 1.800.648.JIST). To speak with the author, contact Natalie Ostrom.

JIST, America’s Career Publisher, is a division of EMC/Paradigm Publishing and is the leading publisher of job search, career, occupational information, life skills and character education books, workbooks, assessments, videos and software.