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5 Simple Ways to Jumpstart Your Job Search in 2021

I know it’s been a while since you heard from me. I apologize. Didn’t mean to disappear on you like that, but it was for a good reason.

I bought my first home in Canada.

I normally don’t share personal life experiences in my blog, but I thought I’d make an exception this one time.

After renting for 5 years, I finally took the plunge and became a proud Canadian homeowner – one of many newcomer dreams.

Surviving Canada on a single income is not an easy task when supporting a family of four.

Fortunately, I had the will to save, and take advantage of the wonderful benefits the Canadian government provides first time home buyers.

I owe this milestone to 3 things.

#1 Support from my amazing wife who sacrificed her career to take care of our first Canadian-born son
#2 Support from amazing friends like John. Here’s us sporting our DIY paint-encrusted hands after a long day of house painting (thanks for teaching me how to use a paint roller John!)

#3 And lastly, my career and job search strategy.

The years of research about career management, job search and Canadian work culture paid off.

Thanks to that knowledge – and more importantly, the application of that knowledge – I started my first job at an extremely competitive company like Rogers with a salary that was 40-50% higher than what I was expecting.

Two promotions and 5 great performance reviews later, I was able to provide my family a fully detached home on a single salary.

Not because I have special skills, qualifications or experience. Not because I know somebody who pulled corporate strings for me. But simply because I have a framework I follow in my job search and apply it, every time an opportunity came along.

A framework I use in my resumé and LinkedIn profile, my job application, and my job interview preparation.

The feeling of owning your first home in Canada is priceless! And I would love for you to feel the same way. By sharing with your the core job search strategies that not only got me into the Canadian workforce quickly, but paid me what I needed to afford my own home.

So as promised, here are my 5 tips to jumpstart your job search in 2021:

Tip #1 Pick ONE role
One of the downsides of owning a detached home? You have to manage your own snow. No more getting spoiled by the condo facilities in my old rented home 🙂

There’s a new brand I love. It’s called Snow Joe. Why do I love them? Because they do one thing. They specialize in fighting snow.

Snow blowers, scrapers, salt, shovels, gloves. “When it comes to snow, go with Joe”.

This is an important lesson in branding.

Even though you’re probably capable of doing many things, in a job search you must brand yourself as a specialist.

If you’re unemployed and need to get back into the workforce fast, pick the one job title you are most confident in speaking to at the interview, and focus all your energy and branding on your resumé and LinkedIn profile towards that one job title.

If you’re looking at changing careers, rework your branding (responsibilities and skills) to fit the new role you’re after.

Don’t be a jack of all trades during a job search. Show off your diverse skills after you get the job.

Tip #2 Re-think getting more education
A lot of people ask me about job search advice in Canada. The first question they ask me is “What courses should I take?”

In Canada, education is valued far below experience and personality.

The reason is simple – hiring managers know the best and worst employees in their experience had no connection to their education.

If you want to get more certification to gain personal technical knowledge in your field go for it! If you want to get more certification to expand your network, go for it!

But if you think getting more education is going to get your resumé shortlisted a lot more, think again. Other candidates far less educated than you are beating you to the interview.

The resources you spend on more certification can instead be used to get into conversation with those who have the power and authority to hire you. Use that money to invest in an industry association where these decision makers and influencers in your industry hang out.

I know doing a self-study course keeps you in control and keeps you in your comfort zone.

But know that while you stay in your comfort zone, those willing to get into direct contact with hiring authorities are winning the job search race, without any additional certification.

(The only exception to this of course is if a certification or qualification is mandatory to get the job)

Tip #3 Pack your resumé with context
There is a common term in marketing called “The curse of knowledge”.

This is where you think the other person knows as much about a situation as you do, and so your communication to that person is either very specific or too vague, because you assume they get what you’re saying.

I see this very often in resumés that lack context.

“Managed a large team…”
“Participated in a prestigious project…”
“Responsible for reliable operations of…”

For every line on your resumé, ask yourself “Can someone who doesn’t know me, my company or my working style, will they get and be impressed by what they read?”

Managed a large team? How many?
Prestigious project? Why?
“Reliable” operations? Got industry KPIs to back up that claim?

Although it’s one of the hardest things to do, you have to quantify and qualify almost everything in your resumé, while still maintaining it to two pages.

If this is too hard, hire a resumé writer who should coach you through the process.

Tip #4 Connect with decision makers
Recruiters facilitate the hiring process. But the final decision is always made by the hiring managers.

And the more you get into contact with hiring managers, the sooner your job search will end.

Use LinkedIn to find senior managers, directors, VPs and even start-up CEOs if you prefer working for start-ups.

Use LInkedIn to message them. Never mind if they don’t reply the first or second time. If they are a decision maker at a company you know is a good fit for you, message them at least 5-7 times (with an acceptable gap of at least a week) before crossing them off your list.

And please don’t bore them with “Hi” “How are you” “Hope you’re keeping well” messages. Share industry knowledge and community knowledge with them.

Clients often ask me “How do I offer value” to my network? My reply is simple “What would you do? If I was trying to connect with you on LinkedIn, what would I need to do to grab and hold your attention?”

They usually end up answering their own question.

Tip #5 Tool Up
LinkedIn Premium.
 I’ve heard enough praise about it from job seekers that confirms it does work. As a premium member, your profile gets a boost in recruiter searches and you get direct messaging capabilities to expand your network.

But you have to make sure you have a rock-solid All-Star LinkedIn profile, and your In-mails are carefully crafted to entice a response from the person receiving it.

JobScan will also get you passed those pesky ATS that screen out your resumé for online job applications. That doesn’t mean you can just create a keyword stuffed resumé without context (remember tip #3)

JibberJobber will act as a CRM (customer relationship management) to help you organize your job search, and set reminders to reach out to those decision makers from tip #4

It’s time to re-invent yourself in 2021…

2020 was the hardest year for many of you. COVID hit us hard. Some of you lost jobs. Some of you may even have lost loved ones.

Me & John continue to stand for giving you the careers you deserve in Canada. We continue to be a part of the workforce and be your career coaches, so that we can keep you informed of what is happening inside of corporate Canada.

Whatever dreams you have for yourself in Canada, whether it’s your first job, your first home, or just the comfort of feeling settled with a career you love, we’ll be there to guide you along the way.

Happy new year. Here’s to an amazing 2021!

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