Monthly Archives: November 2016

“Once upon a time…” [Tell Stories – Get Hired]









10 Engaging Ways to Get Hired by Telling a Story.

Who could have imagined that  the ability to be a good storyteller could be one of the hidden keys to secure a good job? But it’s true. Whether you are networking and building relationships, or actively looking for a job, telling “your story” can truly springboard your job search and career advancement.

Especially when searching for a job, or preparing for the interview, your ability to engage the recruiter with a well-developed story about your experiences and skills is probably the single best way to stand out during the entire process.

Remember, employers hire people – not resumes. And thus, stories allow you to demonstrate competency and passion in a way that a resume never can. Your hard skills are what typically bring you to the interview table. From then on, it is up to your soft skills to take over – and ability to engage through storytelling that can differentiate you from the competition.

Employers often ask behavioural-based interview questions, like “give me an example of a time when you set a goal for yourself” and “the steps you took toward reaching that goal” or “tell me about a time when you overcame a difficult situation, delivered a difficult project, demonstrated leadership” and so on.

Here’s where you can confidently answer them by sharing an experience from the past. Through stories that exemplify soft skills like ‘articulate communications, organization and research, leadership, teamwork’ etc, in a unique, authentic style.

A great way to engage your audiences is to format stories in the STAR format:
S – SITUATION – What were the circumstances that you faced?
T – TASK or TACTIC – What was your strategy and thinking?
A – ACTION – What action did you take to complete the task?
R – RESULTS – What was the measurable impact of your work and effort?

Good candidates ace their interview sessions by prefacing  the STAR methodology with “as you can see on my resume.” They focus on anecdote proven past experience to predict behavioral future success.

The STAR technique is highly recommended to organize and frame stories. The best interview stories demonstrate your skills, interests, and motivations in action. You will want your prospective employer to see you at your best in your interviews, so take the time prior to your interviews to practice verbally sharing your stories.


  • Your stories should be personal and should include details that make them specific to you, your experience and your accomplishments.
  • Keep your stories short. One to two minutes long is about what people can digest in today’s world.
  • Make your stories to the point, but be sure that they include a beginning, middle and an end.
  • Plan your story starting with the takeaway message. Think about what’s important to the audience. The ending is the most important point of the story. This is the message you want to deliver, and the one that will linger.

As you work to fine-tune the stories relevant to your life and career, here are 10 useful tips to improve your storytelling abilities:

Think about your story like a movie. As the screenwriter and director of your story, make it interesting by starting with a challenge and concluding with an overcoming angle. 

Intensify the story with vivid language and intonation. Tap into people’s emotions with language. Use metaphors, idioms, and parables that have emotional associations.

Stories shared with passion can help add meaning to your accomplishments, career transitions, or important decisions you’ve made.

Stories help you know yourself and build confidence. Not only can telling stories enable others to know you better, but they can help you get to know yourself better.

Stories establish trust. Trust is becoming a rare and high value commodity in recruitment. As a job seeker, you can quickly gain an employer’s trust by integrating a story in your interview.  

Stories help you stand out from many other job-seekers who are also vying for the same position you seek in probably less engaging ways.

Stories illustrate skills, accomplishments, values, characteristics, qualifications, expertise, strengths, and more.

Stories explain key life/career decisions, choices, and changes. Especially revealing to employers are personal and career stories about coping strategies, choices made under pressure, and lessons learned from mistakes and failures. 

Stories establish an emotional connection between you and the listener and inspires them to take the desired action in your interests.

Stories told well help to portray yourself as a strong communicator. 
Effectively using stories in your job search offers the further benefit of articulating your communication expertise, which is precisely the employer’s first preferred skills, regardless of the profession or industry.

Go ahead, tell a great story, get hired and live happily ever after.


10 Simple, Smart Ways To Stand Out At Work Immediately stand-out-at-work








Become the professional you want to be – and you were meant to be.

Congratulations. So you have found a new job or you are among the lucky ones who have been comfortably settled in a job for some time now.  But if you want a chance to advance in your company, you will need to stand out, really step up and contribute in multiple ways.  Almost everyone performs their duties satisfactorily, but only a few will be considered for advancement when the opportunity arises. Those few are employees who have succeeded in standing out in the office.

So, what changes can you make to separate yourself from the herd?  If you want to get recognition and respect from your employer and peers and be a leading candidate for promotion, consider following these tips.

1: Be Competent. 
The most basic thing you need to do to get into your boss’ good books is to do your job competently. Make sure you are able to deliver above-average performance and meet deadlines consistently.

2: Be Reliable. 
Use your time responsibly. Excessively surfing the internet and gossiping with colleagues can be detrimental to your career. Try not to waste your company’s resources and put yourself at risk of being labeled a slacker.

3: Be Proactive. 
From little things like reloading the copy machine to helping prepare progress reports, from doing additional research for a project or helping a team meet a deadline, there are many ways to demonstrate a proactive spirit. It simply means going beyond your regular duties and doing other things without being told.

4: Be Participative. 
Don’t sit quietly in meetings. Most people are either stare blankly at a wall or peek at their phones, and hardly participate. While that’s good enough for the average worker, you could speak up, participate and keep things moving. Making your voice and opinion heard is a key part of standing out at work.

5: Be Bold. 
Lots of people take verbal stands. Few take a stand and put effort behind their opinions. If you think a project has gone off the rails; instead of just pointing out its flaws so you can show everyone how smart you are, jump in and help fix it. Everyone talks about problems. The people who help fix them stand out.

6: Be Volunteering. 
If someone sends an e-mail out about a new initiative or simply asks for suggestions or participation, be the first to volunteer. Even if it is just cleaning up after a potluck lunch or helping with a company party. Join a diversity committee or any other group in the company where you feel you can make a great contribution. People who hang back and help out always stand out.

7: Be Leading. 
Someone has to be the leader, and why not you? If it is not you, you can still contribute. Throw out ideas and suggestions. Challenge things that do not make sense, in a respectful manner.  Use every opportunity to show that you have the confidence and abilities needed to work well in a team and be a good leader.

8: Be Improving. 
Improve your skills constantly. The business world is constantly evolving, and you will be left behind if you do not keep yourself updated with the latest developments.

Stay relevant and marketable by doing extra to improve your knowledge and skills constantly. Be the first to update your social media profile pages and help others.

9: Be Improvising. 
Go beyond your job description. When you are at work, always seek out ways to improve the company. Become a integral part of taking your company to the next level. If you show your interest lies far beyond yourself,  you’ll stand out and set yourself up to become a future leader in the company.

And finally,

10: Be Hardworking. 
Nothing, I repeat, nothing beats good old hard work. The best way to stand out is to simply out-work everyone else. It’s also the easiest way, because often, you’ll be the only one trying.

It takes a lot of commitment and discipline to stand out in the workplace. If you are dedicated enough to your goal, possess a little chutzpah and follow these twelve simple  steps, you will be on your way to a bright future ahead of you.

Goodbye Job Candidate, Hello Industry Thought Leader.










8 Expert Ways to Attract Recruiters as an Industry Thought Leader.

‘Thought leader’. You might have heard these words but are not quite sure what they mean. A trending industry buzz word, a Thought Leader is someone who is recognized as an expert in his/her field, for his/her innovative ideas and industry expertise.

Thought Leadership is a proven way to establish your credibility and stand out from the crowd. When you demonstrate that you have a firm understanding of upcoming trends in your industry, hiring managers will be more inclined to approach you for the next job opportunity. So how do you become one in your field? Here are eight tested ways to raise your visibility and carve out your place as a Thought Leader.

1. Create a Robust Social Media Presence. Today, with the rise and rise of social media, you can establish your influence with a strong profile on multiple platforms. There are many ways to do this, with some of the most popular social media tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and even Instagram.

2. Blog Often. Create your own blog on free sites like and share relevant articles related to industry topics. Even with a short post of around 250 words, you can showcase your knowledge and curate valuable content that attracts traffic to your online profile, especially from recruiters and decision makers. Not to mention, it also significantly raises your Google’s search engine rankings.

3. Be a Guest Blogger. Uncover guest-blogging opportunities. The over-stretched marketing teams at many firms will be thrilled if you offer to write a short post to familiarize customers with a service they offer or address the concerns of their clients. What’s more, if the blog article can have your online brand or signature on it, hiring managers will be able to gauge your potential easily.

4. Tweet often. If you feel blogging isn’t exactly your cup of tea, why not consider sharing your thoughts in 140 characters or less? Yes, you could do that on Twitter. What’s more, you should also connect with other industry leaders on Twitter, and retweet, respond and interact with them when possible. Always be sure to respond to Tweets and also share others’ tweets.Tip: Online news channels widely prefer Twitter to identify story leads, so you could follow the leading magazines in your field and easily find hot topics to tweet about. 

5. Publish Slideshare Presentations. Use the same blog article and turn it into an attractive Power Point Presentation. By sharing information on this popular social networking site, you yet again increase your chances of raising your profile and getting noticed.

6. Spotlight, Camera, Action! Are you ready for your 15 minutes of fame? Then create a short YouTube video to show your professional expertise on a favourite topic. Remember to dress sharp, and think of it as a job interview as your video could be your first impression on prospective future bosses. Now go ahead and share it on other social media platforms.

7. LinkedIn. There is more to LinkedIn than just searching for jobs. Once you have perfected your profile, click on the Home menu and click on the “Share an Update” box. Post articles or even short one line messages pertaining to your industry. Remember to click on the Twitter button at the bottom of your post to add it to your Twitter profile.

8. Connect with Other Thought Leaders. Join as many Linked In groups that pertain to your industry that you can find. Comment on blogs or post relevant articles and updates on these group boards often. Apart from updates on individual LinkedIn pages or Apps on member smart phones, a daily or weekly digest of activity gets emailed to the members in their email Inboxes too.

In Ending – Thought Leadership in a Nutshell

– Thought Leadership is a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your field.
– It can give you an edge whether you’re looking to advance in your job or looking to break into the Canadian market.
– Anyone can share a link or a blog. So it’s important that you have your opinion and value-add on it.
– Develop a plan and work to a plan. Be consistent.
– Be consistent and be yourself. You don’t have to be a prolific or highly awarded writer.  The focus is on your Thought Leadership, not anything else.
– Find what works for you and stick with it. And have lots of fun.


8 Effective Ways to Master the Video Interview









Hone Your Skills and Impress Them In Front of a Camera.

It’s more commonplace these days for companies to prefer video interviews with candidates. More and more organizations are using video services like Skype, Google Hangouts, and Join.Me to interview job candidates and for regular business meetings. This allows them to save time and screen candidates faster vs. bringing them in for a face to face interview.

Now, in addition to all the normal preparation for in-person interviews, you also must prepare for being on camera, which has its own etiquette and pitfalls. Doing well in video interviews will take some extra effort and understanding of the platform.

Here are 8 important suggestions and tips to hone your skills and impress them in front of a camera.

1. Be Comfortable. 
Pick the device you are at ease with. It could be your laptop, tablet or even your smartphone. If you’re unsure, do some mock interviews beforehand to check each out.

> To avoid technical difficulties on the day of the interview, make sure that you set up the device beforehand.
> When the interview is over, make sure you end the call.

2. Be Focused.
Frame your face so you make direct eye contact. Check your image on the desktop, laptop, tablet, or smart phone. Ensure that your face is centered on the screen with a straight sight line between your eyes and the camera.

> Look directly into the camera, not the screen, as you talk.
> When others talk, it’s fine to look at them on your screen.
> Move your video chat window near your camera on your computer so you can look at both together.

3. Be Calm.  
Select a simple, quiet and static setting and avoid all distractions.

> Make sure the desk in front of you or behind is organized.
> If sitting in an open area, ensure there is no movement around.
> Typing during the meeting could be disruptive so it is better to keep a paper handy to jot down notes.

4. Be Bright.
Set up a bright scene with good, plentiful lighting. This can be more important than you realize. You can even test your set up with someone before the video interview.

> Put adequate lights in front of you to brighten your face.
> Also, put extra lights behind you for back lighting to avoid a flattened look or dark shadows behind your head.

5. Be Sharp.
Always dress for success. Take the time to dress as if you were attending in person.

> Wear clothes or suits in solid colours and avoid busy designs and patterns.
> Minimize accessories and portray a natural look that stays consistent to the company culture.
> Dress appropriately and professionally from head to toe. Don’t make the mistake of only dressing waist up.

6. Be Brief. 
Stay to the point, speak in a conversational voice and try to have a conversation as you would in an in-person interview. Keep in mind that you need to get both right in a video interview – how you look and what you say.

> Timing is everything. Avoid talking over your interviewer especially if there’s a slight time lag between you because of the online connection.
> Wait until you’re sure they have finished speaking. And take it slowly don’t hurry out the words.

7. Be Relaxed. 
If you aren’t used to being on camera, it can be a little overwhelming in the beginning, so just stay relaxed. Nothing can be more endearing and engaging that watching a person speak honestly and authentically about what he or she is passionate about.

> If you are in a group interview, just focus on the one person interviewing you.
> If you find it overwhelming, don’t hesitate to ask for a time out – yourself with a case of serious nerves, take a moment and ask for a break to collect yourself.

8. Be Yourself. 

It’s OK if you slip up, don’t let one mistake throw you off. If you started off responding to an interview question and would like to correct yourself, do so and re-state your answer. They will appreciate your honesty and willingness to admit your error.

> Do your research. And practice often. Feeling assured on-screen will need practice.
> Switch on your camera and watch yourself talk the talk.
> Have a glass of water ready – Speaking is thirsty work.
> Be yourself – Who else are you going to be?

In conclusion, video interviews are a great way to showcase your skills and your personality without leaving home. Plus, it is now trendy for hiring managers to prefer video interviews to screen candidates so go ahead, make the trend your friend.


Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile. Maximize Your Visibility.













10 Easy Steps to Stay Top-of-Mind on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn continues to be one of the most effective ways to make career and professional connections. Today, a mere presence on the portal is not enough. You also need to know how to increase your visibility.

Beyond adding a professional photo, creating an informative headline, completing the summary section, adding skills, including education details and making connections, there are specific steps you need to take, to gain top-of-mind recall.

Thankfully, LinkedIn features a Profile Strength meter on the right that helps you monitor how strong your profile is. Here are 10 key points to help you improve your strength and achieve the all-star profile status on LinkedIn.

1: Use Keywords. 
You can search engine optimize your profile to get found by people searching LinkedIn for key terms with which you want to be associated. Add keywords to various sections of your profile such as your headline (the first thing people see), summary, specialties, job title, career history and personal interests.

2: Add Projects.  
A great way to show off your expertise is by adding a project or two in your Projects section. You can also add other members on the team and their name will appear as a hyperlink to their LinkedIn profile. By naming your project and inserting a URL, you can turn the title of the project into a hyperlink, leading the viewer to it.

3: Join Groups.
Identify groups related to your industry, join them and become an active participant. These groups are a valuable source of interaction. Remember to initiate or participate in group discussions. This gets your profile noticed more by others.

4: Build Networks.
Once your profile is in good shape, work on building your network. When sending in a friend request, be sure to personalize any requests to connect with how you know the person or where you met each other or who you know in common.

5: Showcase Strengths. 
What you do outside of the typical 9-to-5 time slot or official work hours says as much about you as anything else and also contributes to a higher search ranking. Liberally showcase awards, volunteer experience and other causes you care about.

6: Stay Fresh. 
Be a source of fresh content. With so much information being uploaded on the internet daily, you need to give people a reason to click through. You can stand out by providing fresh, relevant content that captures attention.

7: Update Daily. 
Think of LinkedIn as a living organism that has to be fed or watered every day. Be regular with your posts and update frequently in order to improve your exposure. Once a day is a good rule of thumb.

8: Slideshare Expertise. 
You can create a well designed slideshow and share the URL on your Project page. This will add some life and colour to your profile. Plus it increases your strength and you gain more credibility.

9: Post Videos. 
More and more professionals are constantly posting videos on their Profile page.  Now that YouTube and Vimeo have integrated, sharing videos should be easier. Simply place a video on your profile page to keep viewers on the page longer.

10: Thought Leadership. 
In today’s world, your professional online brand is key and LinkedIn can help you establish thought leadership. There’s no network more effective than LinkedIn to establish yourself as an ideas expert in your industry.

In Conclusion. 
As the number one social media platform for professionals with more than 300 million users in over 200 countries, LinkedIn’s power extends beyond resumes into the vast landscapes of professional connections, business development and beyond. Go on, optimize your profile and build a strong presence online.

7 Secrets to Crack the Hidden Job Market








Enter the Hidden Job Market with These 7 Proven Tips.

It seems almost as if a cruel joke is being played on people desperate to find work. Most jobs getting filled these days aren’t even advertised. Instead, they’re typically part of the hidden job market — the thousands of jobs that never get formally posted but now account for up to 80% of hires, according to some estimates. So how can you get clued in to those hush-hush positions so you can apply for them?

Here are seven smart strategies to help you access the “hidden jobs” by improving your networking skills, leveraging technology and expanding your reach.

1. Change the way you network.

If you want to crack the hidden job market, you’ve got to be smarter about the way you connect with people with inside knowledge about unposted openings.

First, make networking a habit by adding new LinkedIn connections regularly. You’ll automatically increase your chances of hearing about opportunities.

Second, remember the cardinal rule of networking: Netgive, or rather give before you get. Forward articles you think could be helpful to people you know and pass on job leads you’ve heard about. Networking is about first building genuine relationships, not asking for favours.

2. Join a professional networking group.

Your fellow job seekers can sometimes be the best resources for learning about employers who are likely to hire. Most are eager to share their knowledge, knowing that others in the same boat will share in return. You can join leading voluntary organizations like CAMP Networking [] or browse through the entire list of networks in Canada on the PINS network [] to find the one suited for you.

3. Contact employers directly.

Yes, it is perfectly normal to contact employers directly. You have nothing to lose.

It takes effort to craft a compelling request for an interview but it’s worth the effort. Smart managers are always interested in meeting professionals who can help their employers make or save money. So figure out who the hiring manager is and be bold. Email or call to introduce yourself and explain how your background and experience would be useful there. This way, even if the company currently has a hiring freeze, you’ll be top of mind when positions do open up.

Remember, you can use LinkedIn to get introduced to the decision maker by one of your connections on the social network. You’re more likely to get your target’s attention if you get referred to him or her.

4. Sign up for Google News Alerts.

One of the best ways to learn about hidden jobs is to stay up-to-date with prospective employers. This way, you’ll be among the first to know when they lease additional office space, sign a big partnership deal or receive a new round of funding — all signs that the firm may soon be hiring.

Simply go to the Google Alerts page and type in the names of your preferred employers, decision makers and fields of interest you want to hear about. Then you’ll start receiving emails with the latest news Google has turned up.

5. Attend job fairs and conference trade shows.

These events are ideal places to mine the hidden job market. They’ll let you make new contacts who can tell you about unposted openings, help you get interviews, provide access to influencers with hiring power and discover employers in growth mode who are likely to be looking for staffers soon.

Yes, some conferences can be expensive, particularly if you’re out of work. Consider offering to work at these events as a volunteer. That way you may be able to offset the cost of attending any major conference in your field.

6. Build tight relationships with recruiters.

Consciously start building relationships with recruitment managers, especially the ones that are familiar with your industry and level of position. They may often have contracts for many positions which are never advertised.

Recruiters will be more forthcoming if you are perceived as an expert in your current industry – so do make sure that you are actively contributing to information on LinkedIn and have a robust social media profile.

7. Kijiji and Craigslist postings.

This is an often overlooked area. The obvious thing to do would be to check the ‘services’ section, but companies sometimes post Ads in the resume sections too.

Look up local Craigslist discussion forums and profession-related questions and you may just stumble upon the position you are seeking.

And one last tip: Always stay active in building your personal brand – creating a strong personal brand online and offline makes you memorable and easy to find when a manager needs someone just like you.

The hidden job of your dreams just might be hiding in plain sight — right down the hallway.

WOW Them with a Value Proposition Letter










The Secret Weapon in a Winning Candidate’s Arsenal.

Q: How can you outshine the competition in a crowded job marketplace?
A; Bring something to the table that the others’ can’t.

Enter the Value Proposition Letter. The personal value proposition document is a well-crafted note that defines what makes you unique, highlights your skills and demonstrates how you can add value to the organization.

If you are confused between a Cover Letter and a Value Proposition Letter, remember that the former talks about what you achieved in the past while the latter highlights your skills as the ideal solution to a company’s problem.

According to, “Remember that cover letters discuss your past achievements, while proposition letters focus on the values and benefits that you could bring to the company if you were hired. Keep in mind that there are also instances when a combination of the two letters may be appropriate.”

When you take a Value Proposition Letter along with your resume or mail it to the hiring manager prior to your interview, it quickly sets you apart from the crowd, even before the interview begins. Here is a step by step guide to construct a strong value proposition letter.

Attract immediate attention. Begin with a question or power statement that helps you create engagement and connect effectively. For instance, “Can I help your team…, “Do you need….”, “Would you like to increase…”, or “Are you looking for a way to boost …?”

Quantify your expertise. Help employers visualize the tangible results they will get by hiring you. A great way to demonstrate how you can add value to a company is to include a numerical value that offers concrete evidence of your skills and accomplishments.

Focus on the Now. While a resume focuses on what you did in the past, a value proposition letter tells the reader what you can do right now, and hence is always written in the present tense.

Customize your proposition. Be sure to individualize your value proposition letter to fit the particular job position. Ensure that the document letter addresses what the particular organization needs, and how you can fulfill that need.

Be a problem solver. Tell them how you can address their challenges help by introducing yourself as a valuable asset. “As an accomplished Project Manager, I can transform under-performing teams to high productivity sales leaders.”

Prove it. First list down all your key skills, experiences, and accomplishments that make you a unique candidate. From this list, select a few key skills that best relate to your target position. Now share three bullet points that back up your claim. List how you can enhance productivity, streamline processes, reduce costs etc.

Stay concise. You are writing for attention, so use short sentences, bold a key word or two to draw attention, be conversational and build credibility As much as possible, use bullet points to highlight three or four key reasons why you are an ideal fit. And include a link to your online profile, be it a blog, LinkedIn Profile or any other URL to access more information about you.

End with a CTA or OTH (Call to Action or Offer to Help).

Nothing appeals like a closing statement that says..”How can I help you? or To Find out more on how I can help you accomplish…., contact…..” Close strongly.

In summary, your Value Proposition:

  • Targets a challenge that the company is facing.
  • Provides credible proof that you can help tackle the challenge.
  • Uses specific numerical facts for instant credibility.
  • Converses in a brief, concise manner.
  • Leads them to your URL that further highlights your unique strengths.