I recently gave a keynote speech at the Career, Education and Settlement Fair in Vancouver to a large audience, new immigrants and Canadians reentering the workforce, put on by the Canadian Immigrant magazine. I offered eight strategic tips which will not only give the applicants an edge when it comes to breaking into the Canadian workforce, but also those wanting to climb the corporate ladder.
Employers basically ask two main questions when hiring the right person. Does the applicant have the skills to do the job and will he/she fit into the workplace?
Here are 8 Tips to Getting Hired:
- First Impressions:
Studies have highlighted that within the first 15 seconds, the average person decides whether to like you or not like you, and you may or may not have said anything. Here are three points to keep in mind: Dress up; smile; give a firm handshake.
- Soft Skills:
When the interviewer tells you that you do not have the Canadian work experience, they might be saying indirectly that you might be lacking in soft skills which are small talk around the water cooler. One way to attain soft skills is to talk to different people every day, and get to know the Canadian culture. For you to grow you must become uncomfortable!
There are many ways to compile a good resume, but make sure to custom design your resume to meet the requirements for the job. And have someone else read it to make sure there are no grammatical errors. On the cover, use specific words that are used in the job description, i.e. high pressured environment, solid background, five years of experience, etc.
- What is in a Name?
If your name is too ethnic sounding then modify the first name to make it easier for the HR personnel to call you for an interview. (Do not change your name legally). Various studies have indicated that time after time ethnic sounding names, especially Chinese and East Indian, have less than 39 percent chance in getting a call back for a job interview comparing to Anglo-Saxon sounding names. Adaptability is a key!
- Elevator Pitch:
Have your elevator pitch ready at a moment’s notice. This is a 20 second summary of you. It should be interesting, memorable and intriguing. This is vital when meeting new people or networking.
Prior to the interview, do your research on the company and the interviewer which can be easily done on the internet and LinkedIn profile. (Make sure you have a LinkedIn profile). Always keep in mind as how you can you help the company’s bottom line – increase productivity and profits. And know what kind of questions you are most likely to be asked, and what kind of questions you should ask the interviewer. One of the first questions you probably will be asked is, tell me about yourself?
Sending out resumes is extremely beneficial to getting a job but the majority of the positions are filled through referrals. When networking, your main objective is to build relationships.
It is important that you have a positive mindset because this will allow you to be more successful not only in our career but also in your personal life.
When seeking employment, it is important that you stay positive and know how you are contributing to the company’s bottom line. And do not seem to be too needy. Know your strengths and weaknesses.