CAREERS & JOB SKILLS
By Elizabeth Bromstein
Workopolis has been on a bit of a grammar and
spelling kick lately.
We've covered a fair amount of ground, including
but not limited to: the confusion of "they're," "their," and "there,"
and of "then" and "than;" the misuse of "literally;" and when you should
use "and me" instead of "and I." But there's still so much more.
I'll reiterate that I am not usually a stickler for
grammar in day-to-day communication. But most hiring managers are. Also,
there are throngs of people out there who love to correct others and
will never miss the opportunity to jump on you for a misplaced
apostrophe, or a misused word or phrase. Also, you might as well get
Here we look at some popular phrases that people
are saying wrong — myself included, apparently.
- "I could care less." This is the mother of all
wrong phrases, and even I get crazy when people use it.
The phrase is actually "I couldn't care less,"
meaning that you care so little it is impossible that you could care
less, or, simply put, you do not care at all. When phrased "I could care
less about your opinion," you're saying that you do care and that there
is room for you to care less. So, you care. That's nice. It's good to be
caring. But you're using the phrase wrong.
- "For all intensive purposes." This actually
sounds sort of like it makes sense, as in, "for the purpose of the
purposes that are intensive," which sounds like it could mean something
important — but it doesn't and is not correct.
The phrase is "For all intents and purposes." It's
adopted from a phrase found in 16th Century English law: "to all
intents, constructions, and purposes," which referred to "the state of a
person's mind that directs his or her actions toward a specific object."
Now it means, for all practical purposes:
"She looked, for all intents and purposes, like she could do the job."
- "You've got another thing coming." This one was
news to me. I discovered it just now while bopping around the web
looking for misused phrases. Apparently, it's "You've got another think
coming," the idea being "If you think that, you've got another think
I say nuts to that. Who uses "think" as a noun?
"You've got another thing coming," as in
expect one thing, you've got another thing coming," makes perfect sense
to me and I will continue to use it thusly.
Also, I wonder if Judas Priest knows this.
- "A complete 360." This is commonly used like
this: "A week after accepting the proposal, he did a complete 360 and
decided to reject our offer."
But, if he did a complete 360 degree turn, he would
have come all the way back around to accepting your offer again. What he
did was a 180 degree turn, and landed facing in the opposite direction.
He did "a complete 180."
- "Jive with."
This one has me confounded, but I
am including it for the sake of discussion. I've been saying "That
doesn't jive with what I heard," for years. The internet is now telling
me the correct term is "jibe with." But that doesn't make sense. The
jive is a dance, so you can see "jive with" as meaning "dance with" or "work with" or
"be in accord with."
To "jibe" doesn't actually mean "agree with" or
in accord with." It means to mock or insult, or to change course. Only
in the context of this phrase is it said to mean "be in accord with."
So, I call foul (unlike calling "fowl" which would mean to hail a
chicken) on this one and will continue to use "jive with."
- "It's a doggy dogg world." The third single off
Snoop Dogg's 1993 debut album is a "Doggy Dogg World." What we live in
is a "dog eat dog world."
Example: "It's a dog eat dog world out
there and competition for jobs is fierce. So, you better be on your
This phrase is used to demonstrate that it's a
rough world out there, where dogs will cannibalize other dogs (though
dogs actually aren't cannibals in most cases).
- "On tender hooks." Again, at first this sort of
seems to make sense — if you take "tender" to mean something akin to
"soft" which could translate to "thin" or precarious
... it's a stretch ... but
it's there if you look for it. Or maybe you're thinking something
butcher related ... meat, tender, meathook ... I don't know.
Regardless (see below), a "tender hook" actually
isn't a real thing.
The expression is a reference to hooks used for
stretching woolen cloth.
The correct phrase is "on tenterhooks," which means
to be in a state of tension (like the stretched cloth), uneasiness, or
Example: "I was on tenterhooks over
whether or not the deal would go through."
- "Runner ups." There are no "runner ups" for the
position you were looking to fill (or for the title of Miss Penitentiary
[yes, it really is a thing. In Brazil!]). There are "runners up." The
contestants/subjects are the runners. Not the ups.
- "Nip it in the butt." I've never heard this one
used as such, again. But I'm informed by the internet that it's a common
A puppy might nip you in the butt. What we want to
do when using this phrase is stop something before it gets out of hand,
or de-bud the plant before the flower grows. Or, to be specific "nip it
in the bud."
Example: "There's some office gossip about you and
the CEO at the holiday party going around. If I were you I'd want to nip
it in the bud."
- "Irregardless." While this is a word (and it's
not even that, really), rather than a phrase, it's worth noting for its
rampant usage. No matter how many, or how loudly, people rail against
it, "irregardless" will continue to rear its ugly head.
Here's the thing: To "regard" means "to pay
attention to" while the suffix "less" means "without." So, "regard" + "less" =
"regardless," which means "without paying attention to" or "despite."
The prefix "ir" is added to negate a word, to mean
"not." Therefore "ir" + "regardless" = "irregardless" or "not without
paying attention to" or, in other words, "factoring in."
Whatever it is you think you're factoring out,
you're actually factoring in.
"Irregardless what the boss thinks..." actually means
"Taking into account what the boss thinks..."
What I'm trying to say is that the word you want is
By Peter Harris
Workopolis has literally millions of resumes in our
database with roughly 1,000 new ones added daily. Analyzing the content
of these as well as employer behaviour on resume view pages (they view
an average of 16,000 resumes every day on our site) shows us some
How employers look for resumes
Employers most often use keyword searches to scan
through online resumes. They look for words and phrases that are
specific to the job they're recruiting for. These same keywords are
usually in the job description. Candidates should be sure to use them in
their resume when applying, and then elaborate. Your resume is going to
get noticed if the language you use matches the language used by the
Employers have numerous options for filtering the
results of their keyword searches. Listed from most frequently used to
least, they hone their resume searches by:
- Previous employers
- Date updated
It comes as a surprise to many candidates that
'education' is one of the least used resume searches by Canadian
What employers look for first in resumes
When employers are reviewing resumes to determine
who to interview for the job, they generally spend mere seconds (fewer
than 11) on each document before rejecting it or putting it aside for
There are just a few key pieces of information that
they look for in that initial scan that determine whether a resume makes
The first things employers scan for:
- Your name
- Your current job title and employer
- The start and end dates of your most recent job
- Your previous employer and job title
- The start and end dates of your previous job
- Your level of education
In that first roughly 10-second glance, everything
else on your resume is just extra information that employers may or may
not glance over for keywords related to the skills they're looking for.
Show don't tell
The trouble is, many people fill up their resumes
with positive sounding descriptors of themselves and their work that
they hope will impress employers.
A recent survey of 1300 senior managers asked the
question "What is the most overused and meaningless phrase you see on
Their most common responses included:
- Hard worker
- Team player
- Highly qualified
- People person
These turn up in so many resumes that they don't
serve to differentiate a candidate anymore. In fact they have the
opposite effect by making the job seeker appear generic and
Since no one is ever going to claim to be a lazy,
inattentive loner in their resume, being a detail-oriented, hardworking
team player is just expected. Adjectives such as 'creative' and
'excellent' should be demonstrated by the quality of your work and
accomplishments rather than stated outright. Creativity should be
conveyed in a resume by the originality of your writing, not by calling
'Motivated' is likewise a judgment call
for others to make, and further, it has no alternative. It is
meaningless to claim to be motivated in a resume, because no candidate
would ever describe him or herself as 'unmotivated.'
Rather than claiming to be a highly-qualified
self-starter, use concrete examples of professional achievements where
you took charge and delivered results. Demonstrate your abilities with
numbers and achievements rather than adjectives.
The first impression that employers most often have
of candidates is through their resume. It is critical to stand out from
the crowd of generic applications with a document that really sells your
skills and accomplishments. This deserves more than a cut and paste of
positive sounding catch phrases from old resume templates.
Think about those things that actually most make
you stand out on the job. Then write them down as they relate to the job
you're applying for, closely matching the language used in the job
description. That's how you come out on top.
By Elizabeth Bromstein
It's the age-old question: what to wear to the job
Your appearance can make or break your chances.
It's so much pressure (gah!). Don't worry, I got your back. Here are 11
tips foolproof tips on dressing for job interview success.
Find out what the office dress code is. Ask around.
What does everyone wear to work? Human Resources types and hiring
managers are all about "cultural fit." So, if you look like you fit in,
you're more than halfway there.
Err on the side of formality. Even if everyone wear
jeans and t-shirts to work, you should still do a more formal variation.
You want to look like you're making an effort. If you are unable to
learn anything definitive about the company culture, go conservative.
The thing is, if you show up wearing a suit to a casual office, you
could lose out on the position, but it's less likely to be an issue than
if you show up at a more formal office wearing shorts. On the whole
you're safer erring on the side of formality. Men should wear a suit and
tie. Women can wear a suit, or, in most cases a skirt/pants and shirt or
sweater. In more formal industries such as law or finance, women should
wear hosiery with skirts.
Wear clothes that fit. Don't wear clothes that are
too tight or too loose. Both are inappropriate.
Don't get sexy. The interview is not the time for
showing skin. Cover cleavage and thighs. Skirts should be knee length or
lower. If we can see up it, down it, or through it, it's not for the
interview. And remember, there is never an appropriate time to
substitute leggings for pants.
Wear clean, unscuffed shoes. Men: wear dress shoes.
Women: wear nice shoes. Do not wear six-inch heels — they are
impractical and make you look like you're going clubbing. I also
wouldn't wear ballet flats, as I think they look childish, but also, I
just hate them. And no sandals. Not to the job interview. Ever.
Be well groomed. Shower, get a haircut if you need
one. Clean beneath your fingernails. Make sure your manicure is up to
date. Wear deodorant. Do not wear perfume. Brush your teeth. Wear clean
Wear black or blue. Black is the safest colour to
wear to the interview. It's professional and nobody has an issue with
black. Dark blue is also safe. Few people hate blue. Next best choices
would be brown or grey — though personally I think grey is better than
brown. Orange is a bad idea, since a 2013 survey of hiring managers
found it to be the least professional and the "worst" colour to wear to
an interview. It's also just a bad colour for a suit. Anyway, most
people would probably say forget colour and just stick with neutrals.
Wear clothing that looks expensive. Research has
shown that wearing brand names might increase your chance of getting
hired. Employers want to hire people who are already successful.
Expensive clothes imply that you have money, having money implies that
you are in demand, being in demand implies that you know what you're
Accessorize with something bold. Here is where I
would add a splash of colour or personality, with a pocket square,
scarf, or piece of jewellery. It's OK to have personality. You want to
be memorable and stand out from the other candidates and adding a little
statement can help with that.
Don't insist on letting your full freak flag fly.
The interview isn't the time to showcase all your quirky fashion
sensibilities. Yes, it's important to be you. But if you show up with
visible tattoos, nail art, and bedazzled vintage wear (that would be me)
keep in mind that it might cost you. If you want the job, go
conservative. You can be yourself later, after they've hired you and
it's already too late ... er ... I mean, after they've hired you and have seen
how great you are.
You don't have to follow all these rules. The more
accomplished and in demand you are, the more you can probably get away
with — if you're top in your field, by all means wear sneakers. If
you're not, shine your shoes.
But do shower and wear deodorant. That one is non
By Peter Harris
Ever wonder what people actually do for a living at
each rung up the economic ladder? Our friends over at NPR's Planet Money
have just put together a report listing the most common jobs that people
hold for every income level.
Some job titles appear at various levels along the
way, but with greater or lesser frequency. For example, there are
'managers' who make $45,000, but there are more of them who earn from
$75,000 - $100,000 and upwards. Secretaries fall into the lowest income
group as well as the middle and upper middle.
Obviously there are many more job titles that fit
into each pay scale, but according to surveys and statistical data these
are the most common for each level. So while there are people who make
more and less money in each group, there are fewer of them than these,
the most commonly held job titles by economic standing. So here's a look
at what the rich, middle class, and the poor all do for a living.
The 10 most popular job titles by income bracket:
$100,000 - $200,000
10. Marketing and ad managers
9. Chief executives
8. Financial manager
7. IT professional
6. Accountants and Auditors
3. Sales people
2. Software developer
$50,000 - $100,000
10. IT Professional
9. Police officer
8. Office support
6. Software developer
4. Truck driver
$26,000 - $50,000
9. Office support
8. Retail sales clerk
7. Customer service
5. Nursing aide
4. Sales supervisor
3. Truck driver
2. School teacher
$12,000 - $26,000
8. Child care worker
7. 'Other' teacher
6. Retail sales clerk
4. House keepers and maids
1. Nursing aide
The average Canadian wage is approximately $50,000
right now according to Statistics Canada, right about the middle of the
spectrum for the job wages listed above. At about $375,000, Specialist
Physicians are the highest paid workers in Canada.
Most of the lowest paying jobs will simply pay the
minimum wage of whatever region the job happens to be located in.
Towards the low end of the scale that is roughly $10.00 an hour earning
someone just over $20,000 — assuming they worked full time and were paid
for 40 hours a week. But many low wage jobs are also part-time
With thanks to NPR, Planet Money —
Common Jobs For The Rich, Middle Class And Poor .
By Elizabeth Bromstein
Throughout your career you are going to learn a lot
of lessons. Because I'm feeling reflective today, I thought I'd share
some of the ones I've learned myself thus far. So, if you haven't
learned all these yet, hey, maybe I can save you some trouble.
I guess I'm feeling generous.
Here are 40 career lessons I learned by 40
Bring value. That's all that matters. If your
value outweighs the negatives, you will be fine. When it doesn't, you
are dead weight and will be cut loose.
It's not about you. At least not to anyone but
you. Everyone is the protagonist in their own story.
Don't take anything personally. Everyone has
their own reasons for doing things that have nothing to do with you,
even when it affects you or hurts you.
Pick your battles. You don't have to fight about
everything, even when you know you're right. People will just think
you're a jerk who likes to fight about stuff and will stop listening to
you. Fight for the things that really matter.
Sometimes it's best just to shut your face.
Before you say anything, ask yourself if it really needs to be said.
More often than you expect, the answer will be no.
Everyone is winging it. Some of us have more
education, experience, and training, but at the heart of it, we're all
playing the same guessing game.
It is all about who you know. The majority of
jobs are gotten through recommendations. You won't get anywhere unless
people know and like you.
So, be nice. Always be nice. Also, you never
know what someone else is going through.
And make friends. Go out of your way to make
friends at work. These are the people who will have your back.
But trust no one. Be on your guard, because you
also never know who's going to throw you under the bus.
Don't gossip. It makes you look like an
a**hole. Also, it will probably get back to the subject. (See also:
trust no one.)
Don't complain. I love to complain. But people
HATE complainers. It creates a negative environment or something. So,
don't complain. (I hate not complaining.)
Some people just suck. People will do mean,
nasty, thoughtless things and there is nothing you can do about it.
So, you might as well just shrug it off.
There's no point in getting worked up about it, unless its bullying or
something that is actually worth standing up against, in which case, go
nuts and ...
Stand up for what is right. Not when you think
you are right but when something is the right thing to do. Have the
wisdom to know the difference. Still ...
Justice will often take care of itself. Not
always, but often. If someone is terrible, the odds are good it will
eventually come back to them. A lot of the time you can just sit back
and wait for it.
Take direction graciously. Even from someone
you dislike or when you disagree with the action. Often the problem is
your ego. Sometimes you need to challenge the directions, other times
you just need to do what you're told (see also: pick your battles).
It IS your job. The phrase "that's not my job"
is a career killer. Treat everything that needs doing and that you are
capable of doing like it's your job. It's what separates the adults from
If it's worth doing by anyone, it's worth doing
by you. Your superiority to the person cleaning the toilet is all in
your own mind. Get over yourself.
What you do matters. You're going to spend at
least a third of your life at work. Make sure it's something you enjoy
doing — even better if it makes the world a better place (if you care
about that sort of thing).
Buy the coffee. Doing small favours for people
makes them feel disproportionately indebted to you, according to
research. Do as many small favours as possible and you're more likely to
get a big one in return. (Insert evil laughter here).
You are expendable. I've seen people win huge
company awards and get laid off two months later.
Listen. Actually listen to what other people
are saying instead of waiting for your turn to talk.
Pay attention. Pay attention to what is
happening around you. That way nothing will catch you off guard, like
ninjas or zombies.
Be punctual. It's rude to make people wait for
But if you can't be punctual, make up for it by
working harder or being better than everyone else. Some people just have
a really hard time being on time.
S/he who gets mad first loses. Always keep your
cool. You are vulnerable when you are angry.
Shower, wear deodorant, and visit the dentist.
There is one smelly person in every workplace. Nobody ever thinks it's
Be careful about what you share. People don't
want or need to know everything about you. We all have secrets that
should stay secrets.
Don't crap on people's ideas. No matter how
stupid, ridiculous, and idiotic those ideas might be, always say "That's
interesting ..." before moving on to something else.
If someone says "That's interesting," they
think your idea is stupid.
Go the extra mile. Nobody ever achieved success
by doing the bare minimum. Go above and beyond and you will be rewarded
in one way or another.
Everything is its own reward. Just do good work
and that will pay for itself. Don't worry about what it will get you.
So, mind your own business. It doesn't matter
what anyone else does. Mow your own lawn and forget about the neighbours'.
Try to do it yourself before asking for help.
If you bug people with questions about things you could just Google and
learn yourself, you will drive them crazy and they will want to smack
you (I swear to GODů).
Don't make promises you can't keep. Never go
back on your word. It erodes people's trust in you.
Underpromise and over deliver. A good trick is
to promise less than you know you can do. Your results will be extra
Never betray anyone's trust. I almost forgot
this one! Keep other people's secrets as well as your own, and don't
share information that was given to you in confidence.
Don't get super wasted with your coworkers.
Even if they're all total boozehounds, don't get drunk to the point
where you're saying things you will regret as soon as you are reminded
of them later.
Always be learning. Technology is changing
everything. Whatever your job is, it will probably be a very different
job 5 or 10 years from now. I used to be a journalist — for a newspaper!
If you don't keep up you will be left behind. Keep up.
By Peter Harris
Mere seconds. That's all the time it takes for
employers to decide four critical things about you as soon as you walk
through the door. These almost pre-reflective assumptions can set the
mood of the rest of your job interview — and they can be hard to turn
This is because when we first encounter a new face,
our brains decide whether the person is attractive and trustworthy
"The link between facial features and character may
be tenuous at best, but that doesn't stop our minds from sizing other
people up at a glance," says Princeton University psychologist Alex Todorov in a recent study.
"We decide very quickly whether a person possesses many of the traits we
feel are important, such as likeability and competence, even though we
have not exchanged a single word with them. It appears that we are
hard-wired to draw these inferences in a fast, unreflective way."
Eliot Hoppe, a leading expert on body language
agrees. Hoppe says that hiring managers, while they may not even be
conscious of it, "size up" a candidate for the position, right from the
And it's literally a first glance. Says Hoppe,
the first four seconds of meeting someone, you will have already
answered four questions:
Do I like you?
Do I trust you?
Are you safe?
Who do you remind me of?"
"Consider too, that even in a short 20-minute
meeting, a person can transmit up to 700 non-verbal signals, and that's
beyond the verbal communication already taking place," he added.
Your chances of landing the job can be sunk just
because you bear a passing resemblance to the bully who used to pick on
the hiring manager in high school. That's how powerful these first
impressions and subconscious associations can be.
With that in mind, here are some strategies you can
use to give you every chance of acing (or overcoming) that first
When you first meet your interviewer, smile.
Smiling makes a person seem more attractive, sociable and confident, and
people who smile more are more likely to get hired and promoted. If the
interviewer's reaction to your face was a negative one, your first
defense against that impression is a warm and friendly smile.
Have a good handshake
A good handshake is an important part of making a
great first impression. A well timed, firm but not aggressive handshake
says you are confident, social and professional. A weak, finger-tip or
overly-macho handshake can give the impression that you lack confidence
or basic social skills.
Use proper body language
When it comes to first impressions, your body
language goes a long way to demonstrating that you are competent and
confident. Sit up straight in your chair with your feet firmly on the
floor. Keep your arms at your sides, or use them to make friendly,
conversational gestures. Crossing your arms can indicate that you are
uncomfortable or possibly hiding something.
Slouching, fidgeting, and avoiding eye contact can
all give the impression that you are uncomfortable, usually from a lack
of confidence or of interest in being there.
Be positive and friendly
Don't let the job interview be a one-way
interrogation. Turn it into a pleasant dialogue between two interesting
people. Likeability matters, hiring managers are going to hire someone
whose company they enjoy. Nail the ice breaker. Tell engaging stories.
Ask smart questions.
Show energy and confidence
Think positive. Thinking and acting confident
actually becomes self-fulfilling, making you genuinely more confident in
your abilities and in your chances of acing the interview. Since
interviewers are looking for someone energetic and enthusiastic about
the job, acting like you are, showing them that you are, will help you
make the right first impression.
There's little you can do about those crucial few
seconds when the interviewer's brain makes its subconscious connections,
but most job interviews last more than four seconds. That's your window
of time to demonstrate who you really are and what you can do.
"As time passes and you get to know people, you, of
course, develop a more rounded conception of them," said Todorov.
By Elizabeth Bromstein
In the spring of 2015, we surveyed 256 Canadian
employers about their hiring intentions and challenges. One-third (32
per cent) told us that they planned to increase staff over the next 12
months. However 68 per cent said that it is very or somewhat difficult
to find the people that they need to hire.
71 per cent of employers surveyed say a shortage of
qualified candidates is having an impact on their ability to meet client
needs. This is up by 5 per cent from a similar survey we conducted in
2012, where 66 per cent of senior executives said that a shortage of
skilled workers was impacting their business.
Is the so called "skills shortage" to blame? Or are
employers too demanding? The jury is still squabbling over that one.
CareerCast has released a list of the 10 jobs that will be the most
difficult to fill in 2016. So, there might be a job for you in one of
these fields if you possess the required qualifications.
These are the 10 jobs that CareerCast expects will
be especially difficult to fill next year due to a range of reasons,
"including BLS-projected talent shortages in each field, retirements due
to an aging workforce and above-average growth in demand."
The 10 hardest jobs to fill:
The hiring boom in data science is difficult to
measure, say analysts, "because the field is so new that the BLS doesn't
yet track specific hiring needs." But CareerCast says that more than 4
million jobs are expected to need filling next year. We don't have
specific information for Canada, but certain sectors aside, data is
Randstad US recently estimated that there are 17
openings for every electrical engineering candidate, says CareerCast.
And another recently released study,
Engineering Labour Market in Canada: Projections to 2020,
commissioned by Engineers Canada and sponsored by Randstad Engineering,
reveals that "Canada is facing a short supply of engineers and that
supply and demand imbalances in the sector are becoming more serious,
specifically in Ontario."
General and Operations Manager
This position is expected to see a 12.4 per cent
growth in demand by 2022. That growth rate translates into 613,000 open
positions to fill for general and operations managers over the next
seven years, says CareerCast. (No specific information for Canada.)
Home Health Aide
As a direct result of the aging population, hiring
in the US is projected to rise by 48 per cent over the next seven years,
and nearly 600,000 positions will need to be filled to meet the expected
demand. Meanwhile, Ontario alone is expected to see a shortage of 5,000
homecare workers in 2016. Unfortunately, the low median salary of around
$35,000 means many people aren't exactly rushing to apply.
Information Security Analyst
The expanded use of cloud-based technology is the
driving force behind the demand for this job, according to CareerCast.
"Microsoft reported that by the beginning of next year, North American
companies will need to employ at least 2.7 million cloud-computing
workers, including information security analysts, and labor analysts say
the supply can't meet that demand."
An explosion in digital marketing means marketing
managers are in very short supply, according to the BLS, and, CareerCast
reports, "marketing is one of the skill sets most in demand by college
recruiters, according to the National Association of Colleges and
Employers." Marketing manager is also consistently listed among the jobs
Canadian employers are having the toughest time filling.
Medical Services Manager
The BLS reportedly projects 73,300 new hires will
be needed in the field in the US by 2022, and predicts a 23 per cent
overall increase in employment. (No specific numbers for Canada.)
CareerCast says, "The American Physical Therapy
Association estimates that in 2016, demand for full-time physical
therapists will exceed 229,000, with a pool of candidates of around
196,000 -- creating a gap of 33,000 unfilled jobs." Canada also is seeing
large growth and a predicted shortage. This is again due to an aging
The BLS projects a 19 per cent growth rate over the
next seven years as well as over half a million positions opening up due
to retirement. Canada, meanwhile, has been facing concerns about a
nursing shortage for years. Karima Velji, president of the Canadian
Nurses Association (CNA), was recently quoted by the Globe and Mail as
saying "Immediate action is needed to stave off the potentially
long-lasting trend of a shrinking [registered nurse] work force and its
consequences for population health."
According to CareerCast, The BLS estimates 222,600
software engineering jobs will need to be filled in the US by 2022,
while The Conference Board estimates there will be three jobs available
for every new college graduate from a computer science program in 2016.
In Canada, meanwhile, a recent report said we will need 182,000 people
to meet the growing demand for IT positions, though it seems some out of
work IT professionals are wondering where exactly those jobs are
supposed to be.
By Peter Harris
One of the best pieces of career advice that I ever
received was to 'never quit.' That may sound a little too much like the
commonly used cliché, 'never give up.' However, in this case it was
meant literally: Don't quit your job.
Here's the context. I was rather miserable in the
job I had at the time. I was the only copy writer for a small,
family-owned marketing company. The commute was hellish requiring taking
the subway all the way to the end of the line, then filing onto a packed
bus into an industrial park area, and then a walk on a pedestrian bridge
I had a small staff of researchers and copy
editors, and they resented my being put in charge because I was A) new
to the company and B) younger than they were. (Truth be told, I also had
no management experience at the time and so seemed like a kid to them.
It doesn't help that I also happened to look even younger than I was.)
So the working environment was unpleasant too.
On the day I decided that it just wasn't worth it
to me anymore, I went into my director's office and told him I would no
longer be working there. He looked up from his desk and said, "Harris,
you never quit. If you're willing to just walk away with nothing, that
puts you in a pretty solid bargaining position, because you have nothing
to lose. Explain what's making you unhappy and ask for solutions. Maybe
we can make a deal."
We ended up restructuring my team in a way that
made them both happier and more productive. Research, writing and
editing could be done offsite with the team working from home two to
three days a week, only being in the office for meetings and creative
brainstorming sessions. This made my resentful crew suddenly appreciate
me. With a happier staff, a flexible schedule, and much less of the
brutal commute, I ended up working there for another year. (Until the
opportunity to manage the content of a major national website came
My director was right. It was better to bargain
than to quit with nothing. It improved my working situation, and it gave
me the leverage to improve things for my team as well. Which also went a
long way towards improving their opinion of me.
I can think of another important reason not to quit
your job even if you're unhappy at the moment. It is easier to land a
new, better opportunity if you're already employed. So you hurt your own
chances of getting your next job by quitting your current one.
Some employers think that employed candidates are
more valuable than unemployed candidates. There is always the chance
that unemployed candidates are out of work through some failing in their
skills, work-ethic, or personality. (Now this is not a fair assumption,
and it's usually not the case, especially in a tight job market like
this one, but it is something that crosses the minds of some hiring
Also employers prefer candidates who have a passion
to work for them specifically. Candidates who are interested in just
that role at their company — and this is their motivation. Employers may
assume that unemployed candidates just really need a job and are
therefore just motivated to take any gig they can land. This might make
them seem like less valuable employees.
While you're currently employed, someone out there
is already willing to pay you for what you do. It's an unspoken
recommendation from one employer to another. (Rather like that old
saying about men being more attractive to women when they're already in
a relationship. It's a validation that someone can put up with you. If
you're single, there's always the chance that it's because you're a
So, when it's time to move on or move up,
negotiate. See if your employer wants to accommodate your career growth
and happiness where you are. If that doesn't work out, then you still
don't quit. You keep your job, and you start your career search.
By Peter Harris
Here at Workopolis we are sometimes
accused of focusing disproportionately on white collar office jobs —
while neglecting to write about the other occupations that many, many
people work in. So this weekend, I've been reviewing recent job postings
reports, and it turns out that many of the most readily-available
positions right now require more hands-on skills than most desk jobs.
Looking at online job postings and how
long they stay online across platforms — on Workopolis and other paid
websites as well as on the free classifieds and government job boards —
we can see which vocations are most in demand by Canadian employers and
how long those positions take to fill.
Job postings that stay up the longest —
or which are immediately reposted following the job ad's expiration —
indicate a perpetual need or a difficulty to fill.
So we've put together a list of the most
sought-after vocations for which there are constantly available job
openings advertised online.
Here are the 15 most in-demand
occupations in Canada right now
- Truck drivers
- Registered nurses
- Retail Salespersons and Sales Clerks
- Skilled Trade Workers
- Financial managers
- Food Counter Attendants, Kitchen Helpers
and Related Occupations
- Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists
- Barbers, Hairdressers, and Beauticians
- Couriers and delivery people
- Customer Service Reps
- Food and Beverage Servers
- Healthcare Technicians
- Administrative Assistants
- Advertising, Marketing and PR Managers
These jobs typically take approximately
45 days to fill. Job posting data shows that Truck Drivers and Nurses
usually take the longest to fill at about 55 days — or eight weeks.
The job with the shortest job posting
period is Administrative Assistants, which averages 36 days, or just
over five weeks.
Recruitment firm ManpowerGroup's Talent
Shortage Survey recently identified a similar list of the most difficult
jobs for employers to hire for in Canada for 2015. Their findings also
show a need for workers for both blue collar and white collar jobs.