Successful Job Search Trends
By Peter Harris
We surveyed thousands of employed and
unemployed Canadians about their recent job searches and looked at more
than 7,000,000 employment histories from our resume database to create a
snapshot of modern Canadian career moves.
So how long does it take to find a job?
Job searches can last anywhere from two days to over a year, but for
most people it is roughly four months. That is how long the largest
group, 50% of people surveyed, told us that it took them to secure their
most recent job.
In order to get hired during those 16
weeks, most people said that they had to submit 10 job applications and
conduct two job interviews. A further 30% of people said that they
needed to perform five or more job interviews before being hired for
their most recent job.
Mondays are the best day of the week to
apply for a job. While more people apply for jobs on Tuesdays than any
other day, Monday applications have a statistically (10%) greater chance
of advancing to the interview stage. Saturday applications are the least
On average, only 2% of applicants for a
job are chosen for an interview. This is because a large portion of
resumes are never actually read by a human being, as the screening
software that more and more companies use will filter out applications
that don’t contain the most relevant keywords the employer is looking
Of those resumes that recruiters do
actually read, Workopolis research shows that most are only scanned for
11 seconds or less before either being shortlisted or passed over.
Recruiters view ten resumes for every two that are flagged for closer
consideration. 80% don’t make that initial cut.
If you are called in for an interview,
try to schedule the appointment in the morning if you can. Research has
shown that employers tend to rate the candidates they meet first higher
than subsequent applicants. If the person conducting the interview has
interviewed particularly strong candidates in the morning and has
already given out top scores, they will be less likely to afford those
same high rankings to another applicant later in the day.
The average interview is approximately 40
minutes long, but some crucial decisions are made in the first four
seconds. That’s how long it takes the interviewer to decide four things
about you: Do I like you? Do I trust you? Are you safe? and Who do you
remind me of?
Since those decisions are made before any
interaction has actually taken place, this leaves the remaining 39
minutes and 56 seconds for you to take charge of making a positive
A lot of that impression will still be
formed in the first 30 seconds. Make eye contact and smile when you
great the interviewer. When you shake hands, don’t jerk your hand back
after contact like you’re reluctant to touch or (worse) end up holding
hands. A professional hand shake should last between 2 and 5 seconds –
or just long enough to say, “Hi! Nice to meet you.” (And not long enough
to be considered holding hands.)
24% of people interviewed hear back from
the employer within a week. 42% receive a response within the first two
weeks. However, 44% of applicants surveyed said that they never heard
from the employer at all after their most recent job interview.
Canadians can expect to hold roughly 15
jobs over the course of their careers. Frequent career changes are
necessary for advancement. Only 11.5% of promotions happen within an
organization. 88% of the time, people have to change employers in order
to move up a rank in their career.
Most of us will work 2-3 different career
paths entirely in our working life.
The Worst Passwords of 2014
By Elizabeth Bromstein
What’s your online banking password? I
bet I can guess. Is it “123456?” No? How about “dragon?” I got it,
didn’t I? You should really change your password.
Password management app company
SplashData has released its annual list of the 25 most common passwords
found online, a designation that makes them the “Worst Passwords” of
2014. Having one of these easily guessable codes leaves your information
more vulnerable than that of people who put a little more thought into
This is SplashData’s fourth annual
report, compiled from more than 3.3 million leaked passwords during the
past year. “123456”and “password” hold the top two spots, where they
have sat since the inaugural 2011 ranking (though I think they have
switched places with each other). Other passwords in the top 10 include
“1234,” “12345,” “12345678,” and “1234567890.”
Ingenious! They’ll never crack that code.
According to a press release, passwords
appearing for the first time on SplashData’s list include “696969” and
“batman,” while “iloveyou” is one of nine passwords from 2013 to fall
off this year.
“Passwords based on simple patterns on
your keyboard remain popular despite how weak they are,” said Morgan
Slain, CEO of SplashData. “Any password using numbers alone should be
avoided, especially sequences. As more websites require stronger
passwords or combinations of letters and numbers, longer keyboard
patterns are becoming common passwords, and they are still not secure.”
(Don’t use “qwertyuiop.”)
You think you can cheat those annoying
rules of companies who feel they have to take it upon themselves to
create those annoying guideline – Your password must be 12 digits long,
contain letters and numbers, plus one capital letter, but not a capital
city, plus punctuation, but no question marks, cannot contain your name
or any personal information, cannot contain sequential letters or
numbers, cannot contain three or more of the same characters in a row –
but you’re only hurting yourself.
Other tips from SplashData include not
using a favorite sport. “Baseball” and “football” are in the top 10, and
“hockey,” “soccer” and “golfer” are in the top 100. Don’t use a favorite
team either, as many beloved teams such as “yankees,” and “lakers” are
also in the top 100. (Not sure about “bluejays.”) Don’t use your
birthday or birth year, or just your name.
The list seems to suggest that people
don’t always take the task of setting a password seriously. Nobody
thinks identity theft or hacking is going to happen to them. But it can.
You should be more careful.
Here are the top 25
“Worst Passwords of 2014”:
- 123456 (Unchanged from 2013)
- password (Unchanged)
- 12345 (Up 17)
- 12345678 (Down 1)
- qwerty (Down 1)
- 1234567890 (Unchanged)
- 1234 (Up 9)
- baseball (New)
- dragon (New)
- football (New)
- 1234567 (Down 4)
- monkey (Up 5)
- letmein (Up 1)
- abc123 (Down 9)
- 111111 (Down 8)
- mustang (New)
- access (New)
- shadow (Unchanged)
- master (New)
- michael (New)
- superman (New)
- 696969 (New)
- 123123 (Down 12)
- batman (New)
- trustno1 (Down 1)
The Most Overused Words in
By Elizabeth Bromstein
LinkedIn has released a new list of the
most “overused” buzzwords in profiles on the site.
The professional networking site has also
released a list of overused words in Canadian resumes, according to the
Globe and Mail, which differs slightly from the worldwide list.
Canadians are accused of most overusing the word “passionate,” followed
by “motivated” and “creative.” The world at large is overly “motivated,”
followed by “passionate” and “creative.” Are you following? Good.
According to the LinkedIn blog, these are
the worst “offenders.” They are “the words that make you go ‘meh’ – the
most overused, underwhelming buzzwords and phrases in LinkedIn profiles
of 2014 across the world.” So, they’re pretty terrible, it seems.
Without further ado, here is the list:
LinkedIn’s top 10
overused resume words worldwide:
- Extensive experience
- Track record
Now, here’s the list
of overused words in Canadian resumes:
- Extensive experience
- Communications skills
Here’s the thing, though: I wouldn’t
necessarily remove all those words from your profile, even if the people
at LinkedIn seem to be suggesting that you do so.
Problem solving, analytics, and
communication skills are among the most sought after skills by Canadian
employers. While we might tell you it’s also a good idea to describe
ways in which you showcase these skills, rather than simply saying you
have them, employers might still search specifically for these keywords.
I would suggest you keep them.
That being said, it’s a good idea to
avoid clichés and meaningless buzzwords. Use your judgment. Do you think
employers are thinking “Hey, look! That guy’s profile says he’s
passionate, strategic and driven! That’s exactly what I’m looking for!
My prayers have been answered!” (The correct answer to that is “no,” by
Also, passionate? Really? Don’t put
“passionate” in your resume? It sounds like the back cover of a bodice
A couple of the LinkedIn buzzwords
overlap with our own list of overused words and phrases in Canadian
resumes, culled from our own data last year. That list actually contains
ten words and phrases you really should avoid. Here it is:
- Resume / C.V. / Curriculum Vitae
- Duties included
- Responsible for
- References available upon request
Don’t say “resume” in your resume.
They’ll figure out what it is they’re looking at. Also, of course your
references are available upon request. You can’t get a job without them.
No need to spell it out. And, instead of saying you “worked,” or that
your “duties included,” use action words that demonstrate your
accomplishments, of which there are of course many, because you are so
The Five Basic Job Search
Dos & Don’ts for Getting Hired Faster
By Peter Harris
I was speaking with a business journalist
yesterday, and she asked me if I could send her some job search dos and
don’ts to include in an article she was writing. I was sure this
wouldn’t be a problem because we write and publish job search and career
advice every day here at Workopolis.
But when I went to look through our
archive I found a lot of big picture articles about the job market and
labour trends and focused pieces on resume writing, interviewing, and
job searching. We didn’t actually have a simple do’s and don’ts summary
for people who may not have had to look for work in a while.
So if you’re just beginning your job
search and you’re looking for some pointers to get started, here are the
very basics for successfully landing a job.
Five job search dos
- Don’t mass apply to every job you
can find with a generic resume.
Do tailor your application to
each specific job and company that you apply to.
- Do have an online presence. Keep
up-to-date professional profiles and resumes that are searchable by
Don’t publicly post inappropriate
photos, rants about previous jobs, or anything you wouldn’t want
a potential employer to see.
- Don’t try to “wing it” at the job
Do prepare! Research the company
and the industry, and practice talking about your skills and
accomplishments in ways that are relevant to them.
- Don’t be late to the interview.
Practice your route in advance,
show up early so that you’re not stressed about getting there.
- Don’t forget to follow up.
Do send a thank you note to
everyone who takes the time to interview you. You’ll stand out
from those candidates who don’t.
Following just these five basic rules is
almost certain to make your job hunt shorter and more successful. A
tailored resume, well-prepared interview, and professional follow-up go
a long way towards impressing employers.
How Much do the Jobs with
the Highest Demand in Canada Actually Pay?
By Peter Harris
Here’s a look at which job titles saw the
most online job postings across platforms in the final months of 2014.
Since these occupations are likely to continue to trend well into this
year as well, we consulted Statistics Canada to also learn the average
salaries for each of the roles.
Our friends over at Wanted Analytics
recently examined the most commonly advertised jobs in the world’s
largest English speaking countries: The UK, USA, Canada, Australia and
India. They counted the total number of job ads for various occupations
on all websites, paid job boards, free classifieds, and government
The most commonly posted job in Canada is
Retail Sales Person. In the US and Australia, it’s Retail Supervisors.
(I guess they need more management than we do over there.)
Interestingly, ‘retail salesperson’ is also the most commonly held job
in North America.
The most advertised job title in the UK
is for Registered Nurses, and in India it is Web Developers.
It looks like Sales, IT, and
Administrative jobs are in-demand in all the countries examined.
Marketing Managers were particularly in demand in each country except
Canada where they did not make the top 10 list.
The 10 Canadian job
titles with the most online job postings (and what they pay)
- Retail sales people – $24,128
- Customer and information services
- Retail managers $50,000
- Sales and account representatives
- Cooks $25,000
- Transport truck drivers $41,600
- Registered and registered
psychiatric nurses $72,800
- Food counter attendants, kitchen
helpers and related occupations $21,840
- Administrative officers $45,000
- Computer programmers and interactive
media developers $70,000
Interestingly, the average salary for
these jobs is $43,400 – just over $5K shy of the $49,000 national
average salary for Canadians. You can look up the average Canadian wages
for your role by region across the country based on Statistics Canada’s
Labour Force Survey Data at