Career Search in the Summer

Career Search in the Summer

Summertime is here – almost the month of August. Many of us are enjoying the sunny weather – times at the cottage, on the boat or traveling. Time to relax and enjoy for sure – but should all of us completely forget about work for July and August and not do any career research or planning if we are looking for new opportunities?

Often people will say to me that they will apply for jobs in the fall. Why look for a job or a new career opportunity in the summer, when the fall is the time when employers do their hiring, I am often asked?

I often respond by paraphrasing my grandfather, who was a successful businessman in Nova Scotia – “What you plant today, will be part of your harvest tomorrow.”

Like anything else, there is a lead up and planning time to secure work in your chosen field. Statistics state (depending upon what web site you are on), that 70 to 90 percent of job seekers find work by building and growing their professional network. So summertime is a great time to reach out to your personal contacts and to take the time to set up coffee meetings with employers and company representatives. This time of the year, in many organizations, the pace is slower, as companies are also pausing for the summer. Leaders and Managers are using this time to develop their business, financial and marketing plans for the fall. This summer slow down may be the perfect opportunity for job seekers to learn more about various industries and companies – and where you may fit. I suggest that you use this time to have introductory and information meetings with employers and people of influence who may be able to consider you or refer you for roles in organizations. Summer may be the a very good time whereby employers are receptive to meet and grow their professional networks – and possibly hire.

Promoting from Line Functions

Promoting from Line Functions

We all know them – and most of us have worked with such people.  I, myself remember working with Sales professionals who have been promoted to be Sales Managers.  They made great sales and brought in a lot of dollars for the company.  However, they were not very successful in leading others.

Decision makers at organizations have thought that the best way to reward Sales people has been to promote these people.   It has been believed for many years that by effective in their line functions, various professionals in organizations, who are promoted, will be great leaders and motivate others to be as successful

The problem is that people who do well in another functions in a company, whether they are Sales, Marketing, Finance, Accounting, and Human Resources, do not necessarily do well in new leadership and management roles.  They do not necessarily have the skills or natural competencies to lead other employees within the organization.  It is not to say that they could not develop the capabilities to lead teams.

They will benefit from Coaches to discuss their strategies, leadership styles, and ways to lead their team members.  Coaching provides perspective for these new leaders; an effective Coach will be able to provide another perspective to newly promoted Managers and Leaders.  These coaches will be able to guide, question and challenge the thinking and behaviours of these Managers and Leaders.

Immigration from the USA – Career Search for A Business Professional in Canada

Immigration from the USA – Career Search for A Business Professional in Canada

Sometimes, new Canadians, who are business professionals move to Canada and have challenges finding work in a new environment.

Last September, a new client started to work with me.  He had immigrated to Canada from California, USA to Canada 7 months earlier.  He had a very established career in Corporate Finance before marrying a Canadian and making the decision to move to Canada.  He made a very good salary in the USA and he was interested in securing work in Canada so that he could match the salary that he previously made in the USA.

The challenge that my client, a finance professional had, was that he could not legally work in Canada because he did not have his Canadian Permit Residence (PR) card or Citizenship yet.  He expected to get it in the next few months after our first appointment.

Over the next few months, my client and I worked together to ensure that he was work ready when his PR Card was sent to him.  I coached my American client in upgrading his resume, cover letter, and linkedin to position himself appropriately in the Canadian business job market.  I spent at least 2 coaching meetings with my client to prepare for any upcoming interviews.

I coached my client how to use this time, while waiting for his Canadian PR card how to build a Canadian business network.  I coached him on developing an effective strategy to implement.  He set up many meetings with Canadian professionals who worked in the Finance industry.  It was not always easy for my client to build a network in a new Business community.  He has been determined and in the last few weeks, he did secure work in his chosen field.

Finding work can take time.  With a strategy and implementation plan, new immigrants from the USA can secure work in Canada.

Successful Work Search requires Effective Management of a Major Project

Successful Work Search requires Effective Management of a Major Project

Over the years, I have worked with many Project Managers as their Career Coach. The key 5 components for any Project were recently shared with me by several Project Managers when I worked at a recent Toronto Chapter Career Day Event. Subsequent Coaching meetings with PMI Association members have emphasized the 5 components that lead to the successful closure of a project.

No matter if a Project Manager is managing a large IT or a construction project for one’s Job Search project, similar Project Management steps are required for completion of the project. As Project Managers, you must see projects from Project Conception and initiation to Closure. You must: 1) conceptualize the job that you are searching, 2) develop a plan of action, 3) begin and conduct the actual work search, 4) manage the daily search and 5) evaluate the progress of the search on an ongoing basis.

Please keep some of your Project Management skills in mind, when you set out to manage your new project, a successful job search.

1. Project conception and initiation
To start a job search, it is critical that you do an assessment of your skills and experience. What have you accomplished in your career, and what are your immediate and future goals? Consider what you have achieved – both academically and professionally. Evaluate the career path that you have taken so far – where would you like to go in terms of your career? Please consider what is important to you when you conduct your work search – your values, interests, motivations, salary expectations and preferred location? What size of an organization are you interested in working?

2. Project definition and planning
Now is the time to plan your job search project. Chart your plan of action that you will require to reach your goal. What timelines have you set for your work search? What research will you need to do? Will you need to meet people in your field – past employers, members of Associations, networking groups? What information will you need to research to become more knowledgeable about your field of interest, the work outlook and the demands of employers? What organizations are hiring and what will you need to do to effectively market yourself?

3. Project launch or execution
How many people will you meet every week in your job search? Recommendations are that expanding your professional network while maintaining contact with people in your existing network, are key to conducting an effective work search. Depending upon what statistics you read, between 70 -90% of people, looking for new jobs, succeed by tapping into their network; plan your time accordingly. With that in mind, what percentage or how much of your work search time will you focus on building and growing your network – both online and in person? All avenues should be used for your work search – job boards, and company postings. Make certain that your resume, markets your key achievements and results according to the employers to whom you have sent your
resumes. Have you test marketed your resume and cover letter to people in your professional network? Do you have success stories that you can share in upcoming job interviews?

4. Project performance and control
Like any project, compare the status of your plan that with the schedule that you set out for your Work Search project. Track your work search process to this point. Are you on schedule? Is your resume according to the expectations of employers for specific jobs? How is your confidence? Is there anything that you can do accelerate the progress of your work search? How many resumes have you sent out?

5. Project close
So your project has been a success and you have accomplished what you set out to do – you have found and secured work in your desired field. How would you evaluate your overall job search? How did you perform in your job interviews? What could you do differently?

After all search project tasks have been completed, you the client can evaluate the highlights and success of your
work search project. Like any project, you can learn what you have done well and what you would like to improve
– after the project is completed and you have secured your new work role.

Originally published on

A Car Accident, Parent Modeling, and Leadership in Companies

A Car Accident, Parent Modeling, and Leadership in Companies

A car accident that I had in early June, gave me the opportunity to observe how some parents model behaviour for their children, while at the same time, it gave me a better insight of the genuine concern and caring of people and how that may translate into leadership. As a result of my accident, I was able to observe how a Leader in the Business industry in Canada, who has sold over one billion dollars of products and services to Canadian businesses and consumers and is one of the top managed companies in Canada, presents one public image, while in his private time, shows a lack of empathy and disregard for others.

I learned how a young man, who was coached by his father, behaved after he had an accident with me. I observed how a leader mentors others and how his moral compass, behaviour, and care and empathy for others do not align with the public profile that he seeks to present. Through his son’s actions, I observed a father and leader who modeled inappropriate communication, no honesty and a lack of concern and care for others.

On June 5, 2017, I was in my car with my mother at a red light, 10:00 in the evening, waiting patiently, behind another car. Soon the light turned green, and without any reason, I was shocked and surprise to see the car ahead of me, back up towards my car with my mother and I inside, rather than go forward, as normally one would expect, when a traffic light changes from red to green.

Obviously, this small accident was not a pleasant experience; it could have been resolved quickly and amicably. However, the accident gave me the opportunity to observe a Business Leader’s behaviours. Through the emails that the son sent me, I observed a disregard for other persons.

Leaders need to model good behaviour and actions for their children and their teams inside their businesses – and on their private time. Failing to show concern for others on their private time, demonstrates a leader’s real lack of leadership skills.

Leadership is not only carried out Monday to Friday, when it is suitable to run a company. Good leadership qualities can or should be modeled by leaders to their children and others, on their private time, and not just during business hours.

A respected leaders and CEOs in business will Establish a Good Business Environment

A respected leaders and CEOs in business will Establish a Good Business Environment

Years ago, I was a substitute / supply teacher in public schools. My work in schools gave me an opportunity to learn more about leadership in schools which has given me a better understanding of leadership in business.

Visiting and working short-term in different schools, gave me the opportunity to make various observations of several schools including leadership within the schools. From listening and talking to teachers in their classrooms and in the lunch rooms, I was able to get a sense of what it was like working at that school. I learned about whether they liked their principal, if they were motivated to come to work every day and how much they enjoyed their work environment.

From different schools, I anecdotally noted that teachers who liked their principals were more likely to be motivated to go to work every day. Even as a temporary teacher for that school, I sensed what teachers were committed. From my observation, there is a strong correlation between principals who are respected and liked, and teachers who are dedicated in their work at the school. A principal who is able to lead by example and develop a mutual positive relationship with teachers, is able to develop a comfortable environment that teachers thrive in.

I believe that just like a respected principal of a school will build an effective school environment for learning, my belief is that the influence that a CEO or a Leader is immeasurable. The CEO or Leader also sets the “tone” for that organization. The CEO can model what type of environment is developed within organization and how well people work together.

If employees see a Leader / CEO or a principal is able to set a positive tone by interacting well with all members of the organization, a conducive environment to work will be created and all employees will be motivated to come to work and produce the best work they can.