My Blogs

30 September 2010 Categories: Gerry's Corner

          I started Blogging a year and half ago, since then close acquaintances have made the comment that my blogs are too long. Blogs are supposed to be short they say. In my defence, my blogs are stories not a reply to an email. I enjoy writing and I like to tell the whole story not a partial one where assumptions have to be made or things need to be interpreted. Part of my personal makeup  is I never have a short answer to anything. You will always get the long version. When I used to scold my kids for some wrong doings, when they got older they used to ask me to tell them what they did wrong and save the speech. Even today, they will ask me a question then they specify that they want the short version and not the seminar version. When I used to give talks to groups or facilitate workshops and seminars, I could start with 1 hour of material and stretch it to 3 hours. Some Family members and students in my classes would play a game with me which constituted giving me a random subject and see how long I could talk on the subject. I guess you could say I was good at improvising. Maybe I should have had a career in Improv Comedy!!

       My point is I will not change. Whether in my writings or in oral delivery I will always have lots to say hence no short story always the long story.

      Now my second point is today’s communications. With emails, texting, twitting etc. communications are short and getting even shorter. I am not sure that these communications really save time and money. There is no clarity and a lot of room for interpretations therefore errors. The days of making communications idiot proof and making sure the receiver understood the message clearly seem to be a thing of the past. It used to be that in written or oral communications you would repeat the message using different words at least 3 times for the receiver to understand and remember the message. Now the errors and misunderstandings in communications are at an all-time high. You see it in Business and personal life. Texting between parents and children are ridiculous. 90% of the communications are not received or understood. What ever happened to the days of facing someone to talk to them? The speed of communications today has many benefits but on the reverse it is causing many other problems that no one seems to be addressing. I do not subscribe to texting and unfortunately I have been forced to use email but I still prefer to say Hello and Thank You in my communications. I also prefer using the phone to talk to people and actually hear their voices and pick up on hidden messages from their voice tones rather than reading electronic words. Having said that, what am I doing writing Blogs??

     I know I am old school but there are values in old school that I will continue to hang onto because the price we will pay for the alternative is more than I am prepared to pay. My Blogs will not change and I Thank those of you that take the time to read these.

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Employment References

15 September 2010 Categories: Gerry's Corner

      Along with a good Resume, you need good References. Employment References or also known as Employment Checks are the tools to verify the information in your Resume or to verify what you might have volunteered in an interview. You need to keep these references separate from your Resume and current, which means you need to keep in touch with the people you use for references. Without References you limit the effectiveness of your Resume and what you may say in an interview. Everything needs to be verified and confirmed for accuracy.

      Unfortunaley the fact that companies close, move or get sold means that people within those companies also move. Therefore it is very important to keep in periodic touch with your contacts whom have volunteered to attest to your performance. Otherwise you have no way to prove the information in your Resume is correct. Too many times I have seen individuals who cannot provide Reference information. For example, your last 3 employers closed and you have no idea where the Managers and Supervisors have moved. For a new employer, it is critical to verify your information. The lack of verifiable information may cost you your next job opportunity.

      Written References are not very effective. If the company has moved or closed, this document becomes useless to the new potential employer. Written References are also too easy to forge therefore most companies do not use them.

      My suggestions are: firstly, ask permission to use someone’s name for an employment reference. Also ask them if you could use both their business phone number and their home phone number. Secondly, contact these people at least every 3 months to make sure they are still at the phone numbers they gave you. If they have moved, it is easier to track them down in 3 months rather than 3 years. Remember to conduct an effective job search you need both a good Resume and current References that can be contacted quickly.

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Resumes-Part 2

14 September 2010 Categories: Gerry's Corner

   As a follow up to my last article, I need to say, you need to put a Resume together when you are gainfully employed. When you are the happiest in your job then you are in the best state of mind to document the events in your employment history. You are also able to brag about your achievements and contributions made to your current and past employers. It is no different than writing your Biography or Memoirs, you want it to be interesting so people will want to read it.

       Most people start writing a Resume when they are unhappy in their jobs and considering changing employers. Or worst, writing a Resume starts when we are out of a job and try to marathon through an important document in record time. Ex. I quit my job today so I will do my resume tonight so I can start my job search tomorrow. This is definitely the wrong strategy in fact it is a recipe for disaster. Over the years, I have seen many employees whom knew their jobs were ending in 6-12 months yet most of them did not start a resume till after they were out of work. This scenario is still all too common today. We are  trying to write an important document, which will determine our future success in the worst frame of mind. Developing an effective Resume takes lots of time and planning, no different than preparing for a good meal, settling an insurance claim, building a house or preparing for a Divorce. If you want to win, you need to develop a good strategic plan and have an effective tool.

     Please, please do not even think about having someone else write your Resume. How can a third party write about your adventures. I have seen resumes written by Mothers, Sisters, girlfriends and wifes and unfortunately it does not do the person in the Resume any justice. Don’t forget, like in court you are the one that will be in the stand answering questions so you better know every word in that resume. I have seen individuals who had perfectly written Resumes yet in the interview they could not express themselves in the same manner, so what message are you really giving a prospective employer. Or I have interviewed people and asked a question based on information volunteered in the Resume and they would ask: Is that in my resume? You are best to go through the pain of preparing your own Resume and be ready to answer any question arising from that Resume.

     Bottom line is, don’t rush into writing a resume but plan it out, keep it current and keep it in a safe place then your success will be assured.

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Resumes/Passports

09 September 2010 Categories: Gerry's Corner

     Most of us have a Passport and starting in June we will need Passports to go visit our closest neighbour namely the U.S.A. We protect this Passport and we renew it every 5 years. It is an important document. Then why is it we do not see our Resume as an equally important document? We keep our Passport, Insurances, Wills and other important items in a safe place sometimes in our Safety Deposit Box but not our resume. Our Resume is a record of our employment, education and achievements, so why not guard it, update it and keep it safe. Our Resume is an Employment Passport.

     Recently I participated in the closing of yet another Manufacturing Facility. My job was to assist employees in getting ready for their inevitable job loss and prepare them to find other employment. A number of these people had no resumes. Reasons varied from: had a computer crash and lost everything, thought this was going to be my last job, my mother lost my resume, lost my resume in the Divorce, the dog ate my resume, sold my truck and my resume was in the glove compartment, my resume disappeared or I don’t know what happened to it. Through the years I have heard about every excuse in the book including: Do you think the company would return the resume I applied with? The point is, we put a resume together, get a new job and forget about the resume till we need it again. Big Mistake.

       We need to manage this important document. Here are some tips in maintaining an updated resume. First of all get a resume done or use the one they taught you to do in school. Update it and save it. I recommend saving it on your computer but maintain a hard copy with your Passport ( in a safe place ) this avoids losing it when your computer crashes or gets stolen. In your current job you will have a performance appraisal or in absence of an appraisal you will get feedback on what you do well and of course what you need to improve upon. Take the positive feedback and describe it as an achievement on your resume. Do this every time you get positive feedback then your resume is always todate. When you change jobs immediately change your resume. When you get feedback at the end of your probation period then go to your resume and update it. The same goes for courses you take, upon completion put it on your resume. If you do this religiously your resume will always be up to date and you will always know where to find it. This is so simple and effective yet very few people do it.

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