23 March 2011 Categories: Gerry's Corner

              Sometime ago I wrote a blog comparing the importance of resumes to passports. Today I want to share some observations on the quality of resumes that I have seen recently. As background information for this subject, I wish to qualify that I have read in excess of a million resumes during my career. Fortunately or unfortunately not much has changed with resumes over the last 30-40 years except content. Style and set up of resumes remain basically the same. The use of resumes has increased dramatically has it is expected that everyone should have at least 1-2 resumes.

       Recently I advertised for a specific position on behalf of a client. The quality of resumes was generally speaking way below expectations. The content was poorly written and presented with little information meeting the job requirements. My conclusion was people do not realize the importance of first impressions through a resume. Showing pride in a resume by detailing accomplishments is the key to a good presentation. Attention to detail is equally important in areas of font sizes, setup, contact information, coding resume documents to name only a few. There are 2 things people should keep in mind in writing a resume also known as Gerry’s rule 507-1 and 507-2.

      Firstly, when any potential employer looks at a resume they visualize the individual (first impressions) and ask themselves “Do I see this person interacting with my customers or working in a team?”, “Can I see this person working on my million dollar machine, in my office, on my computer, driving my trucks and equipment?” The care a person takes in drawing up a resume reflects on how they will take care of company equipment and fit in the organization. If a resume’s presentation indicates: “I don’t care, I only want the job” then good luck to you. Secondly, a Consultant like me will look at a resume and pretty much predict what a person’s salary should be, based on the quality of the resume. Example: This is a 30k salary type resume or a 50K salary resume. Imagine someone looking for a 60k salary job and their resume looks like a $ 10.00 an hour employee.

       To complicate matters, today’s world is going with computer programs that analyze the resume. There is no longer the human aspect of interpreting a resume. The computer programs seek words in the resume that match the job description’s key skills expected in the job. This means most resumes have to be customized to the job that they are applying to. Time consuming it is but necessary to get considered for the right job. Accordingly the time and effort spent on a resume is directly proportionate to the success of landing the perfect job. The poor quality resumes I received recently have the same chance of getting a job as winning a lottery.

CAG spends a lot of time and effort in helping individuals develop that winning resume. We also teach them techniques on how to get maximum exposure with their resume.

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Outplacement 2

15 March 2011 Categories: Gerry's Corner

          Following my previous blog on this subject, today I will address the benefits of Outplacement services on the employee. First of all, this is an opportunity of a life time for anyone. Imagine having a Specialist for FREE to help you re-organize your career life. The Company that has terminated your employment has so generously paid someone to help assess, analyze and re-direct your career. Not only do you have these resources at your disposal but while you still enjoy a paycheck, you can analyze your track record, explore new avenues of employment including possibly starting a small business, upgrading your skills set by taking a few courses, consider taking early retirement, changing your career expectation to better suit your current lifestyle. The possibilities are endless. Most people have to do all of this while still working. Now you can devote your time fully to this new direction. Knowing the future means tougher job opportunities, shorter tenures with companies, sometimes less money, more demanding home responsibilities, here is the opportunity to assess and re-organize your work and personal life.

       Here are some interesting observations. The youths aged between 20 to 30 feel they do not need such services because they have a resume already at hand. What they do not appreciate is what they learned in College and University about job searching lacks some practicality in understanding the process Companies go thru to identify the right candidates. The group between the ages of 30 to 45 is the most opened to Outplacement services. They feel they are rusty in their search/ interviewing skills and feel they can learn more. The 45 years old and up are the most reluctant. Their ego stands in the way of learning and their fear of admitting they need help stymies their ability to reach out for help. Yet this group stands to gain the most. These are strictly general observations in concert with our experience.

       Companies offer these Outplacement services to exiting employees with the option of taking or refusing the services. It is amazing how many turn down these free services and don’t see their real value.

       Some 30 years ago I was offered these services after being downsized. Following some thought I actually turned down the Outplacement services and traded them for being allowed to continue using my office and secretary to conduct my job search. My search took off rapidly and in a short time I was into job interviews. My boss at the time was so impressed that he asked me if I would conduct group/individual coaching to the administrative staff which were downsized but not given any Outplacement services. He wanted me to share what was working so well for me. I continued to offer these services to that company way after I was located into my new Company. Hence this was the start of my Career Transitions Coaching Career.

      At CAG we pride ourselves in being able to analyze our client’s needs and meet or exceed their expectations.

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14 March 2011 Categories: Gerry's Corner

         Let me start with explaining the term Outplacement. This word is synonymous with words or terms such as de-hiring, exiting, Career Transitions, downsizing, restructuring and more. The simple explanation is anyone who loses their employee status is in effect being outplaced. My blog today is in 2 parts. The first part which will be discussed here applies to Employers. The second part which will appear in a later blog will apply to individuals.

      The last 2 decades has seen an increase of Companies paying outside Consultants ( Outplacement or Career Transitions Specialists ) to work with the outplaced employee(s) and assist them with job search tools and techniques. The original idea behind this was to help the employee relocate themselves because the company felt obligated to assist employees who were being let go thru no fault of their own. Today there is an element of legalities which cloud this benevolent action. This service was almost necessary because of long term employees who had not conducted a job search since leaving school. Some never had a resume.

      The services in Outplacement include; writing/updating a resume, covering letters, interviewing skills, telephone interviewing, applying for jobs, internet job search techniques, negotiating job offers and more. These services also include dealing with the trauma of lost employment, financial planning advice, retirement, skills assessment, changing careers and self-employment. The one thing Outplacement does not include is finding work for the individual albeit the service will point the employee towards opportunities that they may be aware of.

      Even though large companies have adopted this trend as part of the financial package offered to outplaced employees many companies have not followed this process. In part the reason is not seeing the financial obligation or need to assist employees that are downsized. It is most prevalent with companies that have 100 employees or less. The benefits of such programs are enormous. An x-employee that is well taken care of will continue to promote that Company however an unhappy employee will do as much damage as an unhappy customer. This is amplified in smaller communities.

     It always has amazed me how companies spend lots of money to attract new employees in fact they roll out the red carpet for new talent then the red carpet disappears afterwards. You would think the red carpet treatment would continue to exist from hiring, during employment and at the time of leaving but it does not. Being a good corporate citizen would include making good financial decisions when it comes to letting employees leave their employ.

     We at CAG have offered Outplacement services for more than 20 years. We pride ourselves in meeting both Corporate and employee expectations.

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Smart Meters

13 March 2011 Categories: Gerry's Corner

     By now we have all had our Electrical Meters changed to these Smart Meters. Today I received yet another notice from Hydro One reminding me of the inevitable changes in 2010-2011, where my daily/weekly routines will change dramatically and cost me more for electrical usage. Peak usage time will cost  us more than 2x the amount for off peak usage. Peak usage periods coincides with the times during the day where most people ( families ) are all together and where most domestic activities take place in the home with the exemption of the weekends. It is bad enough that my electricity cost me $ xxx but then it more than doubles once Hydro One adds a delivery charge, regulatory charges and to top it a debt retirement charge. You need to look at the information being sent to you to fully understand the impact on your daily life. Being that I use most of my electricity during peak usage times, I figure my annual cost of electricity will go up by 50% to 70 %. That is crazy. This will also be incurred during the year that our Ontario Government introduces the harmonized sales tax. Are we not still in a recession?

        Here are some examples of changes we will have to make.  Bear in mind to use the lowest cost electricity we will have to change certain daily activities to either weekends or between 9:00 pm  to 7:00 am during weekdays. The biggest impact will be to families and seniors.

       Imagine some of the following changes:

  • We may have to consider going back to the once a week shower/bath on the weekends unless we introduce a 5:00 am wake up for all family members to take their showers before 7:00 am.
  • No more washing/drying one pair of jeans when teenagers need them one hour before school or a date. ( maybe locks on appliances will be mandatory )
  • Seniors will have to go to bed at 6:00 pm so they can get up after 9:00 pm to wash their clothes/dishes and bake/cook. ( no more of Grammas’ home cooking or baking )
  • No more weekday dinner parties or family dinners where turkey or roast beef  is on the menu (cold buffet during weekdays )
  • No more Kraft dinner during the week
  • Those people whom heat with electricity in the winter will have to turn off their furnaces at 7:00 am till 9:00 pm to minimize cost
  • For those of us whom have Home Offices, the cost of doing Business will rise unless we sleep during the day without heat/ac and work at night
  • Those whom have hobbies at home that require power tools or the likes will have to become nocturnal or else learn to crocheting in the dark
  • No more lawn cuttting, hedge trimming, lawn/garden watering, deck building, etc. unless it is at night or on weekends
  • Contractors will have to bring their own generators for home renovations as there will be “no more plug in to my electricity”
  • No Christmas lights till everyone is in bed
  • No more beer refrigerator in the garage
  • We could invest in timers/programs for all our appliances, lights, furnaces, stoves, electronic devices and everything else requiring electricity except we would then need an I.T. Specialist on site for maintenance

          I have tried to make light of this 2010-2011 event but I really believe that these changes will actually put some people out of their homes especially those who heat with electricity. My big concern is for our seniors.

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