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Old 07-12-2018, 11:47 AM   #21
Yamer
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Staffing agencies don't charge the person looking for work, they charge the employers, the benefit to the employer is that they get a guarantee on the job searcher.


I've found that the ones that do charge are offering things like interview and resume coaching, but tend to be expensive and their results aren't terrific.


I don't know your skill set, at all so its tough to recommend any but general ones.
Ah, that's why they all seem so varied when I look online. Diversified Staffing in Red Deer seems well reviewed.
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Old 07-12-2018, 11:59 AM   #22
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What industry?

If O&G you're going to have an extremely hard time cold applying and getting anywhere. 9 times out of 10 the candidate is pre-selected prior to interviews and they are mostly a formality. Need to get out and Network.
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Old 07-12-2018, 12:00 PM   #23
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Ah, that's why they all seem so varied when I look online. Diversified Staffing in Red Deer seems well reviewed.

Diversified Staffing is ok, but they're a generalist agency, so they do a lot of temp staffing and industrial they don't focus on any one segment.


A agency for example like Locke focuses on technical and executive searches so organizations looking to hire in specialties like IT or engineering or management tend to get more of those opportunities.
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Old 07-12-2018, 01:11 PM   #24
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Whether a cover letter helps or not varies, but if it's a decent letter, it won't hurt you. Someone who doesn't care about letters will just ignore it, but if you don't send one and that person likes them, it's a strike against you.

As for what it should contain, it's hard to say without knowing your field, but I wouldn't bother repeating what's in the resume. When I do them, I usually state the position I'm applying for and expand on a few parts of my experience that are most related to that particular position.

When I was hiring, I was more concerned with a bunch of short jobs (it made me worry the person was a flake and would leave as soon as he/she got settled) than a gap, as long as there was a good explanation. If you just can't find something, what about volunteering in something related to keep your knowledge up to date while searching?

Oh, and to add about references: I wouldn't bother checking a reference that was more than a year or two old. If you can find a way to keep involved with your field and have someone from that experience as a reference, even if he/she isn't a supervisor, that could be helpful.

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Old 07-12-2018, 01:47 PM   #25
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Whether a cover letter helps or not varies, but if it's a decent letter, it won't hurt you. Someone who doesn't care about letters will just ignore it, but if you don't send one and that person likes them, it's a strike against you.

As for what it should contain, it's hard to say without knowing your field, but I wouldn't bother repeating what's in the resume. When I do them, I usually state the position I'm applying for and expand on a few parts of my experience that are most related to that particular position.

When I was hiring, I was more concerned with a bunch of short jobs (it made me worry the person was a flake and would leave as soon as he/she got settled) than a gap, as long as there was a good explanation. If you just can't find something, what about volunteering in something related to keep your knowledge up to date while searching?

Oh, and to add about references: I wouldn't bother checking a reference that was more than a year or two old. If you can find a way to keep involved with your field and have someone from that experience as a reference, even if he/she isn't a supervisor, that could be helpful.
What in your opinion constitutes a short job? Less than 6 months? Less than a year? What would raise a red flag when you were hiring?
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Old 07-12-2018, 01:57 PM   #26
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What in your opinion constitutes a short job? Less than 6 months? Less than a year? What would raise a red flag when you were hiring?
It's not so much the length of the job but how many there were. A short-term job might be covering a leave, but if someone had more than a couple jobs in a year, I would wonder about it.

If someone was doing a bunch of short term jobs to make ends meet while searching, I would try to combine them some way. For example, state that you spent the year covering short term openings in field X for companies such as Y (and list a few of the "best" ones). I think that would be a good opportunity to mention in your cover letter that you did some short term work in the area of (whatever the company's focus is) and you are interested in pursuing a permanent position with them doing (whatever relates your previous jobs to the one you are applying for).

I was hiring people for education-related positions at a program run by a charity, so the terms are likely somewhat different than most people.
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Old 07-12-2018, 02:37 PM   #27
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Diversified Staffing is ok, but they're a generalist agency, so they do a lot of temp staffing and industrial they don't focus on any one segment.


A agency for example like Locke focuses on technical and executive searches so organizations looking to hire in specialties like IT or engineering or management tend to get more of those opportunities.
I certainly noticed their tendency towards temp placements.

If it makes any difference, my field is communications, marketing, and public/community relations. Any specialized agencies off the top of your head?

I'm not married to any specific industry, but I have experience in the post-secondary sector. A campus feels like home, but right now I just need to get on my feet and pay bills.
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Old 07-12-2018, 09:21 PM   #28
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Once over the "resume pile", I found that the biggest sticking point preventing moving to the next step is the dreaded "what's your salary range?" question. I have tried to avoid it buy saying that I am not chasing the money, etc., but can rarely get away without giving a number that I am never sure is too high or too low.
One way I tackle that question is I say something along the lines of:

"Salary is definitely an important part of the equation for both of us, but right now we are discovering if this position is a fit for you and I. Once we have determined that it is a fit for us both, I am positive we can come to terms on an acceptable salary."

Usually that works for at least the first interview (usually phone/screen interview) - the longer you can go down the path without giving them a number, the better it is for you.

It's such a garbage question though - I have NEVER seen a company flat out say no to an extra couple thousand on salary if they have the person they desire for the position.

Another thing if you have some money is check out Ramit Sethi's dream job course:

https://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/

My wife and I both did it, and both of us landed jobs using his tips that increased each of our salaries by more than 30%. In my case, i almost tripled my salary.
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Old 07-12-2018, 09:34 PM   #29
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I certainly noticed their tendency towards temp placements.

If it makes any difference, my field is communications, marketing, and public/community relations. Any specialized agencies off the top of your head?

I'm not married to any specific industry, but I have experience in the post-secondary sector. A campus feels like home, but right now I just need to get on my feet and pay bills.
I work and have worked in the fields you listed. Your cover letter is critical in what you do as writing is a fundamental piece of your expertise. I’ve seen too many boiler plate cover letters, boring ones, ones that are too cute, etc...

It needs to hit that balance between being clear, concise, accurate and creative. It also needs to establish a thematic narrative that ties your career together. You want the reader to know you can tell a story.

Your print portfolio needs to be submitted somehow and should follow a case study/what you have done approach. Your online portfolio should reflect the same. Cover letter, resume, portfolios should all connect together somehow.

I haven’t had to do it often but I would say a job application takes me a good 2-4 hours to complete.
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Old 07-12-2018, 10:02 PM   #30
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Cover Letters: I would consider myself an exceptional writer, but it's become an absolutely exhausting grind to come up with something unique for each cover letter. After you've written as many as I have, you start to notice a pattern of what you're writing. So I've developed a master template and cobble together from that depending on the position.

Problem is, every place I've looked or anyone I have talked to have a different opinion on what a cover letter should be, and it's confusing. Some say a summary of your resume, some say it should talk about you and your fit with the company, some say it should be a personal essay of sorts. Others say it should be all this, but don't make it over 1 page long. Ok? How is that even possible?

Cover letters seem to be the most contentious part of the application. It's infuriating. I just try to look over the skills/qualifications/type they are looking for in the posting and plug in why and how I can meet and exceed those. Frankly, you tend to run out of creative energy around cover letter #80.
Just my own lay opinion: put yourself in the shoes of the employer. If I wanted to know what’s in your resume I’d probably just look at your resume. And if it’s not clear from your resume how you fit the skills and qualifications for the job, you probably won’t get it. And why would I want a personal essay? Need some casual reading while sitting on the can?!?

If I’m the employer I want to know why I should spend my time and energy to bring you in for the interview. So at the very least the cover letter should show you’ve done some research about my organization and why you’d be a good fit. I don’t think it’s enough to convince them “yes, this guy is qualified for this position”. Instead, it should be “yes, I think I want this guy on my team”.
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Old 07-12-2018, 10:06 PM   #31
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I certainly noticed their tendency towards temp placements.

If it makes any difference, my field is communications, marketing, and public/community relations. Any specialized agencies off the top of your head?

I'm not married to any specific industry, but I have experience in the post-secondary sector. A campus feels like home, but right now I just need to get on my feet and pay bills.

While they may specialize in temp placements, these may be opportunities that get you in the door and make you a candidate for something longer term. I know someone that several years ago went through Diversified and ended up with a job that became a permanent job in administration of an executive branch of a regulatory board.
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Old 07-12-2018, 10:24 PM   #32
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You might find a lot of difference by role, industry and company.

To one of the original Qs, we regularly hire from elsewhere for the right candidate. For me it would be a non issue.

If candidates send cover letters for postings in my team I don’t ever see them. And past a certain point of utility don’t really care about the resume. It is often a screen of course so I’m not saying ignore it.

I’d suggest who you know is still a big thing. But it’s way easier to ‘know’ someone than ever. Probably half of our hires have a connection. That doesn’t have to mean old pals though. Some were obscure like a friend of an old colleague who made a linked in connection with a current colleague and grabbed a coffee before anything was ever posted. Build and use your network.

I’d also suggest targeting companies, not just roles. Some have a talent community on LinkedIn that exist to make connections and find engaging people. Meet them. Send emails. Grab coffee with a talent scout. Find out the charities they support and show up to schmooze. Make a YouTube video. Whatever is your thing and seems to fit the culture of the place you are trying to get hired. And don’t be afraid to take a different gig if it’s a door in.

That won’t fit every place of course, but I think it’s becoming more common, especially at strong companies and less senior roles.
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Old 07-13-2018, 09:37 AM   #33
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To me, if you don't have a cover letter, you don't want the job. I want someone that wants the position I'm looking for.
I'm indicating I want the job by sending my resume that details why I'm qualified to do this job for you. This should be self evident.
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If you just give me a resume, you're going through the motions.
Yes, that's how it is in this environment when employers have hundreds of applicants to choose from and never provide feedback.
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A cover letter lets me know that (a) you know about this specific position; (b) you want to work for my organization; and (c) have put time and thought into your application.
I know about this specific position because I've sent you my resume. I want to work for your organization, because I've sent you my resume. I have put time and thought into my application, because I read your cookie cutter job posting, know I am qualified and capable of doing it well, and because I have sent you my resume.

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Anyone can just give a resume. If you don't have the initiative to write a cover letter, why would I think you have initiative in the position?
Why wouldn't you think I "have initiative" when my resume demonstrates I am completely capable of doing the job you're filling? What does pasting a cover letter into an online portal prove about "initiative" or other intangibles? Exactly nothing.
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The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour, and no cover letter is past behaviour of not showing initiative.
Wow that's deep.

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If I’m the employer I want to know why I should spend my time and energy to bring you in for the interview.
Because I'm qualified and capable of doing the job, as documented on my resume.
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So at the very least the cover letter should show you’ve done some research about my organization and why you’d be a good fit.
What does this empty corporate speak even mean? What kind of research are you expecting? Knowing the name of your company? Name dropping the CEO? Vaguely referencing the industry you belong to?
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I don’t think it’s enough to convince them “yes, this guy is qualified for this position”. Instead, it should be “yes, I think I want this guy on my team”.
I have absolutely zero idea how a cover letter would make you want someone on your team before you've even met them. That's what an interview is for.

Sorry for venting. I just hate cover letters with the fiery passion of 1,000 suns.
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Old 07-13-2018, 11:15 AM   #34
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I'm indicating I want the job by sending my resume that details why I'm qualified to do this job for you. This should be self evident.
I know about this specific position because I've sent you my resume. I want to work for your organization, because I've sent you my resume. I have put time and thought into my application, because I read your cookie cutter job posting, know I am qualified and capable of doing it well, and because I have sent you my resume.
Why wouldn't you think I "have initiative" when my resume demonstrates I am completely capable of doing the job you're filling? What does pasting a cover letter into an online portal prove about "initiative" or other intangibles? Exactly nothing.
Because I'm qualified and capable of doing the job, as documented on my resume.
I haven't done any hiring (but lord knows I've done A LOT of looking). However, during my time with one company we were constantly getting resumes - whether there was a job posted or not. Many were not qualified in any way for any job in our organization. I think a lot of people send out their resumes en mass hoping for some pasta to stick to the wall.

Unless it is a clear part of the process to do so, just sending your resume only says "here's my resume", it does not say "I put great thought into sending you my resume", nor is it clear from your resume that "I am qualified". If I, as the person hiring, ask for a cover letter and don't get one, well weeding you out of the pile is simple.

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What does this empty corporate speak even mean? What kind of research are you expecting? Knowing the name of your company? Name dropping the CEO? Vaguely referencing the industry you belong to?
When I send in a cover letter I do some simple research and use words and phrases from that firm's site/industry. For example, if the company is membership driven I say "members" rather than "clients". Another example; I recently applied to the company that produces comic conventions. In my cover letter I noted that I am a longtime comic collector, pay attention to pop culture trends, am familiar with industry retailing issues, etc.

At the very least you should show some understanding of what the company does or produces.

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I have absolutely zero idea how a cover letter would make you want someone on your team before you've even met them. That's what an interview is for.
You will likely not even get to the interview stage without a decent cover letter. This is a weeding out process. HR gets 100s of applicants. I have had conversations with HR people telling me the most seemingly inconsequential thing can get you moved to the no pile - sending you resume in by fax; font issues; yes, out-of-town-ers; too plain; too colourful.

If the choice is A) resume & cover letter vs B) just resume, then A wins a phone interview for showing that little extra.

The idea that "here is my resume, I am qualified, let's have an interview to learn more" may be straightforward logic and common sense, but only the cold hard computer algorithm-based online resume sifter agrees.
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Old 07-13-2018, 11:19 AM   #35
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Sorry for venting. I just hate cover letters with the fiery passion of 1,000 suns.
haha, fair enough. Are you speaking as an employer or candidate?

As for the OP, he’s submitted 150+ resumes without success. If all he needed to do was submit a resume, he’s either under qualified or really unlucky...

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Old 07-13-2018, 11:34 AM   #36
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Thanks for the reply Bleeding Red. And you raise a good point about a lot of unqualified resumes showing up in a posting. I have seen that when I was involved in selecting candidates for interviews. All I can speak to is my own practice, which is that I only send in my resume for jobs I am qualified for and capable of. Also thanks for the examples of researching. I also prefer the algorithm to HR folks.

tvp2003, I remain convinced that a big part of getting selected and hired is timing. Luck has a some to do with it, but it's definitely not the single factor.
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Old 07-13-2018, 12:06 PM   #37
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Algorithm....HR......both......no one's making it easy.

One "trick" I learned to help with the algorithm - increase the margins of your resume and in the blank space below your last entry type in any and all words associated with the job posting, industry, or company you can. Then change the letter colour to white. The HR person won't see that section, but the scanning computer will still recognize the keywords. The computer doesn't care what color the letters are.
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Old 07-13-2018, 12:36 PM   #38
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See, gaming the system is the kind of feedback I'm interested in. Thanks!
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Old 07-13-2018, 12:58 PM   #39
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Algorithm....HR......both......no one's making it easy.

One "trick" I learned to help with the algorithm - increase the margins of your resume and in the blank space below your last entry type in any and all words associated with the job posting, industry, or company you can. Then change the letter colour to white. The HR person won't see that section, but the scanning computer will still recognize the keywords. The computer doesn't care what color the letters are.
Haha old school black hat SEO technique. It'll get you banned from google, but I'd be surprised if HR screening software catches up with it, unless everyone started using this technique.
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Old 07-13-2018, 01:24 PM   #40
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For me, the cover letter was more to see if the person could be a fit with the team. In my career, we usually had some pretty tight knit teams, and if someone wasn't a fit, it wasn't good.
If the cover letter looked good, and they had some of the qualifications we were looking for, we'd bring them in. Then after the first interview, if we liked them, they met the rest of the team. The team fit was the most important to us providing they could do or learn the job.
We had guys who were damn smart, and either had huge ego's or were really awkward around people, especially the customer. They were more than qualified, but we'd have to spend time coaching them on how to work with people. If they couldn't, we would have to let them go.

So, in my opinion, the cover letter is to reveal more of your personality than a resume can.
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